The John Dunning Discovery Award is presented for the best micro-budget film of the year (production budget under $250,000). The winner of this award is awarded with $25,000.


Black Cop


Director: Cory Bowles

Producer: Aaron Horton

It’s not easy being a black cop: your community doesn’t trust you and your colleagues are wary of you. But for one officer, the tension between duty and moral obligation eventually pushes him over the edge and he sets out to exact a twisted kind of vengeance on the white and privileged in his city.









Message from the Jury

As jury members, Black Cop best represented the spirit of the John Dunning Discovery Award. By portraying the journey of a black police officer, this satirical social commentary showcases the reversal of traditional roles, exposes hypocrisy, and challenges the viewer on what it means to be both black and a police officer in 2018.

The film benefits from a powerful performance by the lead actor Ronnie Rowe and impactful incorporation of a radio broadcast dealing in racially-charged discourse as a means to contextualize the complexities of contemporary race politics. With a hybrid mix of fiction, documentary, and slam poetry, the director’s creative use of multiple shooting techniques involving the police officer’s body camera, dash cams, and cellphone footage make for an engaging and timely film that questions the status quo.  

Black Cop evokes complex feelings in its audience, pushes boundaries, and explores ideas that are central to the times we are living in. We look forward to director Cory Bowles’ filmmaking career.