It’s a cinematic sin that Hollywood has yet to capture Harriet Tubman in a film all her own.
Larger than life, heroic beyond words, Tubman worked as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. She personally led 300 slaves to freedom. Her life couldn’t be more tailor made for a big-budget feature.
Later this year we’ll finally get a film depicting her amazing life. “Harriet,” directed by Kasi Lemmons, stars “Widows” standout Cynthia Erivo as the former slave turned freedom fighter.
Filmmakers Kira Allen and James Lanka beat “Harriet” to the punch.
The duo’s short film “Minty” reimagines Tubman as a Tarantino-esque spitfire. The film features Tanya Alexander as Minty, one of Tubman’s nicknames, helping a pair of slaves find freedom.
It won’t be easy, of course. Slave masters are on their trail. The male slave (Kelcey Watson) is having second thoughts about leaving the security of his old “home.”
Freedom isn’t easy, either, a message the short hammers home between some slick framing devices.
“Harriet” looks like a sober, traditional biopic. That’s a perfectly reasonable approach, and it may fuel a crush of Oscar nominations if the film lives up to the source material.
“Minty,” by contrast, is pulpy and hip. It still sticks to the historical record despite its modest length. Those unfamiliar with Tubman’s life story may be surprised by what they learn in under 10 minutes.
The short may have a modest budget, but the sly take on the material belies dollars and cents.
And the story isn’t over yet. “Minty,” which debuted at the Smashcut Film Festival last July, will be released online later this year following its festival circuit run. Next up? The short may live on as a television series.
“America has her Founding Fathers, but Harriet ‘Minty’ Tubman truly deserves to be seen as a Founding Mother. She gave birth to this nation as we know it today,” Allen says.
UPDATE: “Minty” is now available online: