Black Brainiacs Time Travel to Stop Police Violence in ‘See You Yesterday’

By Sameer Rao Dec 13, 2018

When he’s not making acclaimed films like "BlacKkKlansman," Spike Lee teaches the art of cinema at his alma mater, New York University (NYU). Now, he’s joined forces with one of his former students, Stefon Bristol, to create a feature-length movie for Netflix.

rntThe streamer announced yesterday (December 12) that it wrapped principal photography on “See You Yesterday," which will be released in 2019. Bristol co-wrote his feature directorial debut with Fredrica Bailey as they worked toward Masters of Fine Arts degrees at NYU. The movie grew out of an award-winning short film of the same name that they scripted for Bristol’s MFA thesis. 

The feature follows C.J. (Eden Duncan-Smith, "Roxanne Roxanne") and Sebastian (newcomer Danté Crichlow), a pair of brilliant Brooklyn teenagers who create ad hoc time machines in an attempt to save C.J.’s older brother from being killed by a police officer. Bristol and Bailey note that the film aims to address contemporary police violence while offering Black protagonists with rarely-seen qualities. 

“I started this project when Mike Brown and Eric Gardner were murdered," Bristol says in the announcement. “That was in 2014. And we are still dealing with deadly police misconduct. I made this film because I don’t want the conversation on police brutality to slow down.”

"I’ve never seen a film quite like this before—a sci-fi movie with brilliant Black teenagers," he continues. "C.J. and Sebastian represent a Brooklyn that we rarely get to see. C.J. is a no-nonsense, brutally honest, aspiring astrophysicist. Sebastian is an overachieving, science prodigy whose main goal in life is to have over 200 patented inventions. I think the audience will relate to these charismatic characters. And we can both entertain and make you think.”

"’See You Yesterday’ is genre-blending and entertaining,” Bailey continues. “But it also brings attention to the very real issue of police brutality. And it does it through the eyes of two young, amazing Black scientific geniuses. I’m excited to see such unique characters on screen.”

Lee produces the film via his company, 40 Acres and a Mule.