Category: Movies

Howard University Partners With Amazon Studios to Promote Diversity in Entertainment Industry

According to jbhe.com and deadline.com, Howard University and Amazon Studios have announced the launch of Howard Entertainment, a program designed to diversify the entertainment industry by creating a pipeline for African-American students and other under-represented populations to train and study with entertainment executives.

The Howard Entertainment program will be an immersive two-semester experience located in Los Angeles, California, that offers Howard students the opportunity to take academic courses during the spring semester and participate in a fellowship in the entertainment industry during the summer semester.

The coursework will be applied toward the student’s graduation requirements and the fellowship provides much needed hands-on experience and an opportunity to make invaluable networking connections.

“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting, to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge.

Collaborating with Amazon Studios will enable us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders. With Howard’s proven track record of developing some of Hollywood’s most notable actors, comedians and musicians, this next-level collaboration will enable us to have even greater impact.”

To qualify, students must be enrolled as a Howard University student, must be an upperclassman or graduate student and will have to complete an application and interview to be considered for the program.

Students will be taught by Howard faculty who will be supported by Amazon Studios employees and other industry professionals invited by Amazon. This will give students to work in projects that offer “real world” application and will help students develop “work ready” skills prior to graduating.

The new program is scheduled to begin with the Spring 2020 semester.

Tyler Perry to Build Compound for Displaced Women, Children and LGBTQ Youth at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta

 

Filmmaker and entrepreneur Tyler Perry told Gayle King on CBS This Morning this week that his eponymous film studio in Atlanta will soon provide a safe haven for homeless women, displaced LGBTQ youth, and sex trafficking victims.

Perry is the first African American man to own a major movie studio, a 330-acre property that was once a Confederate Army base. But he is most excited about the aspect of helping those in need. “You know, the studio’s gonna be what it is,” Perry said.

“I’ll tell you what I’m most excited about next is pulling this next phase off, is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced … somewhere on these 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient.”

“They live in nice apartments. There’s day care. There’s all of these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society. And then pay it forward again,” Perry continued. “So that’s what I hope to do soon.”

The land for Tyler Perry Studios was acquired by Perry in 2015 and is located on the historic grounds of the former Fort McPherson army base in Atlanta, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Think about the poetic justice in that,” Perry said. “The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me.”

The major motion picture studio includes 40 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, 12 purpose-built sound stages named after African-American luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey, Diahann Carroll, and Harry Belafonte, 200 acres of green space, and a diverse backlot.

To read more: https://www.blackenterprise.com/tyler-perry-studios/

History-Making Tyler Perry Studios Has Grand Opening Gala in Atlanta with Oprah, Beyonce and More

Tyler Perry (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

Actors, directors, musical artists, filmmakers and politicians such as Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Stacey Abrams, Ava DuVernay, Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, Tiffany Haddish, Whoopi Goldberg, Reginald Hudlin and Halle Berry showed up to support filmmaker and entrepreneur Tyler Perry as he formally opened his Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

Tyler Perry Studios marks the first time that an African-American person has owned and operated a major film studio anywhere in the U.S.

Perry also reportedly named his twelve sound stages after living and late legends such as Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Sydney Poitier, Della Reese, Spike Lee, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Whoopi Goldberg, Diahann Carroll and Will Smith.

“Why did it take so long?” Goldberg wondered in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Why was he the first to get it? Now he’s the man who makes the decisions, chooses the movies, and he doesn’t have to ask anybody for shit. There’s nothing better than that. He’s never on his knees. He gets what he needs because he provided it.”

Davis concurred by saying, “Tonight is history. Tonight is not just entertainment and flamboyancy, it’s not just an excuse to get dressed up. It’s an excuse to celebrate a historic moment, which is a black artist taking control of their artistic life and the vision that God has for their life,” she said. “What’s happened with us historically is we’re waiting for people to get us. We’re waiting for people to throw us a crumb. That’s not what Tyler Perry has done. I want to be able to look back on this and say ‘I was there.'”

Winfrey added of Perry: “Tyler is my little big brother. To see him rise to this moment that I know he’s dreamed about, planned, defined, clarify for himself, it’s just a fulfillment of a dream. It’s wonderful to see.”

