Tag: African-American filmmakers

21st Annual African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase to Feature Gina Prince-Bythewood & Michael Schultz

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(Hollywood, CA) – The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) hosts its 21st Annual African American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase January 16-18, 2015 at Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California 90038.

Presenting 52 short films, youth films, documentaries and animated shorts, featuring over 45 Filmmakers from all over the country, Q&A after selected blocks of films, and an evening with famed director Michael Schultz and special surprise guest filmmakers.

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On Friday, January 16, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Opening Night Reception, BHERC will host a conversation with Schultz as it presents the best BHERC independent short filmmakers of 2014.

Schultz, an alumni of Princeton University, the Negro Ensemble Company, and an inductee into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, is best known for his direction of “Cooley High,” “Car Wash” and “Which Way Is Up?”, and most recently “Woman Thou Art Loosed.”  Some of his episodic television direction includes “Arrow,” “Single Ladies” and “Black-ish” to name a few.

Gina Prince-Bythewood (Writer/Producer/Director) wrote and directed the widely-acclaimed feature film “Love & Basketball,”  which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Prince-Bythewood won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film.

She followed that success with the HBO film “Disappearing Acts.”  In 2008, she wrote and directed the celebrated adaptation of the best-selling novel, “The Secret Life of Bees.” The all-star cast included Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Paul Bettany, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys. The film won two People’s Choice Awards and two NAACP Image Awards.gina prince-bythewood

Her third feature, “Beyond the Lights,” was released on Nov. 14, 2014. The love story set in the music world, stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver and Danny Glover. It received rave reviews and landed on a number of top critics Best of 2014 lists.

Prince-Bythewood studied at UCLA Film School, where she received the Gene Reynolds Scholarship for Directing and the Ray Stark Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate.  Upon her graduation, she was hired as a writer on the television series “A Different World.”  She continued to write and produce for network television on series such as “Felicity,” “South Central,” and “Sweet Justice”  before making the transition to directing.

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Spike Lee Film Retrospective Coming to Brooklyn in June

Spike Lee is bringing it back to where it all began. BAMcinématek in Brooklyn, New York, will host a retrospective of the homegrown auteur’s films in a series titled By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective. The program will run for twelve days, from June 29-July 10, and showcase Lee’s classic works and even some of his rarely-seen films.

BAM’s series will even include a screening of Lee’s least-seen film, his NYU Master’s thesis Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. The filmmaker’s most popular film, Do the Right Thing, will be the closing night film and will be attended by Lee and the cast.

Tickets for the full program are scheduled to go on sale soon, but passes for Do the Right Thing are available now for museum members.  Lee is a true American auteur whose films defined a generation and made Brooklyn a mecca for artists. Fans will surely relish this rare opportunity to see his (almost) complete body of work.

article by Evelyn Diaz via BET.com

‘The Butler’ Serves Up Box-Office Success at No. 1, Earns $25 Million

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The butler did it.  Despite a clutch of new films in theaters this weekend, Lee Daniels’ The Butler topped them all, serving up $25 million, according to studio estimates.  The victory came as a surprise to some analysts, who expected summer’s latest superhero flick, Kick-Ass 2, to whip the competition.  But Butler trounced the newcomers among critics, and connected solidly with fans. About 73% of reviewers recommended the movie, while it scored an 81% approval rating among moviegoers, says survey site Rottentomatoes.com. The movie earned an “A” among audiences, says pollsters CinemaScore.

The Forest Whitaker drama also benefited from canny timing, says Box Office Mojo’s Ray Subers, who notes that similar August dramas including Julie & JuliaEat Pray Love and The Help all enjoyed August debuts above $20 million.  “One of The Butler‘s biggest advantages is its very strong release date,” Subers says. “After a few months of big-budget, male-skewing blockbuster fare, female-skewing adult dramas have consistently done good business” at summer’s close.

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“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” Gets New Posters Following Title Change

The Weinstein Co. has unveiled the first posters for Lee Daniels’ The Butler, four days after it was forced to change the title from The Butler.  Both posters show a white-gloved Forest Whitaker along with the new title (the poster above evoking the famous photo from the 1968 Olympics of Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the black power salute during their medal ceremony).  TWC is releasing the film on Aug. 16.  The Motion Pictures Assn. of America (MPAA) ruled Friday that TWC could keep The Butler”as part of the title, but would have to change its marketing materials and pay $400,000 in fines for violating a July 2 finding that the use of The Butler as the title had violated MPAA rules because Warner Bros. owns rights to The Butler.

Lee-Daniels-The-Butler-poster__130723170234-275x308The ruling also required that, should TWC use Lee Daniels’ The Butler as the title, the “Lee Daniels” part of title had to be 75% the size of “The Butler.”  Lee Daniels’ The Butler is centered on African-American butler Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House during eight presidencies throughout the civil rights era. The film also stars Oprah Winfrey.  TWC’s fine of $25,000 a day, dating back to July 2, is based on violating the initial ruling. The fine will increase to $50,000 a day if the studio fails to issue new digital materials (trailers, TV ads) by Thursday and new print materials by Aug. 2.

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

2013: A Breakout Year for Black Films

“FRUITVALE STATION” Ariana Neal and Michael B. Jordan star in a film based on the 2009 killing of a young man in Oakland, Calif. (Cait Adkins/Weinstein Company)

LOS ANGELES — Musical. Romance. Epic history. Social drama. Christmas comedy. After years of complaint and self-criticism about the shortage of prominent movies by and about black Americans, film companies are poised to release an extraordinary cluster of them across an array of genres in the last five months of 2013.

At least 10 new films will be released, including several awards contenders, from both independent and major distributors, like the Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight and Universal Pictures. Even some of those who made this year’s movies have been caught by surprise.

“You tell me!” said the director and screenwriter Lee Daniels, when asked how so many black-driven films had materialized at once. His historical drama “The Butler” — based on a real-life White House butler who served eight presidents — is to be released by Weinstein on Aug. 16. “I’m working in my own bubble, I come up for air, and there they are,” Mr. Daniels said.

Black filmmakers say the wave of 2013 releases was built in large part on the creativity that has flourished on the independent-film circuit, which has become a laboratory of sorts for more prominent African-American-themed productions. Writers and directors have been sharpening their skills on indie films the last several years while waiting for big distributors to regain interest.

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