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For its tenth consecutive year, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night” will return in conjunction with the 2017 NBA Finals. Kevin Hart, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Holland, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Jamie Foxx and Billy Crystal are set to appear as guests. The special edition episodes will air during primetime each night of the NBA Finals, beginning on June 1. “Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night” specials will air at 8 p.m. Et, and following the NBA game on the West Coast on ABC.
Sharon Lawrence (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Shameless”), Alimi Ballard (“The Catch”), and Margot Bingham (“Boardwalk Empire”) will join the cast of Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s critically-acclaimed series “Queen Sugar” for the show’s second season. Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust,” “The Rosa Parks Story »
- Emily Mae Czachor
Netflix has announced the list of films that will be available to stream in June. The list includes new never-before-seen original films, as well as documentaries, comedies, animated titles and some classic movies.
1. “The Sixth Sense” (available June 1)
2. “Saving Banksy” (available June 2)
The documentary follows a New York-based art collector as he attempts to save the street work of graffiti artist Banksy. The film features interviews with some of the top names in the street art and graffiti world, including Ben Eine, Risk, Revok, Niels “Shoe” Meulman, Blek Le Rat, Anthony Lister, Doze Green, Hera, and Glen E. Friedman.
3. “Shimmer Lake” (available June 9)
The Netflix original drama follows a local sheriff as he attempts to solve the mystery »
- Yoselin Acevedo
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- Nicholas Bell
After the dust has settled, the album still stands tall.
Just a few days after Prince left us, Beyoncé dropped her masterpiece upon the world. With Lemonade, she not only made a new high bar for herself musically, but artistically as well. When it was revealed on April, 23rd 2016, for many this was not just the release as a new album, but “as a near-religious experience.” Yet, now a year later when the dust has settled, Lemonade received minimal critical acclaim for its achievements as music or a film. It lost the Emmy to a live musical. It lost the Grammy to a safe choice. Just what is the significance of Lemonade? Was it truly a landmark achievement?
First, let’s start with a little background. There is truly no better way to describe how Lemonade was released than to say it was unleashed. On the evening of the 23rd, Beyoncé »
- Max Covill
I suppose there are a few black people who have yet to see Julie Dash’s landmark 1991 film “Daughters of the Dust”; and if there are, I just haven’t met them yet. A film that can be legitimately called one… Continue Reading → »
- Sergio Mims
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook)
The Handmaiden is pure cinema — a tender, moving, utterly believable love story. It’s also a tense, unsettling, erotic masterpiece. There’s a palpable exhilaration that comes from watching this latest film from Park Chan-wook. From its four central performances and twisty script to the cinematography of Chung Chung-hoon and feverish, haunting score by Cho Young-wuk, The Handmaiden is crafted to take your breath away. »
- The Film Stage
As the 1991 film that inspired Beyoncé heads to Blu-ray, its meditative take on the nature of the past and the future feels as vibrant and necessary as ever
It’s now widely known Beyoncé’s Lemonade drew very heavily on the visuals of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust and was instrumental in helping to bring the 1991 film back into the forefront of culture. But the original, which has been remastered in luscious 4K and re-released on Blu-Ray this month, fares remarkably well when compared to its visual album disciple.
Related: Black films matter – how African American cinema fought back against Hollywood
Continue reading »
- Carvell Wallace
New York is undergoing a renaissance for independent movie theaters, with newcomers like Metrograph and the Alamo Drafthouse joining stalwarts like Film Forum, Bam and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in making New York one of the preeminent American cities for cinephiles. Now the scene is about to accommodate one more newcomer — although in some ways, this one’s been around for a while.
Strictly speaking, the Quad Cinema won’t be the newest multi-screen theater on the block when it opens its doors April 14. In fact, it’ll be the oldest. The first multiplex in the city when it opened in 1972, the Quad catered to passionate audiences for decades before slowly declining in recent years due to disrepair and a decline in programming quality linked to an increased number of four-walled screenings.
