Chattering Class

Yance Ford Turns a Personal Lens on Grief and Social Injustice in ‘Strong Island’

Photo Credit: Netflix

In 1992, Yance’s Ford’s brother William was killed. Then, 10 years ago, Yance started making a documentary about the murder and why a grand jury decided the case would never go to trial.

That film, titled “Strong Island,” is more of a personal movie than a piece of journalism. Yance turns the camera on himself, recalling how the killing shaped his identity as a black trans man, and why his family still struggles with grief and a desire for justice.

When Brendan spoke with Yance, he noted the film plays out like a family memoir, featuring his brother’s journals and hundreds of family photos. In the audio above, Yance explains why he features his hands prominently while showing the personal items on screen, how talking about the film gave him a sense of relief, and more.

“Strong Island” is streaming on Netflix.