If blacktino (purposely spelled with an uncapitalized first letter) strikes you as a mixture of Napoleon Dynamite and Precious, consider yourself unimaginative, and possibly racist. Sure, the film showcases a nerd, and he’s black (or more specifically, half-black/half-Latino), but that’s where the similarities end. Centered on afro-pick-donning, biracial geek Stefan Daily (Austin Marshall), who has difficulties fitting in his high school, director Aaron Burns’ debut feature doesn't seem to handle the main character like a complete oddball or a tragic figure. He has a group of friends, his grandmother acts as his mentor, and a girl (played by Devyn Ray), whose father is played by Danny Trejo, might possibly be his high school sweetheart. Unlike previous teen comedies that dealt with out-of-place characters, (at least from the looks of it) this film puts a heavy emphasis on race issues without being preachy. We also smell hints of autobiographical traits in this flick, as the director considers himself a “blacktino nerd,” and reps Austin, Texas, which can’t hurt. Acting done by newcomers might raise few eyebrows, but it's not like we’re expecting any Academy-cosigns; this trailer has a likeable vibe, and that's enough for us. blacktino will premiere at SXSW on March 11.
Stay connected with complex Pop Culture