- Andrew Lapin
Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.
At the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina – former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions – struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots. Cohen Media Group is proud to present the 25th anniversary restoration of director Julie Dash’s landmark film Daughters of the Dust. »
- The Film Stage
The Inaugural Women’s Media Summit
Guest Post by Maria Giese
On March 31, 2017, 114 women gathered in Provincetown, Massachusetts for the inaugural Women’s Media Summit, a three-day think-tank forum designed to solve gender inequity in U.S. entertainment media. The event was produced by veteran film producer Christine Walker, and was co-chaired by Dr. Caroline Heldman (Occidental professor and principal researcher at the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media) and myself.
The concept of Summit was based on a core belief that the stories and images that emerge from our media help define our national ethos and contribute to the voice of our civilization. The exclusion of women as contributors to our nation’s cultural narrative is a deeply entrenched problem. Women’s creative expressions and concerns are filtered through a mostly male lens, denying women of freedom and equality.
In May 2015, the Aclu called on our federal government to investigate discrimination against women directors in Hollywood. The intent of the Summit was to remedy this persistent and staggering problem that has been in the media spotlight for nearly two years. Today the Eeoc is reportedly in settlement talks with all six major Hollywood studios, but that is no guarantee of success. In order to keep the momentum going and maintain control over our future, we decided to assemble as a group to brainstorm strategies that we ourselves can put into action going forward.
The Summit included three panels and a legal presentation that were designed to ignite dynamic, out of the box thinking for fresh and imaginative solutions. We sought to provide a foundation of knowledge for the whole assembly, and then to encourage exploration beyond our established assumptions, value systems, and methods of getting things done. We were not looking for a single solution, but rather a wide array of remedies that could include grassroots and media campaigns, programs, and incentives inside the industry, as well as state and federal legislative reform.
On the first day we gathered to meet each other and offered two talks to help inform our participants. Constitutional Law expert Dr. David Adler discussed the landmark and unanimous Supreme Court decision on Reed v. Reed (1971), which was the first time in American history a statute was struck down on the grounds that gender discrimination violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This ruling opened what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg characterized as the “floodgates” for all of the subsequent decisions that have upheld women’s rights to equal protection under the law.
After that, America’s great experimental feature film director and Cal Arts professor Nina Menkes presented “Gender and Power in Shot Design: Traditional Cinema and Beyond,” a detailed analysis of film clips from a variety of popular movies showing both the obvious and subtle ways that women are often disempowered in blockbuster films directed by men. By way of extreme contrast, Menkes also shared and discussed clips from her own work.
In the evening, I introduced Victoria Hochberg, one of “The Original Six,” whose activism and research led to the groundbreaking 1983–1985 class action lawsuit against several Hollywood studios filed by the Directors Guild of America on behalf of women and minority directors. That lawsuit moved the percentage of female director hires from half of one percent to 16 percent in just 10 years from 1985 to 1995. Hochberg spoke about the struggle women have faced throughout American history and expressed the importance of our continued battle.
The following morning we began the day with three panels inspired by a Barack Obama quote: “Show up. Dig in. Stay at it.” The first panel was entitled “Women Storytellers Missing in American Cinema” and was moderated by Dr. David Adler (President, Alturas Institute). Attorney Dr. Kathleen A. Tarr (Stanford) and I served as panelists. We provided an overview of the many barriers that keep women directors shut out of the profession, including the failure of Title VII enforcement in an industry that blacklists people who speak out.
Panel two was entitled “Women Storytellers Missing on the Small Screen” and described the landscape of women in key storytelling positions in TV, commercials, and new media. This panel was moderated by producer/director Jody Hassett-Sanchez (CNN, ABC) and included panelists Kirsten Schaffer (Women In Film La) and Maria Agui Carter (Producer-In-Residence, Emerson College). They discussed how increased attention on women in Hollywood has resulted in the proliferation of wide-scale efforts to remedy the problem inside the industry. Women In Film has been integral to a multitude of cooperative efforts with many indie and studio programs intent in solving the problem from the inside, including ReFrame. Others, like Dr. Martha Lauzen (Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film), suggest external (government) pressure is required.
