December 27, 2013
Happy Holidays from ActNow Foundation!

Happy Holidays from ActNow Foundation!

June 16, 2013

April 22, 2013
Interview with Derrick Perry, writer/director of PROSPECT

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

November 28, 2012
Gritty Hip-Hop based Thriller ‘You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Kills You’ plays at The BEST OF New Voices in Black Cinema this Saturday December 1

Saturday December 1st at 8:30pm at MIST Harlem, 40 West 116th Street, New York, NY

You’re Nobody Til Somebody Kills You

directed by Michael A. Pinckney 

for advance tickets go to: http://www.charged.fm/userevent/item/652/you8217re-nobody-8216til-somebody-kills-you

Starring James McDaniel, Michael Mosley, Nashawn Kearse, Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, and Michael K. Williams

Playing for only the second time ever in NYC is this action packed and gritty story of two New York City homicide detectives (James McDaniel, Lt. Fancy from classic TV drama NYPD Blue and Michael Mosley from the hit movies The Proposal and 27 Dresses)  forced into the high-stakes world of the hip hop industry. A complex web of murder, sex, money and music unfolds as the homicide detectives track a serial killer with an appetite for some of hip hop’s biggest stars. 

With Spike Lee serving as Executive Producer, this film long in the making from Lee protege Michael ‘Boogie’ Pinckney also stars Nashawn Kearse (Desperate Housewives) as Manchild, the latest rapper on the hunt from the serial killer, the detectives on the case must get to him before the killer does. Look out for cameos from some fan-favorite rappers including Doug E. Fresh and Bid Daddy Kane in this ideal Saturday night thrill-ride.  

Watch the intense trailer below:

trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YFOskTab4hE

November 26, 2012
Magical-realism drama “Let’s Stay Together’ plays at The BEST OF New Voices in Black Cinema this Friday Nov. 30

The BEST OF New Voices in Black Cinema - Friday Nov. 30th and Saturday Dec. 1 at My Image Studios in Harlem, NYC — get tix for all the films HERE

Let’s Stay Together

directed by Joshua Bee Alafia

Friday Nov. 30th at 8:30pm

Click HERE for tickets

This feature narrative best described as a work of magical realism is about a young man (Alafia) who when inspired by the suggestion that a new Al Green  album could save families embarks on a  mission to better understand and unite African American families,  providing rich commentary on matters of concern regarding black American households.

A true hit during our February festival, don’t miss this follow-up opportunity to see this wonderful film.

Watch the trailer and our interview with the director, both below.    

Let’s Stay Together - official trailer HD

interview with director Joshua Bee Alafia

August 16, 2012
kissmyneosoul:

Nicholas Brothers
Now that’s entertainment.

You think Chris Brown can dance? Well the Nicholas Brothers did it first. This scene from Stormy Weather never fails to amaze!

kissmyneosoul:

Nicholas Brothers

Now that’s entertainment.

You think Chris Brown can dance? Well the Nicholas Brothers did it first. This scene from Stormy Weather never fails to amaze!

10:47am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z8jfOxRXTY1K
  
Filed under: film cinema dance ActNow 
August 16, 2012
lynellgeorge:

Al Freeman Jr with Frank Sinatra and Jack Klugman 

R.I.P. Al Freeman Jr.

lynellgeorge:

Al Freeman Jr with Frank Sinatra and Jack Klugman 

R.I.P. Al Freeman Jr.

7:56am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Z8jfOxRX9d9t
  
Filed under: movies film actors r.i.p ActNow 
February 14, 2012
A Sit-down with Dui Jarrod & Peyton Coles of LESSON BEFORE LOVE


Written by Noella Wynter

This Valentine’s Day marks a very special occasion for director Dui Jarrod and emerging actor  Peyton Coles of Lesson Before Love. No, it does not involve the trivial things like a box of chocolate or a bouquet of red roses. Instead, this year’s Valentine’s Day makes it four years since the inception of the film, Lesson Before Love.

What originally started in 2008 on Valentine’s Day as a group of single friends enjoying the company of one another by painting pottery, watching an independent film and having a meaningful discussion about why they were all single, resulted in the product of a labor of hard work and love as well as a feature film for this year’s Festival.

“I felt like, as far as black culture was concerned we didn’t have a film that displayed us in a really compelling light,” said Jarrod. “I wanted to write a film that displayed the current state of being young, black and progressive in modern times.”

