Tyson Sanford-Griffin's love of running through the streets of Baltimore has landed him a spot at New York's Tribeca Film Festival.
In his 90-second short film "Free Running Through Baltimore," Sanford-Griffin talks about his love of running through the city, and ruminates on how much better the experience would be if Baltimore were a safer place. The film was one of five shorts screened Thursday morning at the festival — finalists in a competition called The America I Am, co-sponsored by the Tribeca Film Institute and the National Park Service.
"I think the audience enjoyed it quite a lot," Sanford-Griffin, 19, said over the phone from New York after Thursday morning's screening. "I'm very grateful that they actually appreciated my film."
"Free Running Through Baltimore," which Sanford-Griffin says he began making about three years ago, shows him running along city streets, sometimes leaping over fences, sometimes vaulting off of walls. At times, he appears exhilarated; other times, he looks scared.
His off-screen narration reflects those same extremes.
"It makes me feel like I am on top of the world," he says at one point. Seconds later, however, his eyes darting as he continues his run, Sanford-Griffin, who lives in Northwest Baltimore's Dorchester neighborhood, speculates on what could be.
"Can you imagine waking up every morning, knowing that nothing bad will happen around you when you walk outside your front door?" he asks.
While free running, he says during the film, "You see the best and worst of the city."
Sanford-Griffin graduated from the Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Sciences charter school and hopes to continue his studies in college. And yes, he'd like to continue making films.
"I do see this as a possible career," he says.
"America I Am" asked young filmmakers "to create and share a personal film … that explores the American experience," according to a news release from when the competition was announced in December. "The contest is designed to uncover the stories of Americans of all backgrounds in order to better understand our shared culture and history."
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You can watch Sanford-Griffin's film, along with the films of the other finalists, here.