- Director Alexander Christenson
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This clever film, A Phone Call From My Best Friend, is a timely examination of unconscious bias that forensically explores insidious forms of racism via a conversation between two white women about a black boyfriend.
When Madison absent-mindedly chats to her best friend Chrissy while clothes shopping, the conversation takes a turn from the mundane to a more serious reckoning, as Chrissy’s worries force a realisation of both women’s deep-seated attitudes.
Chrissy’s upset after realising her negative feelings towards her boyfriend are purely down to the colour or his skin, and asks her friend if she is racist. Madison vehemently refutes this, stating that Chrissy is one of the kindest, most loving people she knows, she is a ‘good person’. “Maybe the KKK sit around thinking they’re good people too” replies Chrissy.
Christenson’s aim is to challenge white silence and provoke hard but necessary conversations and he challenges white viewers of the film to record their inner reactions as the story unfolds.
“The starting point for me was a white character who observes herself having a racist thought, and what happens when she decides to not to ignore it. Reflecting on my own experiences as a white person, conversations like this are usually avoided. When they do happen, they so easily go off the rails. I wanted to show what this looks like, because I think the ways that racism perpetuates itself can often be extremely subtle or difficult to see.”