In a short film, friends and family grieve the police-shooting victim over cake and recollections.

Ten days after the troubling, live-streamed death of Philando Castile, who was shot by a police officer, the filmmakers Mohammad Gorjestani and Malcolm Pullinger travelled to be with Castile’s community in Minnesota. They filmed as his friends and family mourned on what would have been Castile’s 33rd birthday. The documentary Happy Birthday Philando Castile is a reflection on Castile’s life and character from his closest companions. It’s part of a larger series called The Happy Birthday Project, which profiles the communities of victims of recent police killings on their respective birthdays. “When tragedies like Philando Castile occur, the reflex is to broadcast and focus the lens on the hysteria, anger, and the shock felt by the families, friends, and community,” wrote Gorjestani in an email. “Through the idea of the ‘birthday,’ we hope we can create common ground built on empathy, and illuminate a universal truth that human loss is something that is rooted in profound grief and changes lives forever.”

You can watch the first episode of the series, on Oscar Grant’s birthday, here.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Nadine Ajaka
Nadine Ajaka

Nadine Ajaka is a former associate producer for video at The Atlantic.

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