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Black Films At 2012 Sundance Film Festival

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Black Films At 2012 Sundance Film Festival
Posted by Wilson Morales

January 17, 2012

From Thursday, January 19, 2012, to Sunday, January 29, 2012 in Park City, Utah, the 2012 Sundance Film Festival will showcase a number of films hoping to land distribution deals for theatrical release.

There are about 21 films that feature and are directed by black talent and among the selected films include Ava DuVernay‘s second feature, ‘Middle of Nowhere.’ In 2011, she came to the festival with her debut feature, ‘I Will Follow.’

Spike Lee is returning to the platform that launched his career over 20 years with ‘Red Hook Summer.’ Featuring a host of newcomers, the film centers on a young Atlanta boy spends his summer in Brooklyn with his grandfather, who he’s never seen before.

Last year’s highlighted film included Dee Rees’ ‘Pariah,’ and Alrick Brown’s Kinyarwanda.

Here’s a list of selected films worth seeing

Premieres


2 Days in New York (Director: Julie Delpy, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau)
Cast: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Kate Burton, Dylan Baker, Vincent Gallo, Malinda Williams, Alexia Landeau

This is Julie Delpy’s sequel to her 2007 romantic dramedy ‘2 Days In Paris.’

Marion has broken up with Jack (played by Adam Goldberg in ’2 Days in Paris’) and now lives in New York with their child. She now lives in a stylish loft in Manhattan with her new boyfriend Mingus (played by Chris Rock), who’s a popular radio talk show host. When two days are remaining until Marion’s photo-exhibit her French family, consisting of her father, sister Rose and sister’s boyfriend (Marion’s ex-boyfriend) comes to visit. All they bring with them, except for love of course, is chaos, sausages and a disdain for Americans.

Arbitrage / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nicholas Jarecki)
Cast: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Eva Green, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Aubrey Graham, Nate Parker

A hedge-fund magnate is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire before the depths of his fraud are revealed. An unexpected, bloody error forces him to turn to the most unlikely corner for help.

Celeste and Jesse Forever / U.S.A. (Director: Lee Toland Krieger, Screenwriters: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack)
Cast: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts.

Celeste and Jesse met in high school, married young, and at 30, decide to get divorced but remain best friends while pursuing other relationships.

Red Hook Summer / U.S.A. (Director: Spike Lee, Screenwriters: James McBride, Spike Lee)
Cast: Clarke Peters, Nate Parker, Toni Lysaith, Turron Kofi Alleyne, Jules Brown, Samantha Ivers, Limary Agosto, Heather Simms, Colman Domingo, Daniel Breaker, and Kalon Jackson

When his mom deposits him at the Red Hook housing project in Brooklyn to spend the summer with the grandfather he’s never met, young Flik may as well have landed on Mars. Fresh from his cushy life in Atlanta, he’s bored and friendless, and his strict grandfather, Enoch, a firebrand preacher, is bent on getting him to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior. Only Chazz, the feisty girl from church, provides a diversion from the drudgery. As hot summer simmers and Sunday mornings brim with Enoch’s operatic sermons, things turn anything but dull as people’s conflicting agendas collide.

The kicker to this story is that Lee will be reprising his role as Mookie, the character he played over twenty years ago in his most famous film, 1989′s ‘ Do the Right Thing.’


The Words / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal) CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Ben Barnes, John Hannah, Nora Arnezeder, and J.K. Simmons

The story follows a famous author (Cooper) reading from his first and most acclaimed novel at a university reading. The novel written many years ago launched his career, it suspiciously tells the story of a younger writer who, at the peak of his literary success, discovers the price he must pay for having stolen another man’s work in order to have launched his own career.

Documentary Premieres:


About Face / U.S.A. (Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders)

Portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s lush new film is an intimate view of the women whose images have defined our sense of beauty over the past five decades. An uncensored look at many of the biggest names in modeling, About Face reveals the stories behind the magazine covers displaying these multicultural pioneers. Each woman is candidly interviewed in the studio and shares her experiences, ideas on longevity, and philosophy of life in the fashion industry. Elegant archival footage and interviews with designer Calvin Klein and agency head Eileen Ford round out this absorbing chronicle.

An exploration of beauty and aging through the stories of supermodels Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, and more reassess and redefine beauty as their careers progress.

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap / United Kingdom (Director: Ice-T, Co-Director: Andy Baybutt)

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap is a feature length performance documentary film about the runaway juggernaut that is Rap music. At the wheel of this unstoppable beast is the film’s director and interviewer Ice-T. Ice-T takes us on a deeply personal journey to uncover how this music of the street has grown to dominate the world. Along the way Ice-T meets some of the remarkable superstars of Rap, from Eminem to Dr Dre, to Snoop Dogg and Kanye West. He exposes the roots and history of Rap and then, through meeting most of it’s most famous protagonists studies the living mechanism of the music to reveal The Art Of Rap. This film features unique performances from it’s entire cast and does not use any archive materia

Untitled Paul Simon Project / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Berlinger)

Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the incredible journey of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash he sparked for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa, designed to end Apartheid.

US Dramatic Competition


Beasts of the Southern Wild / U.S.A. (Director: Benh Zeitlin, Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar)
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry

Waters gonna rise up, wild animals gonna rerun from the grave, and everything south of the levee is goin’ under, in this tale of a six year old named Hushpuppy, who lives with her daddy at the edge of the world.

