Roano Moreno’s Colorful Canvases | Drama Comedy Short Film | Chicago, IL

When I first started writing this project, I had no idea that it would become the art-driven comedy that it is today.

A year ago, I was driven by the impetus of codifying my racial identity, particularly regarding to the journey one must embark upon in order to transcend America’s unrefined, segmented understanding of ‘race.’

Being a mixed man in America presents itself with inward facing conflict. Growing up in suburbia Indiana, I was constantly reminded of my difference to my white, black and asian counterparts alike. Sure, I have always been accepted within these different societal subgroups (…kind of…), but I was always aware of my racial ambiguity within each. Identity, I learned, has little to do with self validation so much as it has everything to do with external acceptance.

To be white was to be in. To be black was to be in. To be asian was to be in. To be too much of each was to be in another category entirely. It was to be ‘other.’

Originally, my goal with a directional debut was to tell a more personal story about a mixed person like me rather than a Garifuna Honduran painter. But when my good friend and co-star of the film, Angel Guillen, informed me about playing his own balancing act while growing up as a black hispanic kid in Chicago, I thankfully realized a much more interesting way to tell not just my story, but multiple stories within the same film.

There’s the subtle story about transcending race through self-empowered identity. There’s the story of bullying and its affects on its victims. There’s the artist’s story about overcoming the crushing weight of nihilism and learning to express oneself despite the void. I found a way to go beyond my bubble and reach further into all of our lives rather than only honing in on the one issue of Racial Imposter Syndrome.

This is a good lesson for any first-time director / writer to learn. My story and point of view is important, yes, but if I had failed to realize the value in reforming my own life experiences into a truly fictionalized setting, then I would have created something trite, unimaginative and ultimately uninspired.

And though much of the original inspiration – that of feeling the alienating depression of Racial Imposter Syndrome – has been been pushed into the context of the film rather than the forefront of the story, elements of my life experience have remained present in the characters, emotional motivation, and resolution of the film. This creates a much more dynamic and lively world.

Rather than dwelling on personal psychological pain within a narrative, that pain becomes the bed upon which the narrative takes place. Those emotional ghosts then inform the characters how to act, which ultimately leads those characters on their own dynamic arcs.

I hope this film inspires others who feel like an imposter in their own skin to imaginatively express that feeling and to use comedy and levity as a way to elevate and free oneself from that dark corner of their mind. Roano Moreno represents all of us who may feel stuck and offers a way to overcome– as an artist who can’t create, a person who’s cut off from their heritage or ethnic identity, or when battling the crushing frustration of depression, the way to move forward is simply to begin moving.

As of writing this article, Roano Moreno’s Colorful Canvases is midway through post-production with a slated completion date of August 13th. To keep in touch with our progress and premiere announcements (one of which will indeed be taking place at Detroit’s Planet Ant Theater in October!) or just for fun, follow the project @RMCC_shortfilm, production company @LATTO_thought, and me @_CADavis on Instagram today.


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