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Review: 'Elza' - Touching Tale On Caribbean's Complex Racial Prejudices, Family & Forgiveness (Opens This Week)

30 November 2012 8:40 AM, PST

Another Diasporic film opening in limited release this week, at the new Mist Harlem Cinemas in NYC; a film that we also highly recommend, so if you're in NYC, see it while you can, before it leaves. Elza (Le Bonheur d’Elza “Elza’s Happiness”), the first narrative film by Mariette Montpierre and the first directing effort ever by a Guadeloupean, was inspired by Montpierre’s personal accounts of searching for her biological father back in her native West Indies. Elza, living in Paris with her mother Bernadette (played by director Montpierre) is celebrating completing her Master’s degree. But the successful young woman (played by the lovely »

- Vanessa Martinez

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Sundance 2013: First Look At Danai Gurira In Andrew Dosunmu's 'Ma'George' ('Mother Of George')

30 November 2012 8:22 AM, PST

Continuing with Sundance 2013 first looks, here's a first glance at Andrew Dosunmu's first post-Restless City project, Ma'George (or Mother Of George), which will make its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next January, 2013. The talent alone that's involved in Ma'George, both in front of and behing the camera, should excite you: there's cinematographer extraordinaire Bradford Young, who also shot Andrew's Restless CityDee ReesPariah, and Ava DuVernay's Middle Of Nowhere. And then there's the film's starring cast: Danai Gurira plays the lead character »

- Courtney

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Spike Lee & Rik Cordero Team Up For 6-Episode Basketball Doc 'The World Is Watching'

30 November 2012 8:02 AM, PST

It's a new online basketball docu-series titled The World Is Watching, narrated by Spike Lee, and directed by Rik Cordero.  In short, the series features prominent teenage athletes competing in a New York City Basketball tournament called Battle of the Boroughs. It features the best up and coming basketball players in New York City including rising star Maurice Harkless, currently playing for the Orlando Magic. As the players push their bodies to the limit, they must also live up to the expectations of their coaches, their families And their boroughs. The series is 2 episodes in thus far, although we just found out about it. Episodes 1 & 2 are embedded below: »

- Courtney

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Review: Conquering 'Otelo Burning' Finds Joy And Freedom Amidst Turmoil (Opens This Week)

30 November 2012 7:37 AM, PST

It opens this week in a limited theatrical run at the new Mist Harlem Cinemas in NYC, and gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from S&A, meaning you really Should see it if you're in New York, while it's available. Sublime in its rich ocean scenery, where you will indulge in for most of the film, the majestically photographed Otelo Burning is actually set in the South African province of Lamontville in the late 1980’s, around the time when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. But the refreshingly unconventional and gripping film isn’t a political narrative; that serves as more of a backdrop. Written by Sara Blecher, James Whyle and The Cast Workshop, and »

- Vanessa Martinez

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Sundance 2013: First Look Images At Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond In 'Blue Caprice'

30 November 2012 7:18 AM, PST

And thus begins our looks at films of note that will make their debuts at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival next January. And as he did last year, Tambay should be providing us with first-hand coverage of films and talents, which I'm sure will include this highly-anticipated one... Isaiah Washington stars as John Allen, and Tequan Richmond, best known for TV's Everybody Hates Chris, as Lee Boyd Malvo, in the appropriately titled Blue Caprice, directed by Alexandre Moors - the New York-based film, music-video and commercial director. You've likely seen some of his work, as he's directed videos for the likes »

- Courtney

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Sophie Okonedo, David Harewood & Others Lend Voices To BBC Radio 4/Radio 4 Extra Cast Of 'Neverwhere'

30 November 2012 6:36 AM, PST

Sophie Okonedo and David Harewood's will likely be the more recognizable names of the announced cast for the upcoming BBC Radio 4/Radio 4 Extra adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry's popular BBC sci-fi mini-series Neverwhere. In addition to lead actor James McAvoy, Okonedo and Harewood will be joined by fellow heavy-hitters Benedict Cumberbatch, George Harris, Don Gilet, and Abdul Salis. Neverwhere's story revolves around Londoner Richard Mayhew, whose life as he knows it ends swiftly -- and somewhat unexpectedly -- when he tries to help a hapless stranger and immediately ceases to exist in the mortal world, joining the citizens of London Below. Co-creator »

- Emmanuel Akitobi

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Indiegogo Campaign For 'Savage' - A Film Out To Challenge The 'White Savior Complex'

