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Interview: Reggie Rock Bythewood Talks 'Gun Hill,' 'Beyond the Lights,' Career, and Much More

1 hour ago

On July 2, Reggie Rock Bythewood's long-gestating crime drama "Gun Hill" had its Bet premiere, with plans of turning the two-hour pilot into a television series. Named for Bythewood's childhood neighborhood of Gun Hill in the Bronx, NY, and inspired by his own estranged relationship with his father, the film stars Larenz Tate as a pair of twin brothers on opposite sides of the law. When one twin is killed, the other assumes his identity as a DEA agent in order to escape his troubled life as an ex-convict. Emayatzy Corinealdi and Aisha Hinds co-star in the film, which re-airs on Saturday, July 12 at 8pm Eastern on Bet. In a candid and in-depth conversation with »

- Jai Tiggett

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Afrinolly Selects 8 Film Directors to Make the Cinema4Change Short Films

4 hours ago

Earlier in June, Afrinolly opened a call to film makers to pitch for the Cinema4Change films. Films which were a product of a screen writers workshop held in April where over 20 top notch screen writers in Nigeria were expose to research works that would guide in the development of screenplays that would not only highlight social change issues but would also entertain and educate the public. After five days of pitch sessions for the over 150 film makers who applied and pruning by the panel of Judges; Tunde Kelani, Femi Odugbemi and Jane Maduegbuna, Afrinolly is excited to announce the selected film makers who would directing the first set of Cinema4Change short films. Over the next few »

- Afrinolly

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Cinematographer Cybel Martin Will Make Feature Directing Debut w/ Vampire Story 'Black as Night'

5 hours ago

Cybel Martin - whose instructive and entertaining words of wisdom on all things cinematography, that many of you have read and appreciate on this blog - will be making her directorial with "Black As Night," described as an urban vampire story centered around a 15 year old girl living in the South Bronx. Penned by screenwriter Sherman Payne, whose thriller script "Furlough" was sold to David Linde’s Lava Bear Films and producer Brian Witten ("Chernobyl Diaries"), last year, the story's synopsis reads:Furlough "Girls from the South Bronx never obsessed over 'Twilight.' If they did, maybe 15 year-old Shawna would have a better idea how to »

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Nzingha Stewart will Direct Jill Scott, Eve & Regina Hall in Rom-Com 'With This Ring'

7 hours ago

Lifetime (that fledgling black TV network that doesn't call itself a black TV network) has announced its production of yet another original movie centered around the lives of black characters.  This time it's a rom-com titled "With This Ring," which will star Jill Scott, Eve and Regina Hall, in a tale of 3 single best friends who vow to get themselves hitched within a year, after they attend the lavish New Year's Eve wedding of a 4th friend.  Nzingha Stewart will direct the Sony Pictures Television-produced project from her own script, which boasts Tracey Edmonds, Sheila Ducksworth and Gabrielle Union as executive »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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'Facts of Life' Stars Kim Fields, Lisa Whelchel Reunite In Trailer for Dramedy 'For Better or For Worse'

7 hours ago

Here's a trailer for the Hallmark Channel Original Movie World Premiere that sees Kim Fields reunite with her "Facts of Life" co-star, Lisa Whelchel, in a drama titled "For Better or For Worse," which, I learned today,c The film - an adaptation of the bestselling novel "For Better or For Worse" by Diann Hunt - was shot earlier this year in Vancouver, Canada.  Antonio Cupo co-stars alongside Whelchel and Fields in what is described as a heartwarming romantic comedy about a woman who learns that perhaps there is such a thing as second chances when facing the pleasures and pains of love. »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Review: Ron Howard's Jay-z Documentary 'Made in America' Tries to Be Too Many Things & Doesn't Always Succeed

8 hours ago

"Made in America" has all of the ingredients of a train wreck—its director, Ron Howard, reportedly had only 10 days of preparation takes the helm of this mammoth project executive produced and starring an equally mammoth personae: Jay Z.  This documentary suffers an identity crisis: it poses as a backstage pass to a turnt-up music festival but it’s really a short biopic about Jay-z and his ascent in Hip Hop as an elder statesman. This film shouldn’t be new to readers of Shadow & Act given that its been around the block a couple of times, making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and in 2012 airing on Showtime chronicling an urban »

- Abdul Ali

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Channel 4 (UK) Commissions 6-Part Series Looking at "Fiercely Debated" Immigration Issue

