Pariah NY Premiere

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Pariah NY Premiere
by Wilson Morales

December 2, 2011

Blackfilm.com attended the Special Screening of ‘Pariah,’ held at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on December 1, 2011 in New York City.

Hosted by Wilson Cruz, Warrington Hudlin, Spike Lee, Heather Matarazzo, Kerry Washington, Emil Wilbekin, and George C. Wolfe, the cast and filmmakers (actresses Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, writer/director Dee Rees and producer Nekisa Cooper) were all in attendance.

A world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, the contemporary drama Pariah is the feature-length expansion of writer/director Dee Rees’ award-winning 2007 short film Pariah. Spike Lee is among the feature’s executive producers. At Sundance, cinematographer Bradford Young was honored with the [U.S. Dramatic Competition] Excellence in Cinematography Award.

Dee Rees recently won Breakthrough Director at the 2011 Gotham Independent Awards, while Adepero Oduye was nominated for Best Female Lead for the 2011 Spirit Awards. The film is also nominated for the John Cassavetes Award. On Dec. 1, The National Board of Review gave the film its Freedom of Expression Award.

Adepero Oduye, who had earlier starred in the short film, portrays Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents Audrey and Arthur (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister Sharonda (Sahra Mellesse) in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is a good student at her local high school. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), Alike is especially eager to find a girlfriend. At home, her parents’ marriage is strained and there is further tension in the household whenever Alike’s development becomes a topic of discussion. Pressed by her mother into making the acquaintance of a colleague’s daughter, Bina (Aasha Davis), Alike finds Bina to be unexpectedly refreshing to socialize with. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity – sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

‘Pariah’ opens in NY, LA, and SF Dec. 28 ; and in other cities in January.


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