Panel three focused on “Female Representations on the Screen” and was moderated by Dr. Caroline Heldman (Gdigm & Occidental College) with panelists Cristina Escobar (The Representation Project) and Robin Wright (Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity). The purpose of this panel was to identify why women are persistently underrepresented and misrepresented in film, television, and other media domains despite nearly five decades of research and activism on this problem.
Finally, Gillian Thomas (Aclu Women’s Rights Project) and Kalpana Kotagal (Attorney, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll) gave a presentation to provide a framework for action entitled “Women, the Industry & the Law.” This fascinating overview described prior efforts to address discrimination against women in Hollywood, and the current prospects for reform. The session included a primer on federal and state law, as well as discussion of possible tools for effecting change — including litigation, government tax credits for diverse hiring, and media outreach.
Thomas and Kotagal also explained the origins of the Aclu’s 2015 letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission calling for a federal investigation into discrimination against women directors, the current status of that effort, and potential outcomes. This presentation set the stage for possible legal remedies for discrimination, and provided a frame for brainstorming the most effective advocacy strategies during the breakout discussions.
The heart of the Summit was the “Working Group Sessions” in which the whole assembly broke out into nine groups of about 12 participants including a facilitator and a scribe. These sessions were held at various Provincetown inns and venues and lasted approximately three to four hours. Each group was assigned to come up with five or so proposals to create immediately actionable solutions to gender inequity in Hollywood and the proposals could include anything. Massachusetts State Rep. Paul Heroux was on hand for two of the groups, and each group included a lawyer and representatives from a multitude of sectors of society, including law, government, business, tech, non-profit, the arts, news media, entertainment media, and others.
That evening, producer Rachel Watanabe-Batton introduced the 25th Anniversary Restoration of Julie Dash’s 1991 masterpiece film, “Daughters of the Dust,” which was the first feature film directed by an African American woman that went into wide release.
On Sunday morning each working group took the stage at our Summit Headquarters and presented the results of their breakout session. An expert facilitator, Marijean Lauzier, led the entire assembly in a wrapping-up session in which the more than 45 different proposals were pared down to seven resolutions that the Women’s Media Summit will pursue and put into action immediately. The results of all the sessions are to be published in a “white paper” document and presented to the public in June.
The crowning event of the entire Summit was a profoundly moving and transformative Keynote Speech by actor Alysia Reiner (“Equity,” “Orange Is the New Black”). Chief among many other inspiring messages in Reiner’s speech was the lesson that each one of us possesses the ability to create and recreate our own personal narratives. Just as we women as a collective must take possession of our stories that make up our cultural narrative, we must also do that for ourselves, in our own lives, on a daily basis.
On a last note, Summit participants will never forget Victoria Hochberg’s amazing observation that First Lady Abigail Adams’ famous 1776 letter counseling her husband, President John Adams, “do not forget the ladies” as he helped pen the U.S. Constitution shared the very same date as our inaugural Women’s Media Summit opening — March 31! Coincidence? You tell me.
See you next year at the 2018 Annual Women’s Media Summit in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In the meantime, check out these suggested readings. We won’t give up until the problem is solved!
Maria Giese wrote and directed the 1996 feature film “When Saturday Comes,” starring Sean Bean and Pete Postlethwaite, and the award-winning digital feature film “Hunger,” based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner Knut Hamsun. She has also directed two Cine Gold Eagle winning short films and has written three screenplays which have been produced into feature films.
In 2011 she turned her attention to the underrepresentation of women directors in United States media. She began researching and writing about viable legal strategies to remediate illegal discrimination against women in Hollywood, citing Title VII. Finally, in 2015, after four years of activism in the Directors Guild of America, Giese became the person who instigated the biggest industry-wide federal investigation for women directors in Hollywood history.