29 November 2012 8:36 PM, PST

When I first saw the trailer for the new short film by filmmaker Wendy James called Savage, the first thing that came to mind was "Oh No! Not another white savior helps poor black people movie!'" In fact I told the producer, Jasmyne Pope, that I think that our readers (including myself) are pretty sick of these films, but I was informed that, this was not the intention of James' film at all, but actually the opposite. It is a film that sets out to criticize and challenge that tired, old film cliche. As James says herself, her film "takes a critical look at the ''white savior complex'' which we all know is alive and well in American cinema. »

- Sergio

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First Look At Chad Coleman As Tyreese In Promo For 'The Walking Dead' Mid-Season Finale

29 November 2012 5:16 PM, PST

Expectations are high for Chad Coleman's debut as Tyreese on AMC's hit zombie drama series The Walking Dead. One of the comic book's prominent survivors, Tyreese's entrance is rumored to happen in this season’s 8th episode, which is also the series' mid-season finale, before it takes a holiday break until early next year, when it returns. And based on the below promo for episode 8, which airs this Sunday, it looks like Tyreese will indeed be making his premiere appearance on the show. Our friends at Comic Book Resources found this new Latin American TV spot for The Walking Dead, which shows Coleman as Tyreese, »

- Courtney

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Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment Developing New Crime Dramas For Cinemax, Fox

29 November 2012 4:31 PM, PST

Continuing to expand his Overbrook Entertainment empire, Will Smith has reportedly teamed up with Black List writer Chad St. John to develop 2 new drama series for Cinemax and Fox. The first is an hour-long drama titled Kingpin, which will center on a crafty mid-level drug runner who's trying to exit the business, but is forced back into it (via blackmail) by a dirty CIA agent with plans of his own - essentially, to make him a puppet kingpin. The second is described as a cat-and-mouse drama, titled Watchlist, which will follow 2 ex-Special Ops pals who sacrifice themselves to come to the rescue of a 3r former teammate, who has been framed for a political assassination by »

- Courtney

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A Tupac/James Brown Collab + Rick Ross & John Legend On 'Django Unchained' Soundtrack

29 November 2012 3:18 PM, PST

All the details in the press release that follows; but here are the vitals: - This is the first time that Quentin Tarantino has worked with musicians to create original music for a film soundtrack; - The soundtrack will hit stores and digital retailers on Tuesday, December 18, which is a week before the film opens. - The soundtrack contains music from people like John Legend, Rick Ross, Jamie Foxx, a Tupac/James Brown collab, of course Ennio Morricone (who scored his share of hit Spaghetti Westerns back in the day), and others.   - You can pre-order your copy of the soundtrack now Here. Everything else below... Beverly Hills, CA - November »

- Courtney

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Whoa! Show Creator Says He's Penned 1st Draft Of A Script For A 'Misfits' Movie (Will Include Past & Present Characters)

29 November 2012 2:24 PM, PST

This should excite fans of the series, which has crossed over, across the pond, to attract and continue to grow its fan-based here in the USA, as more folks discover the series. Speaking in a podcast interview with Panel Borders earlier this week, the show's creator, Howard Overman, talked about E4's hit superhero drama series (although not your typical Hollywood superheroe series) about a group of teens assigned to do community service, who also happen to be living with superpowers. In the 33-minute interview, he talks about the genesis of the show, writing episodes that engage with other genres such as time travel and "zombie noir," the challenges in having to »

- Courtney

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2013 Sundance Film Fest Unveils Films In Spotlight, Midnight, New Frontier Categories

29 November 2012 1:38 PM, PST

Well, here's the rest of next year's lineup. At a quick glance, I didn't see any titles or filmmakers that immediately struck me as African diasporic, but we Will be going through the entire lineup (yesterday's announcement and today's) very closely to make sure we get everything that's worth mentioning on this site. For now, here's the full list, which you can browse through yourself. Spotlight Regardless of where these films have played throughout the world, the Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love. Fill the Void / Israel (Director and screenwriter: Rama Burshtein) — A devout 18-year-old Israeli is pressured to marry »

- Courtney

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Hey New York! Us Premiere Of 'Ring di Alarm!' + Screening Of 'Stones In The Sun' This Saturday!

