Tag: race

Ava DuVernay’s Mass Incarceration Documentary “13th” Opens to Standing Ovation at New York Film Festival

New York Film Festival 2016 opening
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay (GREGORY PACE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Gordon Cox via Variety.com

Ava DuVernay’s “13th” opened the 54th New York Film Festival with a jolt of topical urgency, shaking up tradition as the first documentary to kick off the festival and addressing head-on the issue of mass incarceration and its historical roots. The crowd at the premiere screening rose to its feet when the credits rolled — and then did it a couple more times after that: once when the lights came up on the filmmakers, activists and academics involved in the film, and again when DuVernay appeared for a brief talkback after the movie.

Heightened security measures, a reaction to the Sept. 17 bombing in Chelsea, made the opening the first in recent memory to involve bomb-sniffing dogs and security wands. Famous faces including Oprah WinfreyCommon and Don Lemon turned out for the film, which confronts issues at the forefront of the current political conversation: race, inequality, the fallout of slavery, police brutality and Black Lives Matter.

“This moment, this Black Lives Matter moment, it’s not a moment. It’s a movement,” said DuVernay on the red carpet before the film’s world premiere (in words she would later echo when she addressed the crowd in the theater). “People thought, ‘Oh, will it last?’ Well, it has lasted. It’s changed things. It’s forced candidates to talk about things that they did not talk about in previous elections. It’s opened people’s minds. It’s changed art-making. It’s changed music. People are seeing things through a different filter now.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/new-york-film-festival-2016-opening-13th-ava-duvernay-1201875308/

Adidas Celebrates Jesse Owens with Black History Month Footwear Collection

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 8.59.53 PM
Jesse Owens Collection by Adidas

Inspired by the triumph of an American sports and cultural hero, adidas celebrates Jesse Owens with its Black History Month footwear collection.

The facts are simple, Jesse Owens was the most famous track and field athlete of all time, and in 1950 when the Associated Press conducted a poll to determine the greatest track and field athlete of the first half of the twentieth century, the results didn’t even come close – Owens by a landslide.

Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens
Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens

Raised in Ohio with Alabama roots, it was in the span of 45 minutes on one single afternoon on May 25, 1935, at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan that Owens electrified the sports world with the greatest one-man, one-day performance the sport had ever known – breaking three world records and tying a fourth.

One year later, at the 1936 Berlin summer games, Owens became a groundbreaking athlete and symbol for social justice and equality after a historic performance where he became the first American track & field athlete to win four gold medals in a single games, all while under tremendous global tension.

Owens accomplished the feat in track spikes hand-crafted by adidas founder Adi Dassler, who carried the glove leather spikes from his workshop in Herzogenaurach, a Bavarian village just 300 miles to the South. Owens’ athletic performance, wearing the spikes of adidas, marked one of the most significant sports and cultural moments of the 20th century.

“The Owens family is pleased to partner with adidas for Black History Month with a commemorative basketball shoe. On the feet of athletes who compete in the spirit of Jesse’s historic accomplishments, these shoes encompass the significance of one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.”

Concurrently, the Focus Features Jesse Owens biopic “Race” will hit theaters on February 19.

Continue reading “Adidas Celebrates Jesse Owens with Black History Month Footwear Collection”

Jesse Owens Biopic Hires British Actor John Boyega As Its Leading Man

John Boyega
British Actor John Boyega to play Jesse Owens in biopic “Race.” (Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

According to Variety.com, British actor John Boyega will portray Olympic athlete Jesse Owens in the biopic Race, with shooting set to start in May in Berlin and Montreal. Stephen Hopkins (Judgment Night, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers) who will direct from a script by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel, said, “John Boyega is definitely one of the most exciting young actors working today and I am thrilled to have him on board to play the iconic role of Jesse Owens in Race.” 

The 21-year-old Boyega stars in Malik Vitthal’s inner-city drama Imperial Dreams, which premiered Jan. 17 at the Sundance Film Festival. He debuted in feature films in 2011′s Attack the Block and appeared in 2012′s Half of a Yellow Sun opposite Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor 

Race will focus on how Owens, the son of an Alabama sharecropper, shattered Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by winning a record four gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump and the 400-meter relay. Owens’ victories are considered among the greatest atlhetic feats of all time.  Hitler had insisted Jews and Blacks not be allowed to participate in the games, but relented when threatened with a boycott. He shook hands only with the German victors on the first day of competition and then skipped all further medal presentations.

Shooting locations include the actual Berlin Olympic stadium where Owens won the four gold medals. Producers are aiming for a release in the spring of next year.  Race is supported by the Jesse Owens Foundation, the Jesse Owens Trust and the Luminary Group, and has been been in development for the past two years.  Race is a different project from the Disney biopic about Owens, which has Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) attached to direct.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

University of Michigan Launches the “Understanding Race” Project

University-Michigan-logoThe University of Michigan has announced a four-month initiative called the Understanding Race Project. From January through April, the university will feature public exhibits, lectures, performances, symposia, and other events examining the role of race in American society. Among the lecturers who will be visiting campus to participate in the project are Angela Davis, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. During the spring semester, 130 courses dealing with racial issues will be offered students in a wide variety of disciplines.

“The Understanding Race Project is as broad and varied as the cultural and ethnic groups that constitute and sometimes divide the human family here and around the globe,” explains Amy Harris, co-chair of the project and director of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. She states that the goal of the project is “to learn more about how social constructs like race have defined substantial portions of our history and continue to impact our lives today.”

article via jbhe.com