Drylongso (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Directed byCauleen Smith
Story byCauleen Smith & Salim Akil
StarringToby Smith & April Barnett

Drylongso is 1998 film by African American filmmaker Cauleen Smith and Salim Akil and is “part love story” and “part murder mystery” and deals with numerous issues relating to race and identity. The film was screened at numerous film festivals around the United States and was nominated for and received numerous awards including The Independent Spirit Award, Silver Armadillo, Best Picture and Best Feature.[1]


It was the early 1990s and Cauleen Smith was working at the Haight Asbury Free Clinic and the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco and she kept hearing about young African American men who were being murdered or going to prison at the same time she was seeing young African American girls who were dealing with teen pregnancy and bureaucratic welfare system. The young African American males were seen as victims in need of defense yet the young African American girls were “being talked about in terms of blame”. She felt that both populations just needed someone to care for them. Yet here they were suffering and she wanted to find a way to tell their story.[1]


Drylongso which comes from an old African word that means “Ordinary"[citation needed] is a coming of age drama which is “part love story” and “part murder mystery”. Pica is a young art student growing up in a dysfunctional household in Oakland California. In order to deal with the dysfunction, she starts photographing young African American men believing they are an "endangered species” and might one day be extinct and wants to capture them as proof of their existence. At the same time, a serial killer is claiming victims in the neighborhood with some of the victims being the young men she has photographed. Pica eventually befriends another young woman who is disguising herself as a man to escape an abusive boyfriend.[2]


  • Cauleen Smith as Writer & Director
  • Salim Akil as Writer
  • Toby Smith as Pica Sullivan
  • April Barnett as Tobi
  • Will Power as Malik
  • Channel Schafer as Gloria Sullivan
  • Salim Akil as Mr Yamada
  • Stacy Marbrey as Tiffany
  • Keith Williams as Mohamed
  • Sayyed Yusuf Bey as Muslim Brother[3]
  • Earl Ford as Tide
  • Keilan Matthews as Tyson
  • Patrick Pulliam as Kev
  • Timothy Braggs as Jefferson

Men Photographed[edit]


  • Lola M. Burks
  • Dionte Houff
  • Dominique Espinal
  • Leslie Martin
  • Bjorn Tippens
  • Tyrone Johnson
  • James Willoughby
  • Charles Fuller
  • David Tolson
  • James Tolson
  • John Gant Gart
  • Cariera Fuller
  • Charles-Johnson
  • Lee Williams
  • Michael Davies
  • Red Jackson


  • Jason Wols, Classmate
  • Yuki Shumizu, Classmate
  • J.C. Thibaut, Classmate
  • Muzzi Sithebe, Classmate

Neighborhood Kids

  • Dale Williams
  • Jamal Brown
  • Brandon Owens
  • Kevin Gaar

Visitor of the Lot

  • Aaron Jackson
  • Efrem W. Hobdy
  • Norman Lowrey
  • Locassio Harris
  • Alphonzo Fuller
  • Charles Catley
  • Donald Dvereaux
  • Jekeim Nash [3]

Premier and awards[edit]

Drylongso had its premier at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival where it was selected to be part of the American Spectrum and received an Independent Spirit Award.[4][5] The film was also screened and won awards at numerous film festivals around the United States including receiving the Silver Armadilo at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin Texas, receiving Best Picture at both the Pan-African Film Festival and Urbanworld Film Festivals[5] and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature at the Urbanworld Film Festival.[6] The film was also selected to be the opening feature at the Film Arts Foundation Film Festival held at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.[1]

In the Wake[edit]

A number of props created for the film including a banner titled "In the Wake" which was created by Cauleen Smith as part of a procession for the film were displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York as part of their 2017 Whitney Biennial.[4][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Looking Out for Black Women / 'Drylongso,' filmed in Oakland, exposes vulnerabilities and frustrations". SFGate. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  2. ^ banks, wil gerken, nathan hendler, doug floyd, john. "Drylongso . Austin Chronicle . 03-29-99". www.filmvault.com. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  3. ^ a b "Drylongso". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  4. ^ a b "A Moving Image Artist Finds Freedom After Abandoning the Film Industry". Hyperallergic. 2017-03-24. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  5. ^ a b "Cauleen Smith". Tribeca All Access. Tribeca Film Institute.
  6. ^ "september 1999 | blackfilm.com | reviews | drysolongo". www.blackfilm.com. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  7. ^ "Whitney Biennial 2017 | Whitney Museum of American Art". whitney.org. Retrieved 2018-01-09.