Bi-racial filmmaker Octavio Warnock-Graham attempts to learn the identity of his father and the circumstances of his birth, two topics never discussed by his white mother in their suburban household. Set in Maumee, Ohio, the filmmaker struggles to understand his mother, Harriet Warnock, and her decision to suppress her son’s racial identity. It is a question that no one in the family has been asked or can answer.
The camera captures the family’s inner demons — one mention of Warnock-Graham’s half-black parentage nearly gives his white grandmother a heart attack. Warnock-Graham’s family embodies the denial found in multicultural families across the country, and reminds us that the ideal of racial purity persists in America.
Silences is not about race and it is not about shame. It’s about the problems that every parent faces in raising a child and every child faces in coming to terms with the choices, for better or for worse, that a parent makes.