Guest Post: A Summary of the Inaugural Women’s Media Summit was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Women and Hollywood
I suppose there are a few black people who have yet to see Julie Dash’s 1991 film “Daughters of the Dust”; and if there are, I just haven’t met them yet. A film that can be legitimately called “one of… Continue Reading → »
- Sergio Mims
This five-part Truthdig series by Carrie Rickey is published in partnership with Women and Hollywood. The series considers the historic accomplishments of women behind the camera, how they got marginalized, and how they are fighting for equal employment. Specifically, this series asks, why do females make up between 33 and 50 percent of film-school graduates but account for only seven percent of working directors? What happened to the women directors in Hollywood?
While female filmmakers waited for Judge Pamela Rymer to hand down a decision in the 1983 Directors Guild class-action suit against Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures, alleging discrimination for not hiring women and ethnic minorities represented by the guild, there were positive signs of change in Hollywood.
In 1984, for the first time that almost anyone could remember, one needed two hands to count the number of feature films by women released in the U.S. market. One was Diane Kurys’ “Entre Nous” (1983), nominated for best foreign film at the Academy Awards in April 1984, making Kurys the second female director whose film was so honored.
Between 1950 and 1980, the number of movies directed by women in the Directors Guild of America (DGA) totaled 14. From 1984 to 1985 there were 12.
In 1984 many women were making their second features. Among them were Gillian Armstrong’s period drama “Mrs. Soffel,” Amy Heckerling’s gangster comedy “Johnny Dangerously,” Penelope Spheeris’ teenage-runaway saga “Suburbia,” and Amy Holden Jones’ romantic drama “Love Letters.” Martha Coolidge, beloved for “Valley Girl,” her 1983 debut, was on her third feature, “National Lampoon’s Joy of Sex.” With more women behind the movie camera in the United States than any time since the ’teens, it seemed that Hollywood was reopening the studio gates to women. Their movies featured women in lead roles.
The wave of optimism crested in 1985. Argentine director Maria Luisa Bemberg’s historical romance “Camila” (1984) was in contention for best foreign film. Susan Seidelman, an Nyu film-school grad who made a splash in 1983 with the indie “Smithereens,” released “Desperately Seeking Susan,” starring “It Girl” Rosanna Arquette and Madonna, cast when the latter was a relative unknown. It was a runaway hit. Heckerling and Spheeris each released third features, respectively “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” and “The Boys Next Door.” Coolidge released her fourth: “Real Genius,” a genuinely funny nerd comedy with a fully developed female character — and special effects.
Then came the crash.
In August 1985 Judge Rymer handed down her decision. While the class-action case was important and viable, Rymer ruled, she had to disqualify the DGA from leading the class due to a conflict of interest. White male members also competing for directing jobs dominated the guild, she said. Thus the DGA was in no position to represent the interests of its women and ethnic minority members. Out of exhaustion and lack of money, the Original Six, the group of female filmmakers that had first spurred the DGA to initiate the suit, did not pursue it any further.
As the DGA suit played out during the early 1980s, Hollywood’s business model was in flux. Studios abandoned the one-size-fits-all strategy of advertising a movie in general-interest publications and embraced segmented marketing — that is, making and marketing movies to a specific demographic. Fewer dollars were spent advertising movies in mainstream newspapers and more were spent on ads that ran during TV shows young males were said to watch. More and more, movies starred predominantly men and boys. Because actors had higher-profile roles, they could command higher salaries than actresses.
By dividing the market into sectors, studios divided the audience and the culture. Boys see movies about boys. Older people see movies about older people. Women see movies about women. Those in different demographics no longer watch the same stories.
In 1980, four of the 10 top box office stars were women: Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Sissy Spacek, and Barbra Streisand. In 1990 there was only one: Julia Roberts. According to 1990 statistics from the Screen Actors Guild, not only were actresses underpaid, but they were also “undercast”: 14 percent of the leading roles, and only 29 percent of all roles, went to women.
The “Indiana Jones” trilogy made in the 1980s reflected the progressively diminishing role of females in film during a decade when male action/adventures dominated the multiplex. In “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), the character Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) plays Indy’s helpmate. In “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984), the Willie Scott character (Kate Capshaw) is helpless. And in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” archeologist Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) is the enemy.
Despite such trends, the late 1980s and 1990s proved to be boom years for female directors in Hollywood and Indiewood, as independent film is known. In 1987, Kathryn Bigelow, a onetime sculptor and graduate of Columbia University’s film program, made her second feature, the “vampire Western” “Near Dark.” And though Elaine May’s studio film “Ishtar” was almost universally panned upon release, it earned belated respect. Richard Brody of The New Yorker correctly described it as “an unjustly derided masterwork.” In 1987, six percent of films were directed by women, higher than at any time since 1916.
The percentage dropped in 1988, but that was a watershed year for female filmmakers. “Big,” a comedy from Penny Marshall (co-written by Anne Spielberg), was universally acclaimed. It was the first movie directed by a woman that surpassed $100 million at the box office. With the romantic comedy “Crossing Delancey,” Joan Micklin Silver returned to making big-screen fare, and her modest hit was well received. Also in 1988, Silver’s daughter, Marisa, made her second feature, “Permanent Record,” about teen suicide. “Salaam, Bombay!”, the first feature from Mira Nair, the India-born, Harvard-educated documentarian, was a best foreign film Oscar nominee.
The following year, “Look Who’s Talking” from Amy Heckerling likewise surpassed the $100 million mark for box office sales in the U.S. and made nearly $300 million worldwide. For the most part, though, heads of studios regarded Marshall’s and Heckerling’s box-office smashes as flukes. Two heads of production told me in 1991 that “movies by women don’t make money.” Nevertheless, it turned out to be a exceptional year for the quality and range of releases from women. And it shaped up to be a year when movies by female filmmakers did make serious money.
Some of the highlights of 1991: Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust,” an evocative portrait of generations of Gullah women off the South Carolina coast circa 1901; Jodie Foster’s “Little Man Tate,” about a child prodigy emotionally torn between his mother and a psychologist for gifted children; and Mira Nair’s “Mississippi Masala,” a sexy romance about a South Asian woman born in Uganda (played by then-newcomer Sarita Choudhry) in love with an African-American man (Denzel Washington). Both Kathryn Bigelow’s action film “Point Break” and Barbra Streisand’s psychological study “Prince of Tides” examined the emotional costs to men who struggle to prove their masculinity. Bigelow’s movie grossed $83 million and Streisand’s $110 million. (Adjusted for inflation, that’s $148 million and $196 million in today’s dollars.)
Not only can female filmmakers make movies that show a different side of men, but they also make movies that show different aspects of women. Penny Marshall’s “A League of Their Own” (1992), about the All-American Girls Baseball Leagues during World War II, celebrates the athleticism (rather than the sexuality) of the female body. Nora Ephron’s “This is My Life,” her 1992 directorial debut about a single mom whose choice of comedy career affects her daughters, shows that career and motherhood need not be in conflict. Like Ephron’s film, Allison Anders’ “Gas Food Lodging” (also 1992) explores what happens when the children of single moms reconnect with biological fathers. Male directors were, and are not, making movies like these.
During the 1990s, almost every year brought a new evergreen made by a female filmmaker. In 1993 there were two. One was Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” a haunting allegory about a mute woman that struck a chord internationally. It earned $62 million at the box office and multiple Oscar nominations, including one for best director, making Campion the third woman to be cited in this category. The other was Nora Ephron’s “Sleepless in Seattle,” the comedic romance between two people who don’t meet in person until the last scene, which scored a $227 million box office.
“Sleepless” additionally introduced the questionable concept of the “chick flick” to a broader audience. This is a non-genre that has come to be defined as any movie that, according to the term’s proponents, women want to see and that men think they don’t want to watch — or any movie directed by a woman. The division between “chick flick” and its corollary, the “dick flick,” is a perhaps unintended consequence of target marketing, implying that movies represent a gender-linked proposition.