8 hours ago

The UK's Channel 4 has commissioned a brand new 6-part (each an hour long) observational documentary series which will capture life on a street in Southampton, where the mix of residents has been transformed over time and continues to evolve as a result of immigration.  Cameras will follow the lives of some of the residents of Derby Road in the Bevois district of the city for the series, which currently has the working title "Immigration Street." It is an ethnically diverse street where the majority of residents were not born in the UK. The series will explore how the changing population is shaping the community, relationships, friendships and everyday life for those who »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Writer/Film Programmer Nadia Denton and Nigerian Filmmakers in Conversation At BFI Southbank In Sept

9 hours ago

Nadia Denton, film programmer and the author of the book "The Black British Filmmaker’s Guide of Success" has a new title coming out this fall. The author says that "The Nigerian Filmmakers’s Guide to Success: Beyond Nollywood" is designed to be a reference manual that will pull together industry guidance and best practices for African filmmakers. To celebrate and announce the release of her new book, Ms. Denton, along with several prominent Nigerian filmmakers, will have a public discussion about the industry and key issues at the British Film Institute, Southbank in London on Saturday, September 20th starting at 11Am. The event is part of the »

- Sergio

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Review: 'Life Itself' - Based on Roger Ebert’s Memoirs - Feels Like 3 Films Rolled Into 1

9 hours ago

"Life Itself," based on Roger Ebert’s 2011 memoirs, feels like three movies rolled into one. The first movie consists of a generic tableau of the early life of Roger Ebert, with sporadic moments of real insight into the man’s persona. I say sporadic because, throughout the first third of the movie, I’m reticent to say, I found myself somewhat… bored. Sure, it was interesting to learn that Mr. Ebert was a recovering alcoholic. As a fan, I was surprised to learn this for the first time, watching the film. It was also interesting to learn how he came to work for the Chicago Sun-Times, what his friends thought of his taste in women, how he came to write the screenplay »

- Michael Jones

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First-Look Preview of 'Sleepy Hollow' Season 2 + Producer Promises More Back-story on Abbie

10 hours ago

Get excited "Sleepy Hollow" fans! Just 2 months to go until your favorite Fox hit drama returns - September 22 at 9pm. Those of you who'll be attending Comic-Con this month (in about 2 weeks) will likely be treated to some sneak peeks from the upcoming new season, as well as time with the series' cast, who will probably all be there live, in person. As for what you can expect for season 2, Executive producer Mark Goffman recently shared the following: "We're going to be digging into Abbie's past a lot more, and getting to know more about her family and her heritage, which is a big part of the show this season. We're also going to be filling out the town even more, so we'll »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Review: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Delivers

10 hours ago

A sequel that expands on the story ideas and emotional resonance of its predecessor, without jogging in place for two hours and change, is hard to come by in this day and age in Hollywood, but “Dawn of The Planet of The Apes” delivers in a big way. It retains the knockout visual effects and weighty sci-fi allegory that the almost 60-year-old franchise demands, while continuing the story of “Rise of The Planet of The Apes” in about as organic a way as we could have hoped for. And it's all anchored by an incredible motion captured performance from Andy Serkis. It may end as a warming up for better things to come, but the ride there is powerful enough to enjoy without the safety of a closure »

- Dylan Green

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French-Martinican Rapper-Turned-Actor Joeystarr is a Mysterious Agent in Busy 1st Trailer for Thriller 'Colt 45'

10 July 2014 4:57 PM, PDT

None of the movies he's starred in have been formerly released here in the USA (or, at least, English-subtitled versions of them for non-French speakers), but I'm hoping that, eventually, one of them will be picked up by an American distributor and released in these United States, because I'm really curious to finally see what this guy can do on screen, given just how active he appears to be in French cinema, especially in what look like rather high profile, mostly action/thriller projects - likely a rarity for a French-Martinican rapper-turned-actor in France. Up next for the busy Joeystarr is a crime thriller titled "Colt 45," from Belgian director Fabrice Du Welz, »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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The History, Significance & Changing Landscape of an African American Resort Community in Stanley Nelson's 'A Place Of Our Own'

10 July 2014 3:38 PM, PDT

"A Place of Our Own," by Stanley Nelson, is a film which some of you may already be familiar with as it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the description reads: “In this cinematic love song to place and identity, director Stanley Nelson explores the rarely seen world of the black middle class and the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, where African Americans have vacationed for generations. Using wonderfully evocative photography and landscape cinematography, Nelson lets us into a side of black identity rarely incorporated into the larger lore of Americana. Through intimate interviews in »

- Wendy Okoi-Obuli

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'On the Run Tour: Beyonce and Jay Z' to Premiere on HBO in September

10 July 2014 3:00 PM, PDT

The next best thing to actually being there for it, I suppose... "On The Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay-z," featuring the superstars in their first collaborative tour – and their first HBO concert event – will debut in September, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming.  Taping September 12 and 13 at Stade de France in Paris on the only international leg of their current tour, the special will feature the superstars performing more than 40 songs. "This is a major musical event that belongs on HBO," noted Lombardo. "It’s going to be a night to remember." Although 17-time Grammy winner Beyoncé and »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis Project Breaks its $325,000 Crowdfunding Goal w/ 10 Hours Left. Time to Make a Movie!

