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December 2008
A GOOD DAY TO BE BLACK AND SEXY | An Interview with Director Dennis Dortch

An Interview with Director Dennis Dortch
by Wilson Morales

December 1, 2008

Coming out in limited theaters on December 5 is a film that won applause at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was able to pick up a distribution deal from Magnolia Pictures. The film is called ‘A Good Day To Be Black and Sexy’ and is directed by Dennis Dortch.

The film charts focuses on themes of sexuality (reciprocity, infidelity), and cross cultural relationships (amongst others), among blacks in Los Angeles. The film's story is told through six different vignettes, which all come together in one day.

In speaking with Dortch, he talks about the concept of the film and giving something different for an audience to watch.

Why did you name the film ‘A Good Day To Be Black and Sexy’?

Dennis Dortch: I wanted something catchy and I also wanted to update the term from the 60’s, ‘Black is Beautiful’.

What do you tell people what the film is about?

DD: I tell them that it is a mixture of Black love and sexuality. It has a little bit of this and a little bit of that, like a mixed tape.

Why did you set up the vignettes in the order that it is? What are people getting out of this as they watch it?

DD: I didn’t go into thinking what should come next. Like I mentioned before, I put the vignettes in like a mixed tape. I used to deejay as a kid and put lots of mixed tapes all the time. I have ‘Reciprocity’ as an intro. It’s not a very big story but a small moment. In a normal film, it would be like 35 seconds. When I thought about what would be first and what would be last, that was always first, ‘Reciprocity’ because of the intro.

The sequence for the rest of the film is up in the air. I wrote in a particular sequence because by the time I finished shooting one story, things had changed. I had a screened some time back in which I saw some people sleeping and not paying attention, so I switched up the order. I left the American boyfriend vignette in the end because people seemed to respond to than more than the others. “Reprise”, the girl with the afro was going to play after the credits and on the soundtrack, but I stuck in the film as the interlude of the stories.

What was the feeling like when you took this to Sundance?

DD: Quite frankly, it was the best experience of my entire life. I don’t think I can really top it to tell you the truth. It was a validation to be there; and when people come out, most White people, it’s interesting that they are more curious about us than we are about ourselves. Also, when questions were being asked, race comes up and I’m getting in faces saying ‘It’s a good day to be Black and sexy’, people can identify no matter what is going on. Sundance is a microcosm of the world and what happens there doesn’t mean it will be everywhere. I had a great time there. It changed my career and put it on a different track.

Were there any changes you made from its showing at Sundance to when it will be released in December?

DD: Yes. Themusic heard in the film at Sundance is not the music you will hear when the film hits theaters. The cut of the film is a bit shorter. In making the film slimmer, I think it plays better.

How did assemble the cast for the film?

DD: My casting director, Adetoro Makinde, put this cast together.

What should anyone see the film?

DD: Definitely because it’s something they haven’t seen before. It’s a fresh approach to Black people and it really depends on what your perspective is in your life. I think seeing honest relationships between Black people is a reason you should see this film.



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