“Solely United” was a pure experiment in 2023. James A. Pierce, III, and Mark Willis came together to award me a gift that keeps on giving. A film short embracing the human spirit at its core, that I can continue to watch whenever I want. Woven among three sections of poetry, and featuring spoken word and dance — this poignant, experimental interplay between two performers, invites you into a mystical journey of darkness and light.
Our film footage was shot on February 2nd, 2023 at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, NY, by Joel Stephen — a longtime partner with ACD. And, with the magic of my editor, Val Gomez Acosta, we whipped together this rare experiment pulling levers, in a couple of dozen hours. The day at the theater was another one of my Jiffy-Mixes, where when all was said and done, we probably were working only 2.5 hours.
Val Gomez Acosta was one of those rare finds. My former editor from my last project, Tareek Jones, had gotten a new job, and was unavailable right when I needed to start my work editing. I lucked out finding Val — a former graduate from Yale, who responded to my inquiry. I knew right away that we’d be a match. Without the genius of the editing of Val’s technically superior work, this film never would have gotten off the ground. From our shoot date up until May, I was consumed with an impending move. It all coincided where the film was finished within a day of the moving truck arriving! Our magic together worked! Our YouTube LIVE premiere was fit into a chaotic time in my life, and yet, we pulled it off in May. It deserves much more attention than what I was able to give it, but perhaps in the near future, we can revisit another go at it, in a new state of mind, and virtually, in a new state!
Val Gomez Acosta
I owe a debt of gratitude to James and Mark for trusting me with this huge experiment. As they are both pros, they dug their heels in and brought out the best of their abilities, and gave me the most wonderful gift from 2023~
Mark Willis & James A. Pierce, III
I invite you to see their work, if you haven’t seen it yet. I’m sure they’ll move you in many ways! Cheers to 2023 being all about experimentation, finding great talent, and transitioning!