29 November 2012 1:18 PM, PST

Tambay spoke very highly of the film he saw at the last caribBeing event a few weeks ago (you might recall his praise for Med Hondo's *forgotten* West Indies Here), so it's with pleasure that I alert you to another upcoming caribBeing event, happening this Saturday, December 1, at TriBeCa Cinemas. Two highly-anticipated films we've profiled on S&A will screen at the 3rd Annual caribBeing event - an event that's subtitled West Indian Edition: 1- Stones In The Sun (or Woch Nan Soley), the USA/Haiti production, which made its world premiere at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in the World Narrative section. Written and directed by »

- Courtney

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Acclaimed Nigerian Hit Drama 'Ijé' ('The Journey') Will Be Released In North America On 12/4

29 November 2012 12:41 PM, PST

This is good news! The film, which stars one of Nigeria's most popular actresses - Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Ekeinde, together in a film for the first time - was first released in Nigeria in 2010, to box office success. It played the international film festival circuit (including a few right here in the USA) that same year; and, 2 years later, will finally see a North American commercial release on December 4 (next week Tuesday) via VOD merchants like Amazon and iTunes. Details from the press release we received... Directed and produced by Nigerian-born Chineze Anyaene, the acclaimed drama, Ijé (The Journey), is the story of two sisters who »

- Courtney

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Marianne Jean-Baptiste Joins Tom Cruise In WB's Time Loop Thriller 'All You Need Is Kill'

29 November 2012 12:06 PM, PST

S&A fave actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste has joined Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Doug Liman's All You Need Is Kill for Warner Bros (from a script penned by Dante Harper),which centers on a soldier (Cruise) fighting in a war with aliens, who finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, though he becomes better skilled along the way. Jean-Baptiste will play a scientist named Dr. Whittle. I'm getting a Source Code kind of vibe from it - and in that film, Jeffrey Wright also played a scientist - a mad scientist. Principal photography is underway in London, with Erwin Stoff, Tom Lassally and Jason »

- Courtney

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What's Wrong With Being Black And Chasing Your Hollywood Dream? (Survey)

29 November 2012 11:36 AM, PST

As a writer, but also a big fan of this site, I take time to read through the comments from readers as much as I can, to get a sense of what general perceptions on whatever a post is about. And I'm always taken aback when I read comments that belittle, or look down on actors and/or filmmakers especially, who are chasing the proverbial "Hollywood Dream," as if there's something antithetical about being black And wanting to work within the Hollywood studio system. Is there? I was reminded of the below video clip (posted previously on this site) of a very frank Sam Greenlee (The Spook Who Sat By The Door) dishing on the state of what we call "black »

- Courtney

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S&A 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Blu-Ray Giveaway (Enter Now To Win!)

29 November 2012 10:54 AM, PST

A film that really doesn't need much of an introduction on this site, at this point, given just how much coverage it's received.  Benh Zeitlin's feature film debut, the multiple award-nominated And winning Beasts Of The Southern Wild (Tambay's review Here), which stars Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry.  Fox Searchlight released the film on June 29, 2012, en route to becoming one of the better performing (at the box office) indies of 2012, so many of you folks likely got to see it in theaters. For those that didn't, or those who'd like to own it on Blu-ray, you'll be able to in less »

- Courtney

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While We Wait For 'Southland' To Return, Regina King Will Head To 'The Big Bang Theory'

29 November 2012 10:28 AM, PST

While we anxiously wait for the new season of TNT's critically-acclaimed cop drama, Southland, to premiere next February, one of that show's stars, Regina King, will guest-star in an episode of CBS's comedy hit, The Big Bang Theory, playing the director of employee relations at the university where Jim Parsons' character works, who will "have the unique pleasure of questioning Sheldon after the theoretical physicist lands in hot water following an uncomfortable conversation with his sexy assistant, Alex (Margo Harshman)," says THR. Apparently, the gues-starring role (which will happen in a January episode) could become a recurring one. The Big Bang »

- Courtney

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Russell Simmons Will Be Honored With Producers Guild of America's Visionary Award

29 November 2012 10:02 AM, PST

Announced today, Russell Simmons will receive the Producers Guild of America's Visionary Award, which will presented at the 24th annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on January 26, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Simmons is being recognized for his work as a film and television producer who "breaks down barriers," and who "provides opportunities to up-and-coming talent." “Throughout his career, Russell has accomplished the kinds of things that only a true visionary can... He has seamlessly bridged the worlds of hip-hop music and filmed entertainment through poetry, comedy and music, offering viewers and music fans alike »

- Courtney

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Actress Toni Trucks Talks To S&A About 'Made In Jersey,' 'Ruby Sparks' & 'Twilight'

29 November 2012 9:28 AM, PST

This year has been amazing for actress Toni Trucks! In 2012 alone, she has starred in Ruby Sparks, alongside Academy award winner Annette Bening, and Antonio Banderas, cast as a new vampire in the Twilight franchise, and most recently she stars as Cyndi Vega in CBS’s Made in Jersey.* Toni’s career floodgates have officially opened, but it took years to get to her overnight success. After her education at University of Michigan’s department of Musical Theater and in London, she began her career in regional theater in New York, Washington, DC, and Baltimore. Soon after, she officially began her TV career as a series regular on Showtime’s Barbershop. She »

- Masha Dowell

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