New Voices in Black Cinema 2013 Preview

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New Voices in Black Cinema 2013 Preview
Posted by Wilson Morales

February 14, 2013

From Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18, BAMcinématek presents New Voices in Black Cinema, the third annual festival presented by the Fort Greene-based ActNow Foundation. Reflecting the wide spectrum of views and themes within the African diasporan communities in Brooklyn and beyond, the series features 10 New York premieres and special guests at nearly every screening. Home to ActNow programs since 2009, BAMcinématek continues this partnership by providing a showcase for new and established voices in black independent cinema.

Since its inception, ActNow Foundation has presented stories about race, love, family, cultural differences, self-empowerment, the corporate world, and the toils and aspirations of the working, middle, and upper classes, with a declared mission statement to “promote and preserve independent films and theater that reflect the infinite range of African diaspora images across the globe.” In addition to New Voices in Black Cinema at BAMcinématek, ActNow Foundation curates the Short Film Collective and is currently working on theater productions for 2013.

Film Descriptions

18 Ius Soli (2011) 50min New York premiere!


Directed by Fred Kuwornu
Italian law denies citizenship to young people born in Italy to immigrant parents. This documentary examines the injustice faced by 18 girls and boys born in Italy to parents from Africa, Asia, and South America.
with Beale St. Blues (2012) 25min – Directed by Kecia Benson.
A controversial documentary about struggling blues musicians on Beale Street in Memphis—the home of classic blues clubs and players.
Fri, Feb 15 at 1:30pm Q&A with Fred Kuwornu and Kecia Benson

alaskaLand (2012) 76min New York premiere!


Directed by Chinonye Chukwu, starring Alex Ubokudom, Chioma Dunkley.
An Alaska-raised Nigerian named Chukwuma struggles to balance his cultural heritage with the pressures of the world around him. After a family tragedy leads to a two-year estrangement from his younger sister, the siblings reconnect in their hometown, finding new friction yet inching closer to reconciliation.
with 4-1-9 (2012) 15min – Directed by Alexander Etseyatse.
Two British-Nigerian brothers are involved in an illegal family business. One brother wants to end it while the other wants to continue on.
Sun, Feb 17 at 4pm Q&A with Chinonye Chukwu and Alexander Etseyatse

Aujourd’hui (Tey) (2012) 86min New York premiere!


Directed by Alain Gomis, starring Saul Williams, Djolof Mbengue.
Today is the last day of Satché’s life. Though he is strong and in good health, he accepts his imminent death as he walks through the streets of Senegal, taking in the sites of his past as if he were looking at them for the last time: his parents’ house, his first love, the friends of his youth, and his wife and children. Acclaimed actor, musician, and poet Saul Williams stars in this stirring, reflective drama.
Sat, Feb 16 at 6pm Q&A with Saul Williams followed by a performance in BAMcafé

Big Words (2012) 97min New York premiere!


Directed by Neil Drumming, starring Dorian Missick, Gbenga Akinnagbe.
On the eve of President Obama’s history-making election, three Brooklyn friends, once members of a promising hip-hop trio, cross paths once again and discover that some things never change. Former frontman John, once known as Big Words, is now a struggling IT guy who raps only to himself. James is a publicist living with his boyfriend, far removed from the days when he rhymed about getting girls. DJ Malik still spins records, but he wants the old days back. Together again, the guys reckon with the past and dreams deferred.
Fri, Feb 15 at 7pm Q&A with Neil Drumming and producer Matt Smith

The Central Park Five (2012) 119min


Directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon.
This devastating new documentary explores the grave miscarriage of justice in the aftermath of what Mayor Ed Koch named “the crime of the century.” Following the rape and assault of a white jogger in Central Park in 1989, five young black and Latino men were arrested amid a wave of media sensationalism that all but cemented the public’s perception of their guilt. Legendary documentarian Ken Burns, along with his daughter Sarah Burns and her husband David McMahon, revisits the long road to their exoneration, taking a careful and timely look of a city seething with racial tensions.
Sun, Feb 17 at 1pm Q&A

The Fade (2012) 75min New York premiere!


Directed by Andy Mundy-Castle.
This intimate documentary captures the lives of four Afro-descendent barbers in Ghana, Jamaica, the US, and the UK over the course of seven days. Interweaving their colorful stories, the film examines the cultural disparities among their locations.
Fri, Feb 15 at 4pm

Four (2012) 74min


Directed by Joshua Sanchez, starring Wendell Pierce, Aja Naomi King, Emory Cohen.
A steamy July 4th evening brings four people together in twin tales of seduction and conflicted desire. Joe, a black middle-aged married man, is out on an Internet date with June, a white teenage boy, while Abigayle, Joe’s precocious daughter, is out with a hot, wisecracking Latino basketball player named Dexter. As they get to know each other intimately, their realities are tested and the outcome is bracing.
with Breaking Night (2012) 10min – Directed by Yolonda Ross.
A girl flees a dire situation with her boyfriend at home and has an experience that transforms her life forever.
Sun, Feb 17 at 7pm Q&A with Joshua Sanchez and Emory Cohen

FunkJazz Kafé: Diary of a Decade (2012) 134min New York premiere!


