2011 | United States | Fiction


  • Spanish English 15 mins
  • Director | Barry Jenkins

This film is currently not available.   

Chlorophyl (yes, with one "L" at the end) was commissioned for Borscht 7 in 2011. Even with only one feature film to his credit (the stunning Medicine for Melancholy) it is safe to say that Barry Jenkins is one of the most important filmmakers to ever grow up in Miami.

Borschtian Andrew Hevia made it his holy mission to get his fellow FSU alumni back to his hometown to make a spiritual follow-up of sorts to Medicine. Hevia put the project together, teaming Barry with local musician Millionyoung to create the short, which made some noise upon its initial premiere.

As Andrew tells it in a guest post about regional filmmaking for Filmmaker Magazine that year:

"When Barry Jenkins made Medicine for Melancholy and set it in San Francisco, he built a story around the location, using San Francisco as a character and a theme. Micah’s struggle for connection with Jo came from not only his longing to connect romantically, but also from his growing disconnect with the city. The film was outwardly about both of these things, and intertwined them throughout.

This thematic connection is key to successful regionalism — understanding the place before recreating it on film — studying its history and placing your story in context of the broader narrative of the environment and letting your characters exist within that space. It was Barry’s successful rendering of San Francisco that made him such an obvious choice for a Borscht project. Born in Miami, Barry brought the understanding of a native but with the emotional distance of an expatriate. He had grown up in the city and moved on — only to return years later and find that a new Miami has sprung up in his absence. To me, this meant that Barry was able to look at the city with new eyes.

The resulting short film is not Barry’s experience; it’s his exploration of a Miami that didn’t exist when he last lived here. Astonishingly, the city featured in the movie has existed for only about five years, if even that long. Miami’s development has been so rapid that most of our locations ± a re-purposed train station turned music venue, an elegant private art collection, a bombed out construction site and a swank new condo — all manifested after 2006."

Interestingly, in the two short years since this short premiered, some of the skylines and streets have already changed dramatically again. I hope that one day the Internet gifts us a supercut of moments in Barry's films where the latent motif of gentrification bubbles to the surface. Alas, you will have to follow those threads on your own for now.

We are very proud to present the movie in its entirety for the first time ever online, with a foreword by Brazilian film philosopher and animator Bernardo Britto:


On change for the non-chlorophyllic organism

Photosynthesis is one of those incredibly beautiful processes of the natural world, something that has evolved over millions of years to be as simple and efficient as possible. Plants absorb light energy through chlorophyll, use it to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars, and expel oxygen. It’s an almost invisible occurrence, a highly internal reaction—transforming something that would normally have very little value for us into something that fuels our every breath. It takes place everyday, all over the world, and yet we barely notice it.

In a way, that’s essentially the nature of change. It is a constant occurrence that we barely notice. Consider the amount of change going on inside your body at every moment, the millions of cells dying and regenerating. We are always in a process of change, we are always in a strange in-between moment—not quite sure of who we are, with only a vague notion of who we were, and only a distant glimpse of who we want to be.


Chlorophyl spiritual organism nature