Barry Jenkins

Raised in Miami and a graduate of Florida State University's acclaimed film program, Barry Jenkins first came to prominence with his 2009 debut feature, MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, which chronicled the woozily uneasy day after a one-night stand. "It's a great relationship film, and it’s a great example of how the simplest of actions (paying attention to the people and places around you) can pay off," wrote Filmmaker Magazine's Scott Macauley on its singular, sensuous aesthetic, one attuned to both the rhythms of modern courtship (its flirtations, verbal seductions and just-as-revealing protective mechanisms) and to the sights and sounds of a modern urban setting, in this case a rapidly-gentrifying-yet-always-alluring San Francisco. Inspired more by the romantic fatalism of Claire Denis than the talky realism of contemporary American independents, MEDICINE earned Jenkins, who had earlier paid his dues as a development associate at Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films, several awards and a distribution deal for the film, as well as a spot on the Filmmaker Magazine "25 New Faces of Independent Film."

"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up," reads a James Baldwin quote in Jenkins' 2011 short, CHLOROPHYL. Jenkins' career may owe a bit to how love ends (MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY was supposedly kick-started by a break-up) but it is constantly inspired by love's beginnings and battles and, most of all, by its growing pains. Falling in and out of love, trying to figure out how to make relationships last, his characters also aren't just in Any City, USA, but in very particular locales; from the claustrophobic San Francisco flat of A YOUNG COUPLE's titular protagonists to the seemingly just-constructed Miami apartment blocks of CHLOROPHYL's young heroine, Jenkins pays just as much attention to where they are and what surrounds them. Of importance also, of course, is who his characters are. Unlike many contemporary American independent films, Jenkins' works feature lead protagonists of all races. "I'm a black filmmaker," he noted in a New York Times profile. "And when I introduce these characters and films into the production framework of this industry, the funding and distribution 'restrictions' I'm met with as a result of those characters' blackness would remind me, if it weren't clear already, that I am indeed black." – Jason Sanders


Recent Reviews

Little Brown Boy

Interesting social commentary

My Josephine

Beautifully shot by Laxton. Story was refreshing, comes as no surprise with Jenkins behind the wheel. Watch this short. It seems as though this was during Jenkins FSU days.


not great but really good


I am so excited for Berry Jenkins!


waste of time.