However, the process was a lengthy one, and took three and a half years. When asked what kept him motivated throughout that time Jarrod said his community. “I was just committed to my community, I felt like we deserved it. I was also committed to myself and getting my first feature film done.”

Lesson Before Love centers around four singles who are unsatisfied with not only their love lives but their personal lives as well. This aspect of the film mimics Jarrod’s who left his job in corporate America to fulfill his dreams of being a filmmaker and subsequently making his first feature film.

It seems as though Lesson is a first for many involved in the film including Peyton Coles, who plays Cullen Jones. “This was my first feature film. I came from New York doing stage work,” said Coles. When asked what the environment on set was like, the New York native said “[We were] very much so like a family. We had to be a family in order to make a film like this.”

“I love the way that Dui and the producers kind of sent us out on these love dates with all the actors as their characters,” continued Coles. “We would go out to dinner [and] in one date we sculpted and painted our own pieces in this ceramic shop. We did that often and that’s what they did to prep us to get comfortable with one another.”

Hopefully the audience will sense the chemistry between the cast and walk away with lessons of their own. “I want people to leave with their own personal love lessons, said Jarrod. “I just want people to experience the journey of four characters and see yourself in those characters stories and to really think about it for yourself.”

“I would like them to leave with a better sense of themselves and the person beside them because we all go through the struggle,” said Coles.

If you are wondering what else you can expect from these creative gentlemen, Jarrod is currently working on a screenplay for Viola Davis and Peyton Coles is setting to release his first directorial short film.

Lesson Before Love screens at New Voices in Black Cinema Festival this Friday, Feb. 17 at 9:30pm at Brooklyn’s BAM Rose Cinemas. Tickets are going fast! Find them here.

February 13, 2012
Q&A with THE BECOMING BOX director Monique Walton

Monique Walton’s The Becoming Box is a a poetic sci-fi that follows one woman’s perilous journey through a time portal as she loses herself and struggles to piece together fragments of her identity and past.

The film screens on Sunday, February 18th in the 4:30pm shorts program at New Voices in Black Cinema Festival at BAM in Brooklyn. Find tickets here.



AF: What inspired this film?
 
MW: All of my films, whether fictional or documentary, have all dealt with identity in some way and how you shape and create your identity in relation to the world around you.  So with this film I was thinking about the concept of a portal that changes your identity immediately and you don’t remember who you are. Then I visited New Orleans last year and was really inspired by the place and culture and felt like this concept could be used there because there is this sense of loss and the people there identify themselves so strongly with the place.  When it was so abruptly changed and  destroyed people lost that part of themselves. Also, New Orleans is such a creative inspiration.  It’s just so culturally rich.  It almost feels like it’s not apart of  the rest of the U.S. because it’s so dynamic and the energy there is different from anything I had ever experienced.
 
AF: New Orleans is sort of a character in the movie.  It seems to be interwoven into the fabric of this film.   Could this movie have been made anywhere else?
 
MW: I tried to make it a character.  The themes that I was trying to explore, I feel, are universal in the terms of the history of the African diaspora.  So I tried to approach displacement as it pertains to the history of African Americans in the US. But once I set it in New Orleans, the city had to have a strong presence because it’s such a unique place.

AF: So when your character travels to this alternate reality you employ this cinema verite effect.  Talk about your decision in using that approach.

MW: That was kind of an experiment for us.  We really were trying to play with structure.  We thought it would be a really interesting visual break- because it occurs in the middle of the film- to completely subvert the whole style of the film.

AF: What message do you want to take away with this film?

MW: I wanted to leave some of the experience up to the viewer to interpret it in relation to their own experience.

AF: What was the most gratifying moment for you as director on set?

MW: There’s always a moment when the actors take the baton and they create a relationship between each other you didn’t even picture happening.  One of the actors is actually a first-time actor.   There was something about her that I knew she’d be able to execute the role.  But she brought a whole new spiritual dimension to the character that I didn’t even plan for.   It was gratifying in terms of  placing her in a room with two experienced actors and having her do such an excellent job of improvising. She was able to get in that world and really work with them in a way I didn’t expect would happen so smoothly.

AF: What was the biggest challenge in making this film?

