Maranta Plant Shop is Milwaukee's first and only Black & Brown owned plant shop, located in Bronzeville. Their story is one of collective community support and radical joy.
I directed this short documentary in the fall of 2021 with a crew of three others: Producer - Jo Beaird, Cinematographer - Alexa Jurado, & Editor - Charlie Okray.
I knew the story of Maranta was a story of her founders, Michelle and Mag. When conceptualizing the film, it was important for me to provide space to let their narratives breathe and lead the story.
Maranta Plant Shop is filled with gorgeous, well cared for plants from around the world, with a special focus on plants from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean Islands. The sheer aesthetic of the plants coupled with the natural light from the storefront windows were sure to play a prominent role in the cinematography.
I imagined an ethereal and dreamlike cinematography and a slow and deliberative narrative, one that seemed to unfold like a blooming flower.
Another exciting aspect of the plant shop is the accompanying food truck they opened about 6 months into operation as a physical storefront. Tostadas serves foods inspired by Mag's family (his mom even helps make the birria!).
Maranta's location within the Bronzeville neighborhood in Milwaukee is monumental, and I knew we needed to talk about why this is so important for the neighborhood.
Origin stories get me every time, and Mag's story is one of hardworking immigrant parents who encouraged him to chase his wildest dreams.
Of course, I would be nothing without my inspirations, and The Handmade Movement served as a great example of community connection and character-driven narratives.
Marquette University Student Film Festival 2022: First Place
Trinity Fellows Milwaukee Showcase, co-screening with Aaron Bledsoe, Fall 2022