Upstart director and storyteller Xavier Neal-Burgin is pushing to tell underrepresented stories in Hollywood.
At only 28 years old, Neal-Burgin has already directed twelve short films, which have led him to become an HBO Film Finalist, a Sundance Lab Fellow, a Student Academy Award Semifinalist—and he has 60,000 Twitter followers to boot.
Neal-Burgin says he is excited by his success and hopes he’ll see increased visibility for black directors, storytellers, actors, and other creatives. Thus far, he has focused his storytelling and his films on the lives of black communities that are rarely recognized on the big screen—and he plans to continue.
“Simply put, I enjoy the varying experiences black people go through and our ability to be both diverse and varied in our depictions,” Neal-Burgin said. “For example, my film On Time explores homelessness and job scarcity for black women, while my upcoming film, A Little Closure, is a ghost story set on the backdrop of millennial, middle class black people. I want to convey the idea we, as black people, can represent and be anything.”
Currently living in Los Angeles, Neal-Burgin spends his days writing and directing his own work, pitching to different production companies, and developing new ideas for future projects.
“Still, at 28, I know I have so much more work to do in regards to achieving my dreams,” Neal-Burgin said. “The ultimate goal is becoming a feature-film director, but I want to explore the plethora of avenues within my industry to tell my stories, and adjacent stories, about black and brown people. I’m in this for the long haul, because I know my voice matters.”