On July 6, the world met Philando Castile—the man fatally shot by St. Anthony (Minn.) police officer Jeronimo Yanez—as he drew what would turn out to be his final breaths. Just 10 days later, he would have turned 33 years old.
Over the weekend (August 20), filmmakers Mohammad Gorjestani and Malcolm Pullinger released a short documentary that delves into the legacy of a man gone too soon. “Happy Birthday Philando Castile,” follows Castile’s friends and community as they celebrate his birthday, explore how losing him painfully illustrates the epidemic of Black men dying at the hands of police officers and reflect on what the world looks like without him in it.
According to Mic, director Gorjestani and producer Pullinger partnered with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement to create the short film. The director explained the project’s theme in an interview with Mic:
“A birthday is supposed to represent an advancement in life,” the director said. “In this case, it’s the exact opposite.” The theme is effective because a person’s birthday is a platform for empathy, Gorjestani added.
The doc joins what has developed into a series of shorts from Even/Odd celebrating the birthdays of Black men killed by police officers, including Oscar Grant and Mario Woods. Watch the full eight-minute doc on Castile above.