DuVernay, among others, touchingly reported on the momentous occasion on her Instagram and Twitter:

To read and see more, go to: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/inside-tyler-perry-studios-grand-opening-gala-1245752

R.I.P. Diahann Carroll, 84, Groundbreaking Actress and Tony Award Winner

 

Diahann Carroll (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

According to the Los Angeles Times, Diahann Carroll, star of stage and screen who changed the course of television history as the first African American woman to star in a TV series (1968’s ground-breaking sitcom “Julia”) and to win a lead actress Tony Award, has passed away. She was 84.

The Oscar-nominated actress and breast cancer survivor, who also starred in “Paris Blues” with Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, primetime soap “Dynasty” and “White Collar,” died of cancer, her daughter Suzanne Kay said Friday.

Born Carol Diahann Johnson in 1935 in the Bronx, Carroll moved to Harlem with her parents at a young age. With their support, she enrolled in dance, singing and modeling classes and attended Music and Art High School with Billy Dee Williams, who would later costar with her in “Dynasty.” By 15, Carroll was modeling for Ebony, and by 18 she got her big singing break after winning the televised talent show “Chance of a Lifetime” in 1954.

Carroll debuted as an actress in 1954’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of “Carmen Jones,” a retelling of the Bizet opera with an all-black cast alongside Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte and Pearl Bailey. In 1959, she headlined the musical “Porgy and Bess” with Dandridge, Sidney Poitier and Sammy Davis Jr.

Carroll was nominated for a lead-actress Oscar for her turn as a single mother in the 1974 comedy “Claudine” opposite James Earl Jones, and earned a Tony Award in 1962 for Richard Rodgers’ “No Strings.”

In the late 1960s, Carroll was cast in “Julia,” the enormously successful NBC sitcom that featured her as a war-widowed nurse raising a son.

Carroll won a Golden Globe for female TV star and a nomination for best TV show, among other nods. She also earned a lead actress in a comedy Emmy nomination in 1969. Because the show was sponsored by toymaker Mattel, she served as the model for one of the first black Barbie dolls and found her likeness plastered on a variety of merchandise, including lunch boxes and coloring books.

To read more: https://www.latimes.com/obituaries/story/2019-10-04/diahann-carroll-dead

 

17th Annual ImageNation Outdoors Festival of Soul Cinema & Music Kicks off Aug. 8 in NY

ImageNation Outdoors Festival (photo courtesy ImageNation)

The 17thAnnual ImageNation Outdoors Festival: Soul Cinema and Music Under the Stars kicks off this year on August 8th with an outdoor screening of BOSS: The Black Experience in Business.

Held in partnership with the Historic Harlem Parks and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, ImageNation Outdoors, is New York City’s only free summer-long outdoor film and music festival dedicated to Black cinema, will continue with a dynamic slate of free entertainment.

On August 22nd, ImageNation Outdoors will present a special screening of Amazing Grace, the acclaimed documentary of Aretha Franklin recording her gospel album live at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972.  The screening will follow a live musical tribute, and Harlem will attempt to make the Guinness Book of Records by forming the world’s longest Soul Train line.

On August 30th and September 6th, join ImageNation will be screening When They See Us. The critically acclaimed docu-series that tells the untold story of the Exonerated Five. Korey Wise and Kevin Richardson of The Exonerated Five will be in attendance.

Come to slay with a screening of an intimate documentary as stylish and unconventional as its subject, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami on September 20th.  The documentary depicts Jones in her Jamaican hometown, follows her into the studio with longtime collaborators Sly & Robbie, and at cutting-edge live shows—featuring performances of “Slave to the Rhythm,” and “Pull Up to the Bumper”.

The screening will follow live tribute performances and a fashion show of OKETSA by Thulare Monareng and designs by Sheila Prevost.

Festival dates are August 8th and continue through September 20th.   All programs are free and open to the public. Music and activities begin at 6:00PM; and, films begin at sundown.

