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Truth and Fantasy in a Film on U Street
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Author: Padget, Jonathan
Date: Aug 14, 2003
Start Page: C.05
Section: STYLE

"U Street Blue" is a short film produced by Michael Hastings- Black, Raafi Rivero and Darrell Westbrook that will fulfill Rivero's thesis requirement in Howard University's graduate film program. Rivero is also the film's director and screenwriter.

Hastings-Black and Rivero, both 25-year-old Washington natives, and Westbrook, a 27-year-old film school classmate of Rivero, wrapped up a week of shooting at various U Street sites on Tuesday. Tawdry though it may sound at first, the aforementioned scene is part of the quest of the main character, [Billy Colbert], a homeless black Vietnam War veteran, to find the owner of a diamond engagement ring. The ring had been discarded on the street in his vicinity the night before during a young couple's heated argument.

"It's a huge turning point in the history of U Street," says Rivero of this current period that he has captured with "U Street Blue." But Rivero hopes Washington audiences won't be the first to see the finished product. He plans to submit the film to major festivals such as Sundance and TriBeCa that require works to be premieres. A District debut should come next spring, Rivero says, either in an independent screening or in one of the local festivals to which he also plans to submit the film.

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