This music video turned short film for one of my best friends turned RCA-signed-artist, Nana, was almost two years in the making. It all began years ago when Nana came over and played me this song as a demo, and immediately I knew we had to make something deeply personal. Nana and his siblings were born and raised in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, yet his parents had an incredibly inspirational past spanning decades prior that he was only just beginning to uncover. His parents had moved to LA in the late 70s with a little bit of money, a couple connections, and together they built their own little empire, just steps away from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd- the heartbeat that runs through the top of South LA. Nana had his own story dealing with King's Blvd, which you can so vividly hear in the lyrics of this track, that dealt with his coming-to-terms with the more traditional, christian values he was taught at home, and how they were beginning to clash with the realities of his environment. Bullying, peer pressures and self doubt were very present in his high school experience, and he never found a way to communicate that side of his life with his parents. So after many long talks with Nana, and countless discussions in which we both sat down with his parents to record their story, we decided to make a narrative piece that intertwines the two stories, and shows Nana's departure from his parents safety net into navigating the ups and downs of the real world. King's Blvd was made with innate delicacy and attention to detail that could have only been achieved with the help of Nana and his entire immediate family. His brother, Charles Opong, plays his father in the opening sequence of the film alongside childhood friend, Indonesia Hayes, playing his mother. Nana's sister, Narkie Opong, designed costumes for the piece by directly pulling garments out of their parents closet to further set the tone. Many of these scenes were shot in Nana's old stomping grounds, the church still owned by his Father, and a beauty supply store owned by his Mother. I genuinely hope you all enjoy watching!
Litten’s films are warm and humane, populated with unforgettable characters whose poetic vitality blurs the lines between documentary and fiction. Since forging his aesthetic in Atlanta’s rich underground music and fashion scenes, Litten has used his life experiences to shape a perspective that is simultaneously dreamlike and informed by lived experience. At the age of 18, he found himself shooting a guerilla fashion show on MARTA, the city’s public transit system, that went viral during the early days of the internet. He’s used his myriad life experiences to sharpen the tools of his craft a lot since then, deftly drifting between documentary and narrative and usually combining elements of both with a razor sharp edge of style into a surprising mixture that keeps audiences on their toes, exploring the nuances of humanity while transcending the expected formula. His work has screened at the Atlanta & St. Louis International Film Festivals, and his film King’s Blvd for Nana was shortlisted for shots Music Video of the Year. Recently, his campaign for Northwestern was nominated for a Young Director Award. Litten’s work has also been featured in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Vimeo’s Staff Picks. His brand collaborations include projects for 1800 Tequila, Google, Kellogg’s, and a film for P&G that profiles the lives of the company’s employees across 6 countries: Brazil, India, China, Japan, Germany, and the US.