Hans Augustave Unveils New, Powerful Short Film ‘Before I Knew’

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“This was before I felt the need to make up for my imposing stature and hue by developing an overly gentle and inviting persona.

This was before George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castille, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice…”

This is before I knew I was Black.”

These statements and more are included in Hans Augustave’s latest short film Before I Knew, a visual poem that he wrote, directed, produced, and appeared in. 

The Haitian-American filmmaker attended NYFA’s One Year Conservatory Program in Producing and then became a digital video producer for BLUR, a tech startup with an in-house production team. There, he directed, shot, and edited dozens of ads for the digital space. He then moved to the independent film world where he currently works as an Assistant Director. 

Also a Dj (DJ Hanzi), Augustave’s storytelling journey has taken him from the art of spoken word, to the stage with his one-man show The Lost and Found and now to the screen with his latest project Before I Knew; a visual poem depicting the subtle and not so subtle ways Black men come to the realization that they are seen as less than human. 

While working on the film, Augustave was introduced to sound mixer Edward Morris II, who worked on Before I Knew. After having started to mix the sound, Augustave found out that Morris’ cousin was Elijah McClain, a young Black man who was killed by the police and whose story broke to the media when Before I Knew was in post-production.

Augustave is also co-producer on a documentary feature film The Forgotten Occupation  which examines the United States’ occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934 and the  negative impacts on Haiti’s current political climate. 

As DJ Hanzi, Augustave founded the popular and growing sober-curious dance party, Reprieve. “It’s part Funk, part House, part Pride, very Black and ALL Love,” shared Augustave. “It’s defying the misconception that no booze & no drugs = no fun.” 

New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Hans Augustave on his powerful short film Before I Knew and encourages readers to watch and have their own discussions about the short film. 

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Published on: September 18, 2020

Filled Under: Diversity, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights

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