Directed by Jason Orr.
Atlanta’s underground music scene comes alive in this vibrant documentary narrated by the innovators of an important—and in some cases overlooked—era in black culture. Spanning the late 1980s to the early 2000s, the film chronicles the evolution of the FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival, in the process examining the roots of soul music and the challenges it faces in the mainstream music industry. The film includes special appearances by Erykah Badu, Cee Lo Green, Chuck D, Cornel West, Kevin Powell, Roy Ayers, Doug E. Fresh, and more.
Sat, Feb 16 at 9:15pm Q&A with Jason Orr

Gimme the Loot (2012) 81min


Directed by Adam Leon, starring Ty Hickson, Tashiana Washington.
Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are the ultimate graffiti writers. When a rival gang buffs their latest masterpiece, they hatch a spectacular plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic New York City landmark—but need $500 to pull it off.
Mon, Feb 18 at 7pm Q&A with Adam Leon and cast

High Chicago (2011) 98min New York premiere!


Directed by Alfons Adetuyi, starring Colin Salmon, Karen LeBlanc.
A windswept mining town serves as the backdrop for this dramatic tale of one man’s risky leap into the big time. Forty-two-year-old Sam (the charismatic Salmon, in a commanding performance), a hard-drinking father of three, an ex-Navy man, an ex-miner, and a soon-to-be ex-husband, starts gambling full-time to bankroll his crazy plan to open a drive-in theater in Africa.
Sat, Feb 16 at 3pm Q&A with Alfons Adetuyi

The Kill Hole (2011) 92min


Directed by Mischa Webley, starring Chadwick Boseman, Billy Zane, Tory Kittles.
A troubled Iraq War veteran is forced to pursue one of his own in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. Along the way, the two must confront a war crime that has long haunted them both.
Fri, Feb 15 at 9:45pm

No Homo (2012) 78min New York premiere!


Directed by Goddey Asemota.
Lance and Dame are aspiring fashion designers who sell custom shirts on the streets of SoHo. Because of their love of fashion the two are constantly questioned about their sexuality. As a gag they make a shirt with the logo “NO HOMO” on the front and sell them at their stand, which leads to their unlikely meteoric rise in the fashion world.
with Harriet Returns (2012) 9min – Directed by Marquis Smalls.
Harriet Tubman comes back to life to free young black men from the “mental slavery” of their sagging pants and carefree use of the N-word. But she meets her match in two young New York City rappers.
Mon, Feb 18 at 9:45pm Q&A with Goddey Asemota and Marquis Smalls

Stones in the Sun (2012) 93min


Directed by Patricia Benoit, starring Edwidge Danticat, Thierry Saintine, Patricia Rhinvil.
Amid political violence in Haiti, a young couple, two sisters, and a father and son are transported to New York, where they must confront the truths of their interlocked pasts. Widely acclaimed author Edwidge Danticat (Krik? Krak!) gives a moving performance as a teacher drawn into the social upheaval that surrounds her.
Mon, Feb 18 at 1pm

The Undershepherd (2012) 100min New York premiere!


Directed by Russ Parr, starring Isaiah Washington, Lamman Rucker, Malinda Williams and Vanessa Bell Calloway.
When the head preacher of his church plans his retirement, mild-mannered LC (Washington) is overcome by his access to power and money earned through his ministry, and slowly transforms into a ruthless business man.
Sun, Feb 17 at 9:45pm

The United States of Hoodoo (2012) 100min New York premiere!


Directed by Oliver Hardt.
Shaking up traditional ways of thinking about race, religion, and rationality, this documentary explores the influence of African religion on American popular culture. Darius James, Ishmael Reed, Danny Simmons, and Nick Cave are among the musicians, artists, miracle healers, gumbo cooks, and Mississippi blues men depicted in this examination of American culture, whose cultural diversity, allure, and vitality has depended on a host of ethnic influences.
Sat, Feb 16 at 12pm

Short Film Showcase: Unbreakable
From awkward encounters to mystical ones and from back-alley life and death negotiations to family dynamics that put one’s morality to the test, these short films capture the reality of families bonded by blood but not much else, those that consist of friends who have each other’s backs, and those we pass on the streets in our own neighborhoods every day. Featuring award-winning shorts Barbasol by Ralph Scott, Record/Play by Jesse Atlas, Carlos Seaton’s Karim

Featuring award-winning shorts and new far from up-and-coming filmmaker, including:

BARBASOL by Ralph Scott
RECORD/PLAY by Jesse Atlas
SAUDADE by Evita Castine
FORT GREENE by Jordan Thomas
KARIM by Carl Seaton
EVERYTHING ABSOLUTELY by Natale Paul & Terence Nance
NIGGA…NIGGA…NIGGA! by Michael Blevins
MAKE ME A DOORWAY by Jesse Russell Brooks


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