NEWBIES follows Kai and Moses – two 23-year-old Black strangers on parallel journeys – over the course of a single night in Brooklyn, as they confront truths about themselves and their nascent queerness.

About the Filmmakers

Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence is a writer-director from Washington, DC and Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Raised by critical race theorists and freedom fighters, she has always been drawn to storytelling as a means to build a new world. After working in theater as Assistant Director on Anna Deveare Smith’s play Notes from the Field and assisting Diane Paulus and Kerry Washington, Kimiko transitioned to television, writing for Lena Waithe’s TV shows TWENTIES and BOOMERANG and developing TV projects at Netflix, Apple, and MRC. Her plays include Holding: A Queer Black Love Story; Black Magic; and I, Too, Am Harvard (a play and viral photo campaign). Most recently, Kimiko produced the award-winning short film little trumpet, directed by Megan Trufant Tillman. Her essay “On Being Black and Asian in America” was published in TIME and featured in My Life: Growing Up Asian in America from MTV Books and Simon & Schuster.

Megan “Megz” Trufant Tillman is a writer-musician-director from the 7th Ward of New Orleans. Her debut short film little trumpet (2022), a 7th Ward coming-of-age story – which she wrote, directed, and scored – has won jury awards for Best Narrative Short (Bushwick Film Festival), Best Cinematography (Tacoma Film Festival), Best Louisiana Short (New Orleans Film Festival), and Best African-American Directed Short (Phoenix Film Festival). Previously, her New Orleans-set pilot script ALL FRONTS was named runner-up in the 2019 New Orleans Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Her artistic practice extends beyond filmmaking: she’s one half of jazz/neosoul/hip hop outfit Magna Carda, and founder and editor of WATER, a Black literary and arts magazine. Additionally, she’s written for the music video “Fight For You” by H.E.R., and Amazon’s H.E.R. Prime Day episode. Her work centers Black life, Black culture, and the Black South.



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