MW: I’m based in Austin and we shot the majority of the movie in New Orleans. The challenge was doing something in another city I don’t live in.  Luckily,  I was able to have some crew that was based in New Orleans to help me with pre-production.  But it was a huge challenge to juggle all of that. I spent a lot of time on the road, driving eight hours on the weekends trying to manage everything, while going to school.

AF: How did you manage o find locations?

MW: It was through research and Monique, who’s in the film,  was a really big help.  We shot a lot of it at her house and she was so helpful driving me around to different locations.  She’s actually a choreographer born and raised in New Orleans, so she knew where all the great spots were.  

AF: How many days did you guys shoot:

MW: Four days of filming and a day of pick-ups.

AF: What did you guys shoot on?

MW: Super 16 and EX3

AF: Which parts used the super 16?

MW: First half is all Super 16.  The cinema verite sequence begins to use the digital.  


February 11, 2012
Q&A with DEFORCE director Daniel Falconer


DEFORCE is a dense and provocative look at the city of Detroit, the corruption it’s endured and the resilient people who choose to call it home. Here’s a Q&A with director Daniel Falconer.


Read More

February 11, 2012
Center Stage: SINGLE HILLS

In exactly one week New Voices in Black Cinema Festival returns to BAM Rose Cinemas during Black History Month, February 17-20.  ActNow is excited to announce the screening of Single Hills.

A Young Brooklyn writer, fearful of serious commitment, sends his longtime girlfriend mixed messages about the status of their future.  When she distances herself from their relationship, he realizes his loss and frantically pursues her until his life spirals out of control.  Starring J Kyle Manzay (American Gangster), Krystal Hill, Maryam Basir (Mooz-lum) &Victor L. Williams (King of Queens, CBS), this romantic drama about love and loss, examines male vulnerability pertaining to the matters of the heart.

Director Wilkie Cornelius is a write, director and producer of film and theatre.  He wrote and produced the plays The Longer The Tail  and Single Hills in New York ad he has also written dozens of short plays and comedy sketches, which were first presented at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe as part of ‘The Wa Wa Wilkie Show’.  He also wrote, directed and produced The Last 15 Hours, a political documentary, and the feature film version of Single Hills, which hits the film festival circuit this year.

Single Hills premieres February 18th at 6:50pm.

Tickets are selling out fast for this New York Premiere!  Vist bam.org/actnow for tickets.


February 10, 2012

View the trailer for the romance Lesson Before Love.  Screening Friday, February 17th at 9:30pm.  Purchase your tickets at bam.org/actnow

February 10, 2012
Center Stage: SINGLE HILLS

In exactly one week New Voices in Black Cinema Festival returns to BAM Rose Cinemas during Black History Month, February 17-20.  ActNow is excited to announce the screening of Single Hills.

A Young Brooklyn writer, fearful of serious commitment, sends his longtime girlfriend mixed messages about the status of their future.  When she distances herself from their relationship, he realizes his loss and frantically pursues her until his life spirals out of control.  Starring J Kyle Manzay (American Gangster), Krystal Hill, Maryam Basir (Mooz-lum) &Victor L. Williams (King of Queens, CBS), this romantic drama about love and loss, examines male vulnerability pertaining to the matters of the heart.

Director Wilkie Cornelius is a write, director and producer of film and theatre.  He wrote and produced the plays The Longer The Tail  and Single Hills in New York ad he has also written dozens of short plays and comedy sketches, which were first presented at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe as part of ‘The Wa Wa Wilkie Show’.  He also wrote, directed and produced The Last 15 Hours, a political documentary, and the feature film version of Single Hills, which hits the film festival circuit this year.

Single Hills premieres February 18th at 6:50pm.

Tickets are selling out fast for this New York Premiere!  Vist bam.org/actnow for tickets.


February 10, 2012

Watch the trailer to Single Hills, making its New York premiere Saturday, February 18th at 6:50pm. 

February 9, 2012
Q&A with THE THREE WAY director Julian Renner

We sat down with director Julian Renner to give us the deets on dramedy The Three Way. 

AF: What inspired this story?
 
JR: The movie originally started as a short film.  Which I posted on youtube.  Everybody kept asking me what happens next.  They were bombarding me.  It took a year to figure out how to construct a tricky feature. It took me six or seven months to write it.  Luckily, at the time I had the cast in place.  I gave the script to the lead, Tasha, and to one of my close friends from school who is also the producer and some 18 drafts later we started filming.

AF: Where does the short film end and the feature begins?