Filly Brown / U.S.A. (Directors: Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos, Screenwriter: Youssef Delara)
Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Gina Rodriguez, Jenni Rivera, Edward James Olmos

A Hip Hop-driven drama about a Mexican girl straight from LA’s beating heart, Echo Park who rises to fame and consciousness as she copes with the incarceration of her mother through music. Fusing rapid fire verse with soulful grooves, Filly delivers rhymes that cut straight through the pop culture sludge and speak directly to the people.

LUV / U.S.A. (Director: Sheldon Candis, Screenwriters: Sheldon Candis, Justin Wilson)
Cast: Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Michael Kenneth William, Meagan Good

Woody, an adorable 11-year-old boy awaiting the return of his missing mother, lives with his grandmother and Uncle Vincent, who is fresh off an eight-year prison stint. For Woody, the confident, charismatic Vincent is a titan among men. When Vincent notices that Woody could learn a thing or two about becoming a man, he brings him along as he ventures forth to open his own business. But when legit life fails to support Vincent’s vision, and his old Baltimore crime boss, Mr. Fish, haunts him, the pace of little Woody’s manhood lesson accelerates.



Middle Of Nowhere
/ U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ava DuVernay)
Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Toussaint, Edwina Findley, Sharon Lawrence, Dondre Whitfield, Maya Gilbert, Troy Curvey, Yvette Cason

What happens when love takes you places you never thought you would go? When her husband, Derek (Omari Hardwick), is sentenced to eight years in a California prison, Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi) drops out of medical school to maintain her marriage and focus on ensuring Derek’s survival in his violent new environment. Driven by love, loyalty, and hope, Ruby learns to sustain the shame, separation, guilt, and grief that a prison wife must bear. Her new life challenges her to the very core of her identity, and her turbulent path propels her in new, often frightening directions of self-discovery.

US Documentary Competition


The House I Live In / U.S.A. (Director: Eugene Jarecki)

Eugene Jarecki’s seminal film Why We Fight dissected the underbelly of the American war machine. Now, with scalpel-like precision, Jarecki turns his lens on a less visible war—one that is costing more lives, destroying more families, and quickly becoming a scourge on the soul of American society. In the past 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and destroyed impoverished communities at home and abroad. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong, and what can be done?

Slavery By Another Name / U.S.A. (Director: Sam Pollard)

As slavery came to an end with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, a new system of involuntary servitude took its place with shocking force, brutalizing, terrorizing and ultimately circumscribing the lives of hundreds of thousands of African Americans well into the 20th century.

World Cinema Documentary


The Ambassador / Denmark (Director: Mads Brügger)

What happens when a very white European man buys his way into being a diplomat in one of Central Africa’s most failed nations? Welcome to the bizarre and hidden world of African diplomacy, where gin and tonics flow and diamond hustlers and corrupt politicians run free. North American Premiere

Searching for Sugar Man / Sweden, United Kingdom (Director: Malik Bendjelloul)

Rodriguez was the greatest ‘70s US rock icon who never was. Hailed as the greatest recording artist of his generation he disappeared into oblivion – rising again from the ashes in a completely different context many miles away. World Premiere.

Spotlight

Wuthering Heights / United Kingdom (Director: Andrea Arnold, Screenwriters: Andrea Arnold, Olivia Hetreed)
Cast: Kaya Scodelario, James Howson, Solomon Glave, Shannon Beer, Steve Evets. U.S. Premiere

A freshly conceived retelling of Emily Bronte’s classic novel about Heathcliff and Cathy, two teenagers whose passionate love for each other creates a storm of vengeance.

New Frontier


An Oversimplification of Her Beauty / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Terence Nance)
Cast: Terence Nance, Namik Minter, Chanelle Pearson. World Premiere

You’ve just arrived home after a bad day. You’re broke and lonely, even though you live in the biggest and busiest city in America. You do, however, have one cause for mild optimism: you seem to have captured the attention of an intriguing young lady. You’ve rushed home to clean your apartment before she comes over. In your haste, you see that you’ve missed a call. There’s a voice mail; she tells you that she won’t be seeing you tonight.

With arresting insight, vulnerability, and a delightful sense of humor, Terence Nance’s explosively creative debut feature, AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY, documents the relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman (Namik Minter) as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. Utilizing a tapestry of live action and various styles of animation, Terence explores the fantasies, emotions, and memories that race through his mind during a singular moment in time.


US Narrative Short Films


Fishing Without Nets/ U.S.A. (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey)

A story of pirates in Somalia, told from the perspective of the pirates themselves.

Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke (Director: Jillian Mayer, Screenwriter: Lucas Leyva)

A modern Miami adaptation of the 1962 French short film La Jetee, the film recounts Luke’s (Uncle Luke, legendary rapper from the hip-hop group 2 Live Crew) rise to fame as he changes the face of hip-hop and fights for first amendment rights- and later as he ushers Miami into a golden era of peace and prosperity as Mayor.

International Animated Shorts

Robots of Brixton / United Kingdom (Director: Kibwe Tavares)

The trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment.


  1. I look forward to viewing all the films especially the PBS film “Slavery by another Name”‘ just that short clip had me heartbroken. There are many unspoken experiences African Americans have yet to share.

  2. I’m looking forward to Beasts of the Southern Wild so much. I have read a lot about this movie and pretty sure lot of people will be surprised how much this movie is “different” from that they have probably expected. Also some of the other movies looks pretty interesting.