Magazine article Filmmaker

Darius Clark Monroe

Magazine article Filmmaker

Darius Clark Monroe

Article excerpt

Thirty-three-year-old Houston native Darius Clark Monroe's feature documentary debut Evolution of a Criminal is an unflinching and unusual cinematic self-portrait, the type few directors are ever in a position to make, let alone pull off with such intimacy and panache. In high school, motivated by his families' difficult economic circumstances, Darius and two other teens robbed a local bank. Years after the resulting prison stint, Monroe - an alumnus of the University of Houston and New York University's Graduate Film Program - decided to embark upon a project that would bare his guilt, reasoning and ability to transcend a childhood error, one that could have completely derailed many others' lives. "I was in New York City, and I was actually inside of a bank, and while I was in line, I started having a panic attack," recalls Mon- roe, who now resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. "I always knew I wanted to apologize but I didn't know where, and I definitely didn't plan on it being part of a film."

Supported by the Austin Film Society Grant, the Spike Lee Production Fellowship, the Warner Bros. Film Award, a Cinereach Grant and Tribeca All Access, Evolution of a Criminal world premiered at this year's SXSW Film Festival. After a robust spring and early summer festival run, which included the Grand Jury Prize at Full Frame, the film has acquired significant champions, such as New Yorker film critic Richard Brody, who said the "terrific movie" announced "the birth of an artist. …

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