Almost overnight, the perception was created that movies predominantly featuring women, or “women’s interests,” or directed by women would shrivel the manhood of the male moviegoer. In 1994 the head of a major studio told me, without irony or shame, that “Women on the screen means no men in the audience.” When I asked him for data to back up his claim, he said he had it, but it was proprietary.
Despite such signs of cultural and corporate sexism, the 1990s were a good time to be a female filmmaker. In 1994, Gillian Armstrong’s “Little Women” was immediately embraced as a classic. Newcomer Darnell Martin’s “I Like it Like That,” an urban comedy about a working mother juggling job, marriage, and parenthood, earned positive reviews. And Rose Troche’s “Go Fish,” the first indie comedy about girl-on-girl courtship, marked a milestone for the burgeoning genre.
The following year, 16 films by women were in U.S. release, setting another record for that era. Many of them were comedies. There was Amy Heckerling’s “Clueless,” a droll version of Jane Austen’s “Emma” set at a Beverly Hills high school. There is Betty Thomas’ “The Brady Bunch Movie,” in which the former actress sets the characters of the 1970s TV hit in the 1990s to great comic effect. Distinctly not a comedy was Kathryn Bigelow’s “Strange Days,” a science-fiction thriller about sex crimes, which lost money but became a cult favorite. At the 1996 Oscar ceremony, with “Antonia’s Line,” Dutch filmmaker Marleen Gorris became the first female filmmaker to direct the award-winning foreign film.
But apart from Bigelow and Mimi Leder, a director of episodic television who in 1997 directed “The Peacemaker” and in 1998 “Deep Impact,” female filmmakers were not making action films. For the most part women made comedies and human stories, movies with no explosions in the opening scene. Veteran filmmaker Martha Coolidge spoke for many women when she noted that the scripts the studios sent her were for comedies or family dramas. “About 90 percent of what comes my way are ten different kinds of breast cancer stories, ten kinds of divorce stories, and ten kinds of women-taking-care-of-their-fathers stories,” she said. “I do those. I care about those deeply. But one does want to do more.”
Female filmmakers were typecast in the way many actors and actresses have been, for the most part pigeonholed in family drama and comedy genres. For example, in 1997 actress Kasi Lemmons made her directorial debut with “Eve’s Bayou,” a haunting family drama, and Betty Thomas returned with the Howard Stern biopic “Private Parts.” In 1998, Ephron returned with the romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail.” Nancy Meyers, a long-time screenwriter, made her directorial debut with the family-friendly comedy “The Parent Trap,” and Brenda Chapman, a Disney animator, was one of three directors on “Prince of Egypt,” the animated story of Moses.
In 1999, three female filmmakers made rookie features unlike anything in American movies. Two were romantic dramas about teenage sexuality, the other an imaginative Shakespeare adaptation. Sofia Coppola’s “The Virgin Suicides,” based on the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, looked at how boys look at girls, subversively turning the female gaze on the male gaze. Kimberly Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry” dramatized the life story of Teena Brandon, who changed her name and gender to become Brandon Teena and fell victim to a hate crime.
Julie Taymor, the theater director who created “The Lion King” on stage, made her movie debut with “Titus,” an anachronistic version of the Shakespeare history play “Titus Andronicus,” underscoring its parallels to Italy under Mussolini.
At the end of the decade — and century — of the 11,000 filmmakers working both in television and film included in the Directors Guild of America, about 2,300 were women. While women made up 21 percent of the membership, they comprised only 9 percent of the filmmakers working in movies.
Most, including Martha Lauzen, a professor at San Diego State University and the head of the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television, naturally assumed that in the new century the needle would move toward 50/50.
In addition to writing film reviews and essays for Truthdig, Carrie Rickey has been a film critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Village Voice, and an art critic at Artforum and Art in America. Rickey has taught at various institutions, including School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania, and has appeared frequently on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” MSNBC, and CNN.
