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Palm Sunday

East Coast Premiere

Director: Wes Andre Goodrich

United States, 2023, 15 min

Festival Year:2023

Category:Narrative Short

Genres:Drama, Horror, Gothic

Cast:Justin Winley, Don Henderson Baker, Detron Phillips, Zach Strum, Gerald Louis Campbell, Brian Mullins, Caroline Lawless

Crew:Executive Producer: TruJuLo Productions; Writer: Wes Andre Goodrich. Producers: Patrick Nichols, Cameron Carr, Andrew Harrell. Actor: Don Henderson Baker, Detron Phillips, Zach Strum, Gerald Louis Campbell, Brian Mullins, Caroline Lawless; Director of Photography: Kevin "GK" Fredrick; Score: Alex Symcox, Production Design: Charlie Keeling & Keely Beal, Costume Design: Camille Etienne


Inspired by true events, Palm Sunday is a southern gothic drama about a young Black Caribbean Immigrant who attempts to assimilate into an all-white church in 1970s Raleigh, North Carolina.


About the director

Wes Andre Goodrich is a New York-based writer / director.

He is currently developing his pilot: HERETICS, a dark comedy pilot that follows three twenty-something megachurch janitors: Dre, Cash & Julie, who stumble upon the dead body of the Senior Pastor, and in their attempt to figure out who did it, uncover dark secrets that threaten to tear their church apart, he was awarded 1st place finalist at the Ivy Film Festival for the pilot.

Wes is also on the festival run with two shorts: PALM SUNDAY, a southern gothic drama about a Jamaican man attempting to desegregate an all-white church in 1970s Raleigh, North Carolina; and SPEAK UP BROTHA!, a musical romance in the style of 90s Black films.

Wes is the recipient of the Columbia University Dean’s Grant and The Katherina-Otto-Berstein Grant and was a 2022 Diverso Black Writers in Focus Fellow. His films have screened at Cleveland Int’l Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, American Black Film Festival, Moorehouse Film Festival and Longleaf Film Festival.

Website Filmography

Filmmaker's note

Have you ever felt that you were meant to do something?

That is the central impulse at the heart of PALM SUNDAY. Inspired by true events, this is a short film about a young Black Caribbean Immigrant named Jimmy, who feels isolated in America and believes that it is the will of God for him to desegregate an all-white baptist church in the Spring of 1970. But is it God's will? Or just Jimmy's desire to be accepted by the white congregation?

As a young Black kid growing up in a Christian home, the journey of our hero Jimmy resonates with me. His questions of how to square the doctrine of neighborly love, with the impulse to protect yourself from white violence is something I still wrestle with. This film is about a man who believes he is destined to do something great, even if it puts his life, and the lives of his community, in danger. It is also an immigrant story, of a young Jamaican man who does not have a home and community but wants one. As the son of Caribbean immigrants myself, the story really struck a chord.

This is a film that could easily become a stiff period piece that is devoid of humanity and tension or overly focused on giving a lesson rather than exploring characters as they navigate challenging and dramatic circumstances. We have seen films like that, especially films set in this era. PALM SUNDAY takes a different approach. Visually, we wanted to reflect the tension that the story naturally has. There is something haunted and unsettled about the South in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, and it was key that the film's tone and visual aesthetic reflects that. This film needed to feel like an Afro-Gothic film that could have been released in the 1970s. To that end, we used films like “Ganja & Hess,” “The Story of a Three-Day Pass,” and “In the Heat of the Night” for references. The number one priority was creating a film that felt textured, vintage and lived-in.

PALM SUNDAY is a story that grapples with American history, but through a lens that’s haunted, and which shows characters confronting questions that are as vital today as they were 50 years ago. Although set in the past, our film is centered on the intersection of Christianity and race, two of the hardest things to talk about today. We hope that our film will make you uncomfortable, but then perhaps spark much needed conversations.

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