New Voices in Black Cinema UPDATES
We are truly excited to announce that From Fatherless to Fatherhood, director Kobie Brown’s touching and important documentary which we brought to you at our New Voices in Black Cinema 2012 festival, will make its broadcast premiere this Sunday on Father’s Day, June 16th at 8PM ET - with encore broadcasts at 9:30 and 1AM - on ASPIRE, Magic Johnson’s cable network. The film will rebroadcast on June 19th and 22nd as well.
Brown’s documentary film and movement explores the importance of fatherhood and turns the corner on father absence, one story at a time.
Below is a link that lists the channels where ASPIRE can be found. Happy Father’s Day weekend all!
“In the case of Simone, much of her legacy is tied to her appearance. In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s when Blacks were straightening their hair and bleaching their skin, Simone had the courage to fully embrace her beautiful dark skin, kinky hair, full lips and wide nose without apology. Simone’s mind, body and spirit were a fierce challenge to the logic of White supremacy. Even her music, embodied in classic songs such as “Images” or “Four Women,” was a courageous testimony of life in a body hated by Whites and Blacks because it was the wrong gender and the wrong color.
Simone was a figure of hope and possibility to generations of women who were told that their faces were too dark, their noses too wide and their hair too nappy to be considered beautiful.
But even if Saldana manages to look like Simone, it still leaves another question: Why not just hire a dark-skinned actress? Surely, this is what Simone would have wanted. Before her death in 2003 at age 70, the singer herself said that she wanted Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg to play her in the movie. This wasn’t just because of Goldberg’s talent, but because she actually had features similar to Simone’s. In addition to Goldberg, an entirely new generation of artists such as Tony Award- winning- and Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis, actress Adepero Oduye, or singers Lauryn Hill or India.Arie could have played Simone. There is no greater evidence of how tragic things are for dark-skinned women in Hollywood than the fact that they can’t even get hired to play dark-skinned women.”
LEGACY AND INTEGRITY: Why Zoe Saldana Was the Wrong Choice for Nina Simone by Marc Lamont Hill
filmmaker Jerry LaMothe and his debut film Amour Infinity (2000)
Read a new interview on him in celebration the special anniversary screening of his classic indie hit —
Raffled off two tickets for this inventive new film last night at our Short Film Collective. Check it out at Cinema Village and Lincoln Center this during its week-long NYC run.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty opens April 26th in select theaters.
Don’t be fooled by the attractively colourful and slightly cartoonish signature style of Kenyan artist Michael Soi’s work, for there is a world of seriousness and heavy socio-political undertones in his illustrations.
Soi’s work illustrates visual portraits that serve as social commentary inspired by his observations of daily life in his hometown of Nairobi.
“My work mostly touches on issues related to the youth like fashion trends, music and life in general. I try to create an attitude of what you see might be what you get from it. I am involved in work that deletes, distorts and changes various images into what I want them to be, and am excited by the subtle play that erasure seems to create when executed in certain ways.
“My work is not about the suppression of images or distortion, or the negation of what the image represents, but is about obscuring the images in order to create a different relationship between the final piece and the viewer.
Most of my work is social commentary inspired by the city of Nairobi that addresses everything from this to what we would rather not talk about in public.”
peep the second and fourth paintings with the police officers and officials groping the women’s breasts.
Our new staff writer Aisha Harris was able to pin down the very busy Yamin Segal and Julia Ahumada Grob, the creators of East WillyB to ask them a few questions about their new original series which we’re playing the first two new episodes of this Thursday April 25th at our Short Film Collective
East WillyB is an Original Web Serieschronicling the adventures of Bushwick Sports Bar owner Willie Jr., and his motley crew of bar regulars, as they deal with the trials and tribulations of living in an ever changing Latino community of Brooklyn, and the ways in which all their lives interconnect to create the extended family so integral to its character. Their pilot season was extremely successful and official Season 1 began this year.
There are several moments in the first two episodes that candidly reflect Brooklyn’s gentrification and the tensions that arise when outsiders begin to move in (and in many cases, push out) the natives. What made you decide to address such issues through humor? How do you hope to contribute to the conversation around Brooklyn’s ever-changing neighborhoods?
Julia Grob: Both Yamin and I grew up in New York and gentrification was an issue which directly concerned and/or impacted us—here we were, both artists, unable to afford the neighborhoods (Park Slope & Upper West Side, respectively) where we had both grown up. We also are both the children of political activists. Using comedy to explore these issues was a way in to explore the issue without making our series a soap box series. We wanted to put forward a new perspective - that of the neighborhood’s original residents (in this case Puerto Ricans in Bushwick)- and show the different ways folks were dealing with the “hipster invasion of their neighborhood.” We see the show as a comedy about REAL New Yorkers trying to make it.
This an extremely colorful cast of characters—Willy B, the hopeless romantic; Edgar, the artist; Manny, the guy who’s always recording “movies” on his cell phone. Are they inspired by real-life friends and family?
Yamin Segal: We are definitely inspired by real-life friends and family, however, the characters were really developed around the strengths of our actors. Almost every single character was developed with an actor in mind, and in many cases, the actor really worked with us in the writing process to expand their character’s voice.
You don’t see too many TV series featuring predominantly Latino English-speaking casts in the U.S. In creating East WillyB, have you had to face any skepticism about whether this could be done?
There has always been skepticism, especially when we first started sharing the pilot. This was before the results of the 2010 census had been published and people still thought “Spanish-speaking,” when they heard the word Latino. However, the trends are changing. 50,000 Latinos turn 18 in the United States every month. What language are they speaking? English. Do they consider themselves Americans? Most likely. The networks and studios are desperately trying to reach this population, but they still don’t know how because there are so few Latinos in positions of power in these companies. We are trying to show that authentic story-telling, delivered by Latino creators, is marketable and has an audience.
Thanks Julia and Yamin!
You can meet them both and ask even more questions after you watch East WillyB along with other fine short films from Black & Latino directors at ActNow Foundation’s Short Film Collective - April 25th at 6:30pm at Rustik Tavern (471 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 (Clinton Hill).
Our newest recruit here at ActNow, Aisha Harris, recently interviewed Derrick Perry, the writer & director of PROSPECT, a film which focuses on a Brooklyn photographer searching for inspiration, who has a chance encounter with a mysterious woman in Prospect Park. What starts as a simple acquaintance winds down a complicated path, that will leave him forever changed.
The film is concerned with the visual. That is, individual perception, and how what we see—or choose to see—influences our point of view. How do you relate to photographer Raymond, who finds his perceptions of the world challenged?
The most memorable films usually raise questions that challenge the viewer’s perception of the world. As a filmmaker you’re attempting to create a reality on screen that’s true to your individual perspective of a story, event, person, or detail. What start out as personal ideas and emotions are put on screen to be interpreted in different ways by different people.
Much of the film takes place in Prospect Park. In a city with quite a few beautiful parks set away from the urbanity of NYC, what drew you to this one?
I choose Prospect Park as backdrop mainly because I’ve always had a special affinity for it. There’s a sense of seclusion there, but it’s nestled in the middle of such a busy section of Brooklyn that the contrast is striking. The stretch of Eastern Parkway leading to the Prospect Park has a boulevard style and the architecture of the library, museum, and plaza give the area a classical, European feel. Brooklyn is usually shown in such a gritty nature and I wanted to contrast that the same way the park does.
see PROSPECT, along with other fine short films from Black & Latino directors at the Short Film Collective - April 25th at 6:30pm.
see more at: www.ActNowproduction.org