An engaging drama that moves between time, race, art and self-identity, Rodney Evans' distinct voice transcends categorization with his debut narrative feature Brother to Brother. Perry is a gay black artist and college student who is rejected by his father after being caught with another man. Perry shields his scars by seemingly moving on. He meets an elderly man at a poetry reading and sees him again at the homeless shelter where he works -- learning that he is Bruce Nugent, one of the poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The two forge a friendship, and Perry begins to see parallels between his life and such legends of the Renaissance as Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, and Aaron Douglas. While Bruce recounts stories from an earlier time, Perry begins to evaluate his life while gaining greater respect for those who came before him. He rethinks what it means to be an artist in a commercial world and a black man with a white lover. In Brother to Brother, Evans has fashioned an adroit portrait of being caught between sexual and racial identity, merging social and political issues in a manner that reflects the artistry and storytelling of those to whom he is paying homage. The complex narrative is visualized with the gritty color of the contemporary scenes and the lavish black and white Renaissance scenes, which effectively splits the time of the stories with acute detail while connecting space, art, and history.
Rodney Evans is the writer and director of Brother to Brother, which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Special Jury Prize for Passion in Filmmaking. The film had its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Evans received funding from the Jerome Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and ITVS towards the development and production of Brother to Brother, and was also awarded the IFP's Gordon Parks Award for Screenwriting. Evans' autobiographical film Close to Home, has been shown at over 30 film festivals throughout the world. The Unveiling, his previous feature film, opened theatrically in Los Angeles and New York in 1998.