Back to selection

Short Film: Bag Man, Directed by Jonathan & Josh Baker

The tropes of American independent filmmaking — in this cast, the tale of a latchkey child wandering the city — are a deceptive red herring in the surprising and rewarding short film Bag Man, by commercial directors Jonathan and Josh Baker. Currently making the online rounds, the film blends a sensitive, character-based tale of a Harlem youth left on his own with… well, I won’t spoil the surprise.

The directors were interviewed over at Short of the Week:

BAG MAN feels like it takes a narrative-first approach to filmmaking, serving up its audience an intriguing and well-considered storyline, how did the concept originate and were there any existing works that played a major influence on the story?

This short has certainly gone through some evolution from concept stage to screen. Originally we wrote it about a young village boy in the Congo, and were planning to shoot it in Nigeria. We got to quoting stage with a local production company, and even looked into hiring a hyena for the shoot, but ultimately it was all too expensive and to be honest, dangerous. So we reworked the story to be set in Harlem NY (just a little bit closer to home), a location that also comes with its own set of preconceptions. We wanted the audience to think they knew what this kid was all about, before serving them up something fresh and new.

We also looked at this short as being a great vehicle to show our more dramatic side as directors. Coming from commercials, we wanted the complete opposite aesthetic – a quiet, drawn out journey, with time to appreciate the subtleties along the way. A glance from a stranger; the wind through long grass; the creak from a rusty roof. There were some obvious influences from past films, like Stand By Me or George Washington, but we didn’t want to simply walk in those same footsteps. We wanted to bring our own unique voice to the quiet coming-of-age genre, and take it to a completely different place.

For a lot more, including tons of art detailing the production of its key prop, visit the film’s website.

© 2022 Filmmaker Magazine. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of The Gotham