2019 Outdoor Lineup:

  • August 8th – BOSS: The Black Experience in Business, Marcus Garvey Park
  • August 13th – Poetic Justice, Marcus Garvey Park
  • August 17 – If Beale Street Could Talk, St. Nicholas Park, w/ Harlem Week!
  • August 22 – Soul Train Tribute to Aretha Franklin and Amazing Grace, Marcus Garvey Park
  • August 23 – Decade of Fire, St. Nicholas Park (Black Public Media 40th Ann.)
  • August 24 – Kids Night Out – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, St. Nicholas Park, w/ Harlem Week!
  • August 30th- When They See Us, Adam Clayton Powell State Office Bldg @ 125th St
  • September 6th- When They See Us, Adam Clayton Powell State Office Bldg @ 125th S
  • September 20 – Black Girl Magic – Grace Jones: Bami & Bloodlight, Marcus Garvey Park

Kids’ Night Out is curated by eight year-old Harlemite Kgari Kgama-Gates who shared, “I chose the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse because it really inspired me to have a young superhero who looks like me. Plus, the music is awesome!”

Children as well as adults are bound to have a great time as the screening celebrates Harlem Week as well.  The program will also offer STEM games, face painting, and a back to school backpack giveaway by the Harlem-based Xi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

ImageNation Outdoors is sponsored by Harlem Community Development Corp, Black Public Media, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Harlem Week, Radio 103.9, HBO, the Colonel Young Park Association, Harlem 2020 and Global Black Network of Black Pride. Launched in 2002 with a single screening for 300 people, ImageNation Outdoors has grown to draw nearly 10,000 attendees each summer. ImageNation Outdoors is the only summer long festival dedicated to films and music about the Black global experience. 

Full descriptions of the festival programs are enclosed below. All programs are free and open to the public. Music/activities begin at 6:00PM; and, films begin at sundown:

Continue reading “17th Annual ImageNation Outdoors Festival of Soul Cinema & Music Kicks off Aug. 8 in NY”

Tony Nominee Lauren Ridloff to Play Marvel’s 1st Deaf Superhero in “The Eternals”

Lauren Ridloff (photo via commons.wikipedia.org)

According to Entertainment Weekly and broadwayworld.com, Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff is set to be Marvel’s first deaf superhero in the upcoming film, The Eternals, which also stars Angelina Jolie (Thena), Richard Madden (Icarus), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Lia McHugh (Sprite), and Don Lee (Gilgamesh). Ridloff will play the role of Makkari and The Rider’s Chloe Zhao is directing the film.

Ridloff appeared in the 2018 Broadway revival of Children of a Lesser God and was nominated for a Tony for her performance as Sarah Norman. Ridloff appears in the Palme D’Or nominated film Wonderstruck, and can be seen in John Legend‘s music video, “Love Me Now.” Ridloff was also the first Miss Deaf America of African-American and Mexican descent.

During San Diego Comic-Con on July 20 director Zhao and several of the stars spoke about The Eternals, which is shooting in London and is scheduled to be released on November 6, 2020.

To quote from ew.com:

“It’s about this group of incredible immortals but through their journey we really get to explore what it means to be human and humanity on our time on this planet,” Zhao said.

“The Eternals are a race of immortal aliens sent to Earth by the Celestials to protect humankind from the Deviants,” added Madden. Ridloff also signed that she is playing the first deaf character in the MCU.

Hayek, speaking about being the leader of the group, told the crowd, “I take my inspiration from our leader, Chloe, who’s also a strong woman and it takes a strong woman to do a movie like this because it’s so big and amazing and I’m so excited to be a part of it. The way she approaches leadership as a woman, as a strong woman, is that she sees them as a family. So there’s a lot of mother instincts in this Eternal, who is not supposed to have kids. So this is very exciting, and I feel very honored to be a part of a movie that is going to allow people who never felt represented in superheroes, or in this case Eternals, represented because I am proud to have a diverse family.”

Said Jolie, “I’m so excited to be here. I’m going to work 10 times harder because I think what it means to be a part of the MCU, what it means to be an Eternal, to be a part of this family, I know what we all need to do. We have all read the script. We have all know what the task ahead is and we are all going to be working very very hard. I’m training. I am thrilled. Thank you so much.”

GBN GIVEAWAY: Win Movie Tickets to 30th Anniversary Re-Release of “Glory” Starring Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman

(Courtesy Sony Pictures)

Denzel Washington earned his first Oscar® – as Best Supporting Actor – in the sweeping Civil War epic GLORY for his intense, passionate performance as Private Silas Trip, a formerly-enslaved man who volunteers to be part of the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first Union regiments fully comprised of black soldiers.