10 July 2014 2:30 PM, PDT

With just 10 hours left until the end of his Indiegogo crowdfunder to help finance "Miles Ahead" - his long-in-gestation Miles Davis project - the campaign has surpassed its $325,000 goal! Its current total sits at $336,781, as of the time of this post. But, with 10 hours to go, you can still contribute (here); I'm sure Don Cheadle wouldn't mind.  Not quite down to the wire, but close enough! I have yet to contribute to a single "celebrity" crowdfunding campaign (I've given a lot to the *smaller* non-celeb indie projects); but this is one that I opted to contribute to, if only because it's a project I really want to see on the screen, and I dig the talent »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Disrupting Lazy Racism in the Media

10 July 2014 1:30 PM, PDT

As a Black person who writes about race, I have many fruitful conversations with readers. I believe that American culture shortchanges its citizens, in that, there are few healthy venues for conversations about race. Americans are hungry for a dialogue about race. Of course, there are various reasons for wanting the conversation. However, at this point, it should be clear to everyone that the media does not want a conversation about racism. Do Americans want a conversation about racism? I do. Over the July 4th weekend, 82 people were shot in Chicago. 82. That’s 82 human beings with 82 families. Chicago has a public health crisis. I will not repeat the common steps to rail about other mass »

- Tanya Steele

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Yaya DaCosta Alafia Mimics Whitney Houston's 1987 Album Cover in First-Look Photo From Biopic

10 July 2014 12:43 PM, PDT

Here's your first look (above) at Yaya DaCosta Alafia as Whitney Houston in Angela Bassett's upcoming directorial debut for the Lifetime network, courtesy of EW. Obviously, it's a mimic of the album cover of the late singer's hit 1987 studio album (her 2nd) "Whitney" (see the original on the left). DaCosta is joined in front of the camera by Arlen Escarpeta (as Bobby Brown) and Yolonda Ross (as Whitney Houston's longtime good friend and assistant, who was also rumored to be her lesbian lover - Robyn Crawford). The telepic will chronicle the headline-making partnership between the iconic singer, actress, producer and model, and singer, »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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"Will Hollywood Let Negroes Make Love?" - A Trip Down Memory Lane; But What's Really Changed?

10 July 2014 11:49 AM, PDT

On a terribly slow day (week)... a flashback. In the "How Much Has Really Changed in Hollywood in 50 Years" category...  Here’s a 1955 cover of Tan magazine, featuring the lovely Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte, from the movie, "Carmen Jones." Tan magazine targeted specifically African American women and was published by Johnson Publishing, the same folks who brought us Ebony and Jet magazines. The main headline on the cover, “Will Hollywood Let Negroes Make Love?” is still a somewhat relevant question today, is it not, considering the fact that conversations on that exact »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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Akosua Adoma Owusu's 'Black Sunshine' is a Berlinale World Cinema Fund Selection

10 July 2014 10:23 AM, PDT

The jury of the World Cinema Fund (Wcf) - an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Goethe-Institut - has announced that it's selected 4 new film projects for production funding, and one work for distribution funding. The Wcf jury made their selection based on 126 submissions from a total of 43 countries, awarding funding amounting to 145,000 euros (close to $200,000). The 4 projects include Akosua Adoma Owusu's "Black Sunshine," which received funding totaling 40,000 euros ($or about $55,000).  Here's a description of the feature-length experimental film - a project previously »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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'Extant' Drew 9.4 Million Viewers Last Night. Did You Watch? Your Reactions?

10 July 2014 9:14 AM, PDT

9.424 million viewers - that's what CBS' new Steven Spielberg-produced futuristic thriller "Extant," which stars Halle Berry, drew last night, for its premiere. Expectations were apparently for a higher figure, as analyst comparisons to ratings for CBS' last big summer series debut, "Under The Dome," abound. "Dome" drew 13.14 million viewers a summer ago. Then again, one could argue that, even in just a single year, our TV viewing habits have changed (and continue to change), affecting how much live TV watching we all do (you can thank binge-watching for some of that shift; it's certainly had an effect on me).  Still, 9.424 million »

- Tambay A. Obenson

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