What Happened to the Women Directors in Hollywood? Part 4: 1984–1999 was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Women and Hollywood
The Quad Cinema will reopen on Friday, April 14, Cohen Media Group announced today. The city’s first multiplex, which has been closed since 2015 and is now under the ownership of Cmg, has completed a multi-million-dollar renovation that includes state-of-the-art seating, a video wall in the lobby, a wine bar and a retooled aesthetic.
Read More: Christopher Wells Joins Quad Cinema as Director of Repertory Programming
“Not only was the Quad New York’s first multi-screen cinema, it was also a true neighborhood theater, drawing Village audiences with its sophisticated art-house fare,” said Charles S. Cohen in a statement. The Quad first opened in 1972 and, under Cmg, seeks to recapture the spirit that used to define it.
“The new Quad will preserve both the welcoming, communal atmosphere and the cultural cachet of the original theater while updating — and upgrading — the moviegoing experience for contemporary cinephiles,” added Cohen. “The redesign will be intimate and luxurious, »
- Michael Nordine
The Quad Cinema, the Greenwich Village theater that was New York City’s first multiplex, will reopen in April with upgrades and renovations to its facilities, tech, seats and branding.
The four-screen venue, which opened in 1972 and has been closed since 2015, has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation under the ownership of Charles S. Cohen, the film-loving real estate developer who is also the head of Cohen Media Group. The updates to the facility include a new modern design; the capability to screen films in 35mm, 16mm, 4K digital and 3D formats; and a wine bar adjacent to the lobby.
Also on board are two new programming execs, with Christopher Wells, formerly of the IFC Center, serving as director of repertory programming, and Gavin Smith, the former editor of Film Comment, tapped as senior programmer. The duo will devote »
- Gordon Cox
Full Color Entertainment, an independent film distributor dedicated to bringing more diverse stories to Dutch theaters, has announced its acquisition of the rights to distribute the restored version of Julie Dash’s critically acclaimed “Daughters of the Dust” in The Netherlands.… Continue Reading → »
Ending an 87-year drought, the Academy finally nominated its first African-American cinematographer, Bradford Young, for his dark, richly textured work on Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction hit “Arrival.” Young had already picked awards twice at Sundance for his lensing on Dee Rees’ “Pariah” and shooting Andrew Dosunmu’s “Mother of George” and David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” the same year, and he served as Ava DuVernay’s cinematographer on “Middle of Nowhere” and “Selma.” With Oscar in sight, Young spoke with Variety from London, where he is currently filming a little project unofficially known as “Han Solo,” a new chapter in the “Star Wars” franchise.
Personally and historically, what does this nomination mean to you?
It’s a tough question that I’ve been thinking about a lot. It’s always an honor when your peers recognize the hard work you put into the films that we make, »
- Scott Tobias
Twenty years ago, Cheryl Dunye made history as the first African-American lesbian to direct a feature-length film. Now that film, The Watermelon Woman, has finally been given a proper DVD release, courtesy of First Run Features. To mark the occasion, we spoke on the phone with Dunye about the film, history, performance, and authenticity.
The Film Stage: Both The Watermelon Woman and the short that’s included on the new DVD, Black Is Blue, express a high level of commitment and detail in the recreation of documentary form. What documentaries and / or mockumentaries influenced you?
Cheryl Dunye: I’ve been working in this practice since the late ‘80s. I went to Rutgers and had a studio practice there, got my Mfa, and that’s where I discovered what was becoming the queer film world. There was a lack of identity, representation — in the work that was being seen — by, »
- Daniel Schindel
Since any New York City cinephile has a nearly suffocating wealth of theatrical options, we figured it’d be best to compile some of the more worthwhile repertory showings into one handy list. Displayed below are a few of the city’s most reliable theaters and links to screenings of their weekend offerings — films you’re not likely to see in a theater again anytime soon, and many of which are, also, on 35