Phillip Youmans has the spirit of an old-soul, wise beyond his years. He demonstrates a confidence in his storytelling, underlined by his restraint. He moves effortlessly between fiction and non-fiction, embracing his bold aesthetic and the unique lens through which he views the world, to tell deeply personal stories that speak to universal truths. His work is magical and poetic, layered and nuanced; it’s understated but demands attention.
The New Orleans-raised filmmaker premiered his debut feature BURNING CANE starring Wendell Pierce at Tribeca last spring, where it won the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Cinematography, and also Best Actor for Wendell Pierce. At 19, Youmans was the youngest director to feature in the festival and the first Black filmmaker to win the top prize. He also received a nomination for Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Awards and the film was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. BURNING CANE was acquired by Ava DuVernay’s Array Now and is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Youmans directed the short IMAGINE A MOON COLONY as part of Hulu’s Black Stories Presents: Your Attention Please, an initiative for Black History Month, and the music video for Leslie Odom Jr’s song STRONGER MAGIC from his debut solo album MR. His other directorial credits include a Solange commissioned short NAIROBI through her creative agency Saint Heron, a music video for the band Inner Wave, and a documentary short to accompany jazz musician Jon Batiste’s most recent album release. Additional projects include his LOVE LETTER TO NEW ORLEANS for Dazed Digital, an exclusive short film and text by Youmans that pays tribute to the city that shaped him.