There is so much brutal honesty and compassion packed into “A Craftsman”. This graduate film from the USC’s School of Cinematic Arts was selected as one of three films for funding, mentorship, and showcase during the Spring 2017 semester of the Issa Rae Presents program. Written by Joel David Santner, produced by Elise Brown and Cydney Fisher, and directed by Sanford Jenkins Jr., it’s original, moving and told with great tenderness. It’s hard to think of another project like it.

“‘A Craftsman’ orbits a rurality and contemporary life of an ageing, black American generation, at a point where many stories and people fade away,” the description explains. “It is a capsule of existence and emotionality, and in its form both captures and questions the way we understand, document and engage humanity.”

It’s a powerful story filled with both bleakness and empathy — and, most notably, it’s told masterfully. You can see the whole thing here:

The Issa Rae Presents program does a stunning job of promoting the work of new artists and storytellers. “A Craftsman” is both touching and humbling, tackling difficult subject matter with a nuanced touch. It’s shot beautifully, the acting is powerfully understated, and the story itself is unique. Expect to see much more from these names in the future.