JR: The short films ends where Mike and Sam leave Tasha at the table. It ends on that cliffhanger where the phone rings.  Tasha picks up the phone, you hear the “hello”, and we cut to black.

AF: The film goes from comedic to intensely dramatic.  Can you talk about your decision with that tonal arc?

JR: The movie has all these twists and turns.  I broke it down into three major incidental changing events for the character.  It had to be about something.  I kept playing the same card over and over again and then it becomes very gimmicky.  There has to be some substance.  There has to be some form of accountability for what the characters- these people- were doing.  So that was the reason why I changed the tone.  I think of it as an expensive joke.  With an expensive joke there has to be repercussions at some point.  Somebody has to atone for all of this.  I figured if I could shift the genre from comedic to dramatic I could still find a way to preserve the twist and the audience would still be more taken by the dramatic elements as opposed to being clinched of it.  Just at the moment that they’re getting very  comfortable with what they’re seeing I  lay something on them.

AF: Was the improvisation done by the actors?
JR: There was a lot of improv.  I realized during the table read that it felt a bit too rehearsed.  I remember on set there was a dispute between a supporting character and one of the major characters and I sat behind the monitor with producers and I said, “I’m not buying this.” It was too scripted and too rehearsed.  So in the middle of shooting I walked up to the actors and I told them to say my lines but we’d let the camera roll for an extra three minutes and have them keep the momentum going.  It ended up being an acting exercise for them.  It was just amazing the kind of stuff they would say because they all knew what their objectives were.  And as long as they knew that, I trusted they would come up with something interesting.  

AF: Are there any artistic liberties you took as director?

JR: My DP and I had a little bit of a struggle in the early part.  Because he was trying to light the movie like a drama.  It had a very different tone.  So we had to come up with a style and he came up with a great idea to give everyone highlights.  Also, I think trusting the actors with some of their choices.  Sometimes they’d say a line and I’d think to myself, “ I don’t know how I’m gonna make that work in editing.” But I think editing was the most ambitious part once the movie was shot.  We had so much stuff from all the improv so it was a matter of finding what were the right moments that would work with the scene but also at the same time entertain the viewer.  

AF: What did you shoot on?  

JR: We shot on Red.  

AF: How many days

JR: 94 pages in 11 days

AF: How big was your crew?

JR: It was a pretty small crew of about 7 people.  I couldn’t really afford a big crew.  And considering 70 percent of the movie is shot in one location it would have been hard if we had a lot of people in terms of maneuvering.  It was pretty ambitious but we made it through 10 pages a day.  I think the longest day we shot was 15 pages.

AF: Is there anything you want your viewers to take away

JR: I think the ending says it all .  It makes a statement about women taking the reigns and men needing to step up to the plate.  Most of the people who have seen it find it to be an enjoyable experience and enjoy the twist and the turns the story takes.  Whatever the audience pulls from it is great.  But primarily I wanted it to be entertaining.

AF: Most gratifying moment for you as director on set.

JR: The final day when we actually completed all the pages. I remember telling the DP, “I don’t think we’re gonna make it.”  Then the producer got back and said we shot the entire script and have everything.  It was like, “Oh we actually did it!”  Based on what we were seeing in the monitor we had something that was really interesting and fun.

AF: Funniest moment on set.

JR: It was when the two leads Tasha and Mike were arguing. Karmia, who plays Tasha, is a very intense actress and there’s this scene which calls for her to slap Mike.  We’re all sitting in the back watching the monitor and they’ve already rehearsed it.  I call for action, they say their lines and then “WACK!” The guy who plays Mike calls for me and asks if he can have some aspirin. The entire crew just breaks down laughing and he basically told her that if she kept hitting him like that he wouldn’t be able to come to work tomorrow.

AF: What would you say was the biggest challenge making this film?

JR: There was a moment where the movie almost fell apart.  It was about a week before we started filming.  I initially had another DP and he backed out 6 days before we were to shoot and at that point I thought the movie was done. But one of the producers said he knew a guy.  I called him and he came to the location; we sat down and had coffee and he got it.  Based on how the movie looks I think he did a phenomenal job for a guy who only had six days to plan.  He’s set to shoot my next feature.  It sucked that I lost my DP but i was fortunate to find someone that I could develop a really good working relationship and friendship with.

The Three Way screens Monday, February 20th at 9:15pm.

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