Travon Free Shares Message About Police Killings During Oscar Win

Travon Free accepted the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film for Two Distant Strangers during Sunday’s Academy Awards alongside his co-director, Martin Desmond Roe, and pleaded for people to not be indifferent to the pain caused by police killings.

Two Distant Strangers is about a man trying to get home to his dog, who gets stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive a deadly run-in with a cop. Free, who also wrote the short film’s screenplay, emotionally talked about police killings, especially when it comes to the Black community. Free wore a suit lined with the names of those killed by police brutality in the United States.

“Today, the police will kill three people. And tomorrow, the police will kill three people,” he said. “And the day after that, the police will kill three people. Because on average, the police in America every day kill three people — which amounts to about 1,000 people a year. And those people happen to be disproportionately Black people.”

“I just ask that you please not be indifferent,” he continued. “Please don’t be indifferent to our pain.”

Two Distant Strangers beat out “Feeling Through,” “The Letter Room,” “The Present” and “White Eye.”  Ahead of his big win, Free talked about the Netflix short film to The Los Angeles Times and why it’s so relevant today with the killings of Daunte Wright and George Floyd.

“As often as the ‘Groundhog Day’ trope is used now to tell stories, and they’ve gotten more and more creative, this was the first time that it felt like an actual metaphor for something,” Free said. “It’s a metaphor for what it is like to be Black in America. It is the loop.”

Travon Free, wearing a jacket that includes names of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and more: “James Baldwin once said, ‘The most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people’s pain’…Please, don’t be indifferent to our pain.”

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