Blue Hour (2023)


Two personal journeys intersect when a struggling young photographer is hired for a cheap last minute portrait gig. The unfolding photo session, while transient, leaves an indelible mark on both women.

Award-wining and BAFTA-qualified, Blue Hour is the first partnership between the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and Women in Film and had its World Premiere at the 2023 Brooklyn Film Festival followed by a West Coast Premiere at HollyShorts.


  • Baltimore International Black Film Festival - Best Drama Short

  • Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival - Best American Indie Short

  • Milwaukee Short Film Festival - Best Film, Best Actor

  • Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival - Audience Award: Best Student Short

  • SCAD Savannah Film Festival - Student Narrative Shorts Jury Award

  • Desertscape International Film Festival - Best Student Film

  • Fargo Film Festival - Pat Hansen Award for Best Screenplay

  • Durango Film Festival - Best Live Action Narrative Short

  • Short. Sweet. Film Fest - Best Student Film


Blue Hour is a meditation on the intensity of transitory moments, the fleeting exchanges and interactions that have the power to alter your mood, day or life. Often it’s only with the clarity of hindsight that we can identify these instances. Rarely there are times where you sense the tectonic shift in tandem with the moment. René and Jaz are aware of the emotional exchange passing between them. And we, like them, are left to wonder how this encounter will leave an indelible mark and shape the course of their lives.

Director's Statement

  • Anchorage International Film Festival - Alaska Premiere

  • Baltimore International Black Film Festival - Maryland Premiere *Award Winner

  • Berkeley Springs Film Festival - West Virginia Premiere

  • Block Island Film Festival - Rhode Island Premiere

  • Blue Whiskey International Film Festival - Illinois Premiere

  • Brooklyn Film Festival - World Premiere

  • Buffalo International Film Festival - Western New York Premiere

  • California Women’s Film Festival

  • Capital City Film Festival

  • Catalina Film Festival

  • Cleveland International Film Festival (Oscar-qualifier)

  • Cinema on the Bayou - Louisiana Premiere

  • Cucalorus Film Festival - North Carolina Premiere

  • Desertscape Film Festival - Utah Premiere

  • Durango Independent Film Festival

  • East Lansing Film Festival - Michigan Premiere

  • Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival - International Premiere

  • Fairhope Film Festival - Alabama Premiere

  • Fargo Film Festival - North Dakota Premiere *Award Winner

  • Filmfort - Idaho Premiere

  • First City Film Festival - Kansas Premiere

  • Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival *Award Winner

  • Gasparilla International Film Festival

  • George Lindsey UNA Film Festival

  • HollyShorts Film Festival - West Coast Premiere (Oscar-qualifier)

  • Indie Street Film Festival - New Jersey Premiere

  • McMinnville Short Film Festival - Pacific Northwest Premiere

  • Miami International Film Festival

  • Milwaukee Short Film Festival - Midwest Premiere *Award Winner

  • Montana Film Festival - Montana Premiere

  • Montgomery Film Festival

  • Myrtle Beach Film Festival - South Carolina Premiere

  • Norwalk Film Festival - Connecticut Premiere

  • Norwich Film Festival - UK Premiere (BAFTA-qualifier) *Award Nominee

  • Omaha Film Festival - Nebraska Premiere

  • Orlando Film Festival - Florida Premiere

  • Pan African Film Festival (Oscar-qualifier) *Award Nominee

  • Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival *Award Winner

  • Phoenix Film Festival

  • Poppy Jasper International Film Festival

  • Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival (Oscar-qualifier)

  • San Jose International Short Film Festival

  • SCAD Savannah Film Festival - Southeast Premiere *Award Winner

  • Seattle Black Film Festival - Washington Premiere

  • Sedona International Film Festival

  • Short. Sweet. Film Fest - Ohio Premiere

  • Sonoma Film Festival

  • Tucson Film Festival - Southwest Premiere

  • Vail Film Festival - Colorado Premiere

  • Washington D.C. International Film Festival - D.C. Premiere

  • The Women’s Film Festival - Pennsylvania Premiere

  • Yountville Short Film Festival


Doyin Domingo as Rene
Diamond Taylor as Jaz
Jabari Wredd as Larry
Paulina Bugembe as Nurse

Written and Directed by
J.D. Shields
Produced by
Diana Ward, Lauren Avinoam and Maya Korn
Shannon Kummer
Executive Producer
Katie Leary
Cinematography by
Bethany Michalski
Production Design by
Eve Axness
Costume Design by
Tyler Hollingsworth
Edited by
Katelyn Wright
Original Music by
Daniel Walter
Casting by
Kristi Lugo

Line Producer Sue-Ellen Chitunya
Unit Production Manager
Mei-le Apalucci
First Assistant Director
Maria Valdez
Script Supervisor
Danica Tan
First Assistant Camera
Arman Meinecke
Second Assistant Camera
Eliana Mullins, Lin Chen
Liz Charky
Key Grip
Marcelina Stardust
Best Boy
Isaac Crane
Location Sound Mixer
Tyler Shields
Art Director
Ana Coccioletti
Production Assistant
Matt Gall
Stills Photographers
April Maxey, Quinton Lund

VFX Overmind Studios
VFX Artists T
obias Kummer, André Christopher Gerhardt
Digital Intermediate
FotoKem Creative Services
Digital Intermediate Colorist
Alastor Arnold
Digital Intermediate Producer
Miten Soni
Sound Editor & Design
Klaire Zhang
Sound Re-Recording Services provided by
Formosa Group
Re-recording Mixer
Emilie Corpuz
Post Sound Executive
Jennifer Bowman-Gallagher

Camera Package courtesy Arri Rentals
Camera Rentals
G&E Rentals
Unit Rentals
Set Stuff
B+G Catering, Rise and Shine Catering

Special Thanks
April Maxey, April Moreau, Ashley Chrisman, Christina Choe, Christina Bryant, Deborah Marcano, Em Weinstein, Eric Pumphrey, Frederick Thornton, John Douglas Shields, Kelly Pike, Lucas McNelly, Lucretia Stinnette, Melanie Rodger, Melissa Verdugo, Michelle Krusiec, Maikiko James, Mar Angélica Molina, Nicole Gregory, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS), Patty Garcia, Rachel Summer, Rebecca Murga, Sean Hackett, Stacy Rose

© MMXXIII American Film Institute


Follow Blue Hour on Instagram: @bluehrfilm