Having premiered in the NEXT section of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Amman Abbasi’s transporting debut feature embodies all that is exciting, fresh and promising about the new face of American cinema, and further the new face of an ever-evolving United States. To wit Abbasi, a Pakistani-American filmmaker with roots in Little Rock, Arkansas, has at the tender age of 28 already opened a restaurant of his own and garnered international acclaim as a musician, to say nothing of collaborating with renowned UNCSA alum filmmaking team David Gordon Green, Jody Hill and Danny McBride of Rough House Productions. From the first moments of Dayveon a distinct, authoritative new cinematic vision is on display as we’re shepherded through a kudzu-choked, predominantly African-American community in Arkansas where exhibits A through infinity on the oft-overlooked challenges of transcending institutionalized poverty and cycles of senseless violence are ubiquitous in our field of view.

The film begins in the wake of one such instance, with 13-year-old Dayveon struggling to make sense of the sudden death of his older brother in a gang-related altercation. Devastated yet fighting back his emotions, he spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town. In such a seemingly dead end world, the camaraderie and street legitimacy offered by the local gang scene naturally is difficult to resist, and Dayveon soon gets jumped in. Though his older sister Kim and her boyfriend Bryan try their best to provide a stable home life and an outlet for his feelings, a fight or flight mission early on with his new squad will be the ultimate test of his allegiance and mettle. With a complex, evocative visual language and strong sense of place, Dayveon is a stunning first effort that is sure to linger with you long beyond the flashes of the final frame.

Director Amman Abbasi to be in attendance for 3/31 and 4/3 screenings!