The film also stars Morgan Freeman, as Sergeant Major John Rawlins, Andre Braugher, Jihmi Kennedy and Matthew Broderick as Col. Robert Gould Shaw, who assumes command of the regiment – which by law could only be led by a white man.

Edward Zwick directed and Kevin Jarre wrote the screenplay based on the 1965 novel One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard and the 1973 book Lay This Laurel by Lincoln Kirstein and Richard Benson.

For the first time since its initial release in 1989GLORY is coming back to movie theaters nationwide for two days this month to mark the film’s 30th anniversary.

Fathom Events and the TCM Big Screen Classics series are presenting GLORY in more than 600 movie theaters on July 21 and July 24 only — 156 years after the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, the Union push on a Confederate stronghold that forms the film’s climax (and which began on July 18, 1863).

HOW TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS AT A THEATER NEAR YOU:

Submit the following to goodblacknewsgiveaways@yahoo.com by 8PM PST/11PM EST on July 17. Five winners will receive one pair of tickets each via email or cell phone by end of day July 19.

  1. FIRST & LAST NAME
  2. VALID EMAIL ADDRESS
  3. WHICH THEATER, TIME AND DATE OF SCREENING YOU’D LIKE TO ATTEND (AMC or Regal Theaters only – check the Fathom Events link for locations near you)
  4. CELL PHONE NUMBER* (*optional if you’d like delivery of tickets by QR code, otherwise just submitting the required valid email is enough) 

If you enter our giveaway contest, but are not among the five winners, do not despair – you can still see the movie! Tickets are on sale now at the Fathom Events website and at participating theater box offices.

WHO:

Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Sony Pictures

WHEN: 

Sunday, July 21, 2019 – 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. (local time)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 – 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (local time)

WHERE:

Tickets for Glory can be purchased at www.FathomEvents.com or participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 600 movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

Glory debuts on 4K Ultra HD disc and in 4K with HDR via participating digital platforms on July 30, 2019.

“True Justice” Documentary about Attorney Bryan Stevenson, Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, to Premiere on HBO

On June 26, HBO will premiere True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equalitya documentary about Alabama public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and best-selling author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Stevenson has advocated on behalf of the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned, and seeks daily to eradicate racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Told primarily in his own words, True Justice shares Stevenson’s experience with a criminal justice system that, he asserts, “treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent.” The burden of facing this system is explored in candid interviews with associates, close family members and clients.

The documentary chronicles Stevenson’s struggle to create greater fairness in the system and shows how racial injustice emerged, evolved and continues to threaten the country, challenging viewers to confront it.

According to hbo.com, the film covers Stevenson’s work in Alabama, birthplace of the civil rights movement and home to the Equal Justice Initiative, as well as the early influences that drove him to become an advocate for the poor and the incarcerated. As a young lawyer in the 1980s, he witnessed firsthand how courts unfairly applied the death penalty based on race and how the Supreme Court ultimately declared that racial bias in the administration of the death penalty was “inevitable.”

Tracing the trajectory of the Court since the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which ruled that African Americans are not citizens of the U.S., True Justice shows how the Court has long sanctioned inequality, oppression and violence. Illuminating the power of memory in cultural change, the film instills hope of a brighter American future through the insights of this pioneer.

The film also documents the monumental opening one year ago, on April 26, 2018, of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and its National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the country’s only lynching memorial, which is dedicated to the more than 4,400 African American victims of lynching.

These sites are part of the EJI’s nationwide effort to engage in a truth and reconciliation process around this country’s legacy of Native American genocide, slavery, lynching and racial segregation. As part of the campaign, Stevenson and the EJI are also working with communities to recognize lynching victims by collecting soil from lynching sites and erecting historical markers.

True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality is a co-production of HBO and Kunhardt Films; produced and directed by Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt; executive produced by Trey Ellis and Peter Kunhardt; edited and produced by Maya Mumma, ACE. For HBO: executive produced by Jacqueline Glover, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.

Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ Returns to Theaters to Celebrate 30th Anniversary on June 28

According to deadline.comUniversal Pictures plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s groundbreaking and still-topical film Do the Right Thing with a re-mastered 4K restoration that will hit theaters June 28.

In partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and the Criterion Collection, the re-release will include one-week engagements as well as single-day showtimes June 30 at select AMC, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, and Alamo Drafthouse theaters. There also will be 35mm screenings at select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and Brookline, MA.

“When Spike Lee’s revolutionary Do the Right Thing was released by Universal Pictures 30 years ago this June, it ignited a national conversation on race and race relations in America that challenged our assumptions about ourselves and our country and heralded the arrival of a generation-defining filmmaker,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution.

Set during one sweltering summer day on a block of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the film follows the interactions among neighborhood characters Mookie (Lee), Sal (Danny Aiello), Da Mayor (Ossie Davis), Mother Sister (Ruby Dee), Mister Señor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson), Tina (Rosie Perez), Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito), Jade (Joie Lee), Pino (John Turturro) and Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn). Tensions rise as demands for a black person’s photo be added to the Italians-only Wall of Fame at Sal’s Pizzeria create heated confrontations that ultimately explode into police-instigated violence.

Public Enemy recorded the film’s anthem “Fight The Power,” which remains an influential hip-hop classic to this day (see video below). Lee earned an Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for the film, and Aiello earned a Supporting Actor nod.  On July 23, the Criterion Collection also will celebrate the 30th anniversary with a Blu-ray/DVD release of a director-approved definitive edition featuring the new 4K restoration.

DOCUMENTARY: “Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project” Tells Story of Marion Stokes, Activist and Archivist Who Single-Handedly Preserved Over 30 Years of TV History

Marion Stokes privately recorded television twenty-four hours a day for over thirty years.

Stokes is the subject of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, a new documentary that highlights her work as an archivist, but paints a complex picture of a woman who was brushed off as an eccentric for most of her life. For thirty-plus years, multiple tapes (sometimes as many as eight) would record concurrently across multiple televisions as Stokes personally watched two monitors at once.

Former librarian Stokes, who became independently wealthy through technology and real estate investments, began casually recording television in 1977 and taped a variety of programs, but thought news was especially important.

In 1979 during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which coincided with the dawn of the 24-hour news cycle, Stokes began recording MSNBC, Fox, CNN, CNBC, and CSPAN around the clock by running as many as eight television recorders at a time. Marion single-handedly built an archive of network, local, and cable news from her Philadelphia home, one tape at a time, recording every major (and trivial) news event until the day she died.

The taping ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Stokes passed away from lung disease at the age of 83. In between, she recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today.

“She was interested in access to information, documenting media, making sure people had the information they needed to make good decisions,” says the film’s director, Matt Wolf.

Stokes was no stranger to television and its role in molding public opinion. An activist archivist, she had been a librarian with the Free Library of Philadelphia for nearly 20 years before being fired in the early 1960s, likely for her work as a Communist party organizer.

From 1968 to 1971, she had co-produced Input, (which itself was recently recovered and digitized) a Sunday-morning talk show airing on the local Philadelphia CBS affiliate, with John S. Stokes Jr., who would later become her husband.

Input brought together academics, community and religious leaders, activists, scientists, and artists to openly discuss social justice issues and other topics of the day. Marion also was engaged in civil rights issues, helping organize buses to the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, among other efforts.

“Our vision is really aligned with Marion’s,” says Roger Macdonald, director of the television archives at the Internet Archive. “It’s really bold and ambitious: universal access to all knowledge.” Marion’s son had contacted the Internet Archive when he was trying to find a home for her tapes in 2013.

Macdonald immediately seized the opportunity. Those tapes were soon donated to the Internet Archive and are still in the process of being organized and digitized.

To read more about Marion Stokes and Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (https://recorderfilm.com):

https://www.fastcompany.com/3022022/the-incredible-story-of-marion-stokes-who-single-handedly-taped-35-years-of-tv-news

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/marion-stokes-television-news-archive

https://theoutline.com/post/7370/recorder-documentary-marion-stokes-interview-matt-wolf?fbclid=IwAR3eFB6ld4rxYoKnFfEgR19qbBk76OAD1P_Ok2NcgQQeYylgacCKyoIBm0M&zd=3&zi=g25ve4g2

Upcoming screenings of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project:

Montclair Film Festival
May 8, 12

Maryland Film Festival
May 9, 10

SF DocFest
June 8, 10

MCA Chicago
June 21

Interview with Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project director Matt Wolf, which includes clip from film at 6min mark: