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Rick McCallum Exits Lucasfilm To Make Indies w/ David Oyelowo & On Sierra Leone Child Soldiers

2 December 2012 2:53 PM, PST

Since completing Red Tails, McCallum has relocated to Prague, his wife's native country, and he is now in development of a slate of smaller, independent films that more closely resemble the projects he was involved with prior to his association with Lucasfilm. "I have a Russian film about the Babi Yar Massacre in development that is being directed by Sergei Loznitsa. I am also working with Tomás Masín on a Czech story about two brothers who escaped Czechoslovakia during the Cold War while being chased by 28,000 Soviet soldiers in what is still the largest manhunt in history. I'm also working on a film with David Oyelowo and developing a film with Laurence Bowen »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Video Report On World Premiere Of Kenyan *Superhero* Drama 'Leo' In Nairobi

2 December 2012 2:09 PM, PST

Recapping... Directed by Jinna Mutune, the film is titled Leo, a film about a Kenyan boy who dreams of becoming a comic book superhero... Though the boy ends up realizing that there's more than one way to be a superhero. The film's website had this as an official synopsis: ... a charming and beguiling adult fairy-tale set in Nairobi, a Metropolitan City in Kenya that is a melting pot of East African culture, art, politics and commerce. It is a story about Maasai boy, raised in a low-income home, achieving his dream against all odds. Leo is a simple story that captures the essence of a child’s heart still open to all the posssibilities of achieving his »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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The Fugees' Pras Michel Suing Over Ownership Of Somali Pirates Doc

2 December 2012 1:02 PM, PST

Like most lawsuits this one gets somewhat complicated. So let me try to explain it in a clear and understandable way Earlier last week, rapper Pras Michel of The Fugees filed a lawsuit against documentary filmmaker Marshall Tyler, over the ownership of the documentary Paper Dreams, which Tyler made, about the infamous 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship. You'll remember that incident in which the captain of the ship, Richard Phillips, volunteered to surrender to the pirates in exchange for his crew. He was later rescued by Navy Seal snipers who killed the piates. The incident was recently made into a feature film by director Paul Greenglass (The Bourne »

- Sergio

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Adiff 2012: Reflections On Alí Allié's & Ruben Reyes' Thoughtful, Enlightening 'Garifuna In Peril' (Us Premiere Tonight!)

2 December 2012 11:45 AM, PST

The 20th annual African Diaspora International Film Festival (Adiff), here in New York City, is well underway, and continues through December 11th. We'll continue to bring you reactions to screenings, interviews with talent, and other events on the festival's schedule - like this one on Garifuna in Peril, a feature film produced and directed by Alí Allié and Ruben Reyes, making its USA Premiere at the African Diaspora International Film Festival, Today, December 2, at 5pm at Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 W. 120th Street. The title, Garifuna in Peril, is suggestive »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Weekend B.O. Nov. 30 - Dec. 2 (A Holdover Weekend)

2 December 2012 9:33 AM, PST

All this weekend’s top films are holdovers from the previous weeks, while Brad Pitt’s Killing Them Softly tanked, grossing just $7 million. To be honest, the film wasn’t expected to do well, and that the fact that the Weinstein Company kept changing the release date was sign that they had no confidence in the film, and likely had no idea how to market the it. Although it’s about gangsters, and there are some shootings and grisly violence, the film is really a political metaphor for America today - greed and capitalism with chain smoking, grubby, depressed, downbeat characters, which is not what people were expecting. That, no doubt, was »

- Sergio

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One S & A Reader's Take After Seeing 'Django Unchained'

2 December 2012 7:51 AM, PST

As I mentioned last week, media and award consideration screenings for Django Unchained start later this week; but there have already been a few advance screenings of the film for specially-invited audiences, one of whom is an La-based filmmaker whose work weve profiled on this site, and who is also a regular reader of S & A. He saw the film last night at a screening, with Quentin Tarantino present, and what he says I think is pretty interesting, making me even more excited (as if I wasn't already) to see the film; here you go: "I know how anticipated this film is for a lot of Shadow and Act readers...and so I had to share this with you. Just came from a screening of »

- Sergio

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'Walking Dead' Showrunner Teases Mid-Season Finale Episode + Promo (Spoilers Ahead!!)

1 December 2012 9:22 AM, PST

One thing we can be sure we'll see in tomorrow's mid-season finale of The Walking Dead is the intro to Chad Coleman as Tyreese in AMC's hit zombie series... just in time as Rick preps for a showdown with the Governor. But what else can fans expect in tomorrow night's episode? As the title of this post says Spoilers Ahead, so if you prefer to be surprised, you probably should stop reading now. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, posted yesterday, showrunner Glen Mazzara revealed some scoop on Sunday's mid-season finale. Of note are the following: - When asked whether Rick and The Governor will finally meet, Mazzara »

- Courtney

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TV News: Michael Boatman Replacing Duane Martin On ‘Instant Mom’ + Ashanti Joins 'Army Wives'

1 December 2012 7:56 AM, PST

First, Michael Boatman will replace Duane Martin, who was initially cast to star alongside Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tia Mowry in the Nick at Nite family comedy pilot Instant Mom. Creadted by Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, and written by Warren Bell and Jessica Butler, Instant Mom (which is based on the real lives of Bell and Butler) centers on: ... a 25-year-old party girl (Mowry) who trades in Cosmos for carpools when she marries an older man with kids. Boatman will play the character Martin was initially assigned to play - the older gentlemen with kids; Sheryl Lee Ralph will play Mowry's mother, and »

- Courtney

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Hannah Job Cast In BBC Three "Assisted-Suicide" Comedy 'Way To Go'

30 November 2012 5:32 PM, PST

Former Coming Of Age cast member Hannah Job was recently announced as a co-star of the upcoming "assisted-suicide" black comedy Way To Go. From the BBC's Media Centre: Created by Us-based comedy writer Bob Kushell, (The Simpsons, 3rd Rock From The Sun, Anger Management), Way To Go follows brothers Scott and Joey and their friend Cozzo. After Scott is moved by a terminally ill neighbour’s request to die - and at the same time faced with a predatory female employer, a split from his girlfriend, and a desperate life or death need for cash to pay off his brother Joey’s gambling debts - he and his best mate Cozzo stumble towards what they think is their only »

- Emmanuel Akitobi

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Comedy Sketch Web Series 'Last Laff' Premiering in Dec

30 November 2012 5:10 PM, PST

Chicago based filmmaker Maurice Dortch , who we last profiled Here about his short film Don't Bite The Apple last year, is the executive producer for a new comedy sketch web series Last Laff, which will premiere in December Dortch, who has teamed up with director and cinematographer Aksel Fauzi, calls his series a 'labor of love"  that's been in production since the beginning of the year. The first season will consist of eight episodes with a cast of some of Chicago's improvisational actors and comedians including Brian “Wildcat” Smith, Aaron “Chucho” Perez, Chris Redd, Mike Dobbyn, Sharonda Roberts, Tally Ray, Tiffany Renee »

- Sergio

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Coming Soon: 'Milli Vanilli' The Experimental Opera... aka 'Wow' (Details...)

30 November 2012 4:18 PM, PST

We almost skipped the below press release from Bric Arts | Media House in Brooklyn, when a closer read was encouraged, to reveal this, about midway through it: Having previously announced a Fireworks pilot project by Julian Crouch, Bric today announces additional recipients of Fireworks residencies for the program’s inaugural year: Fort Greene residents Joe Diebes, Christian Hawkey and David Levine, whose experimental opera Wow is inspired by the story of Milli Vanilli. That got our attention for what should be obvious reasons; an experimental opera titled Wow, inspired by the Milli Vanilli story.  Looking over Tambay's April post on the 50+ biopics that »

- Courtney

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Adiff 2012 Interview: Jimmy Jean-Louis Talks Playing Toussaint L'Ouverture + The Film Itself

30 November 2012 2:43 PM, PST

In consideration of Philippe Niang's much-anticipated 3-hour epic drama, Toussaint L'Ouverture, making its New York Premiere tomorrow night, December 1, as a centerpiece film at the ongoing African Diaspora International Film Festival, here's our interview with the film's star, Jimmy Jean-Louis from earlier this year - an interview that focused on the film specifically.  The film made its USA premiere at the Pan African Film Festival (Paff) in Los Angeles in January (where the actor was honored), and has been traveling the international film festival circuit since then, winning acclaim along the way, and New Yorkers will »

- Vanessa Martinez

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Nice! Julius Onah Tapped By J.J. Abrams To Direct Sci-Fi Thriller 'God Particle' For Paramount

30 November 2012 2:25 PM, PST

Great Look for Mr Julius Onah! This is pretty big! First, some back-story... Long-time readers of this blog, going way back to its early days 3 1/2 years ago, will remember Julius Onah's name on the very first list of S&A's Black Filmmakers to watch list in mid-2009. At the time, the Nigerian-born filmmaker was pursuing an Mfa in film at Nyu's Tisch School, and had been selected as a Dean’s Fellow; his short film, The Boundary, which starred Alexander Siddig (Syriana, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) was designated by Amnesty International as one of its “Movies That Matter,“ and was acquired by HBO; also at the time, he was working on »

- Courtney

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Sherri Saum Books 'Juicy Role' On ABC's 'Revenge'

30 November 2012 1:42 PM, PST

Oooh - just booked a juicy role on #Revenge on ABC. Hope I get some. Revenge that is. Words tweeted by actress Sherri Saum, obviously suggesting that she'll be appearing in the hit ABC Sunday night drama Revenge; although she doesn't share anything further, like what exactly this juicy role might be, whether its a guest-starring, or recurring role, when we can expect to see her in it, etc. Could she possible be linked in some way to Ashley Davenport (Ashley Madekwe's character)? We'll just have to wait to find out. We've reached out to her publicist and are waiting for a reply. This post will be updated once we receive one. You'll remember »

- Courtney

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Interview: Stana Roumillac, Star Of Acclaimed French-Guadalupe Drama 'Elza' (Opens This Week)

30 November 2012 1:07 PM, PST

Elza opens in a limited theatrical run this weekend, in NYC at Mist Harlem Cinemas; here's a repost of our interview with the film's star, done over the summer. French actress Stana Roumillac commanded the big screen in her leading feature film debut Elza. The 2011 French-Goudalupean production screened at the American Black Film Festival a little over a week ago (see my review of the superbly acted, touching tale Here). Roumillac was born in Guyana and grew up in Cayenne, where she attended a dance conservatory for 10 years. From a young age, she was passionate about modern dance and classical musical. She arrived in Paris at the age of 17, where she switched her »

- Vanessa Martinez

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50 Cent Developing New York-Based Drama Series Set In A Nightclub, For The Starz Network

30 November 2012 12:41 PM, PST

After recently canceling one acclaimed drama series in Boss, the Starz network is replenishing its original series slate by getting into the Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson business. Fiddy is said to be developing an hour-long drama series for the Starz network titled Power. Power will center on a New York nightclub owner "who skirts the line between legitimacy and criminality." Randall Emmett of Emmett/Furla will exec produce the project, alongside Jackson and Mark Canton (300). Courtney Kemp Agboh (writer and producer of The Good Wife) will write the script for Power, and will also serve as exec producer.  The collab is all part on an »

- Courtney

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Adiff 2012 - Philippe Niang's Epic 'Toussaint L'Ouverture' Makes Its NY Premiere; Got Tickets?

30 November 2012 12:10 PM, PST

Well, New York, you've been asking for it, and as the saying goes, as and you shall receive (some of the time); Philippe Niang's much-anticipated 3-hour epic drama, Toussaint L'Ouverture, that got the black blogosphere uber-excited when we first wrote about it over a year ago, will finally be making its New York Premiere tomorrow night, December 1, as a centerpiece film at the ongoing African Diaspora International Film Festival. The film made its USA premiere at the Pan African Film Festival (Paff) in Los Angeles in January this year, and has been traveling the international film festival circuit since then, winning acclaim along the way, and »

- Courtney

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TLC Will Follow The Lives Of Atlanta Preacher Wives In New Reality Series 'The Sisterhood' (Watch Preview)

30 November 2012 11:32 AM, PST

Atlanta is becoming a hot-bed for reality TV series apparently.  Here's another that's coming to you courtesy of TLC (not VH1 surprisingly), titled Sisterhood, which purports to offer a candid look in to the larger-than-life preacher wives (aka First Ladies) who work to ensure that their families and churches run smoothly; an honest, behind-the-scenes look into the struggles, triumphs and unique experiences that shape these bold women as they ditch their Sunday hats and morph into the dynamic and influential figures they have become and aim to be. The series will premiere on Tuesday, January 1, at 9pm et/pt. Meet the First Ladies below, and then watch a »

- Courtney

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Preview 'Days Of Cannibalism' (Mixed Fiction/Doc Project on China/Africa Trade Relations)

30 November 2012 11:19 AM, PST

Selected from a record 399 entries, 25 new film projects will receive grants from Rotterdam's Iffr fund for script development, digital production, post-production, distribution or workshops. Among the lucky 25 selected is Days of Cannibalism by the South African filmmaker Teboho Edkins, which will be supported for script development. I couldn't find a proper synopsis for it, but it's said that, in the project, Edkins plans to combine a mix of fiction and documentary-style filmmaking to tell the Days of Cannibalism story, which will focus on the "increasingly more important trade relations between China and African countries," a topic »

- Courtney

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Margaret Mead Film Fest: Acclaimed S. African Doc 'Meanwhile in Mamelodi' Screens In NYC Tonight

30 November 2012 10:21 AM, PST

Taking place at the American Museum of Natural History, the Margaret Mead Film Festival kicked off yesterday, with a full slate of films that tell stories centered on under-represented groups of people, including this title, which we first profiled much earlier this year. The documentary titled, Meanwhile in Mamelodi, directed by Benjamin Kahlmeyer and produced by Boris Frank, centers on a poor South African family struggling to make ends meet, while the raucous festivities of the 2010 World Cup are taking place near their town, bringing hope and joy to their community. Here's a synopsis from the festival's website: Set against the raucous backdrop of the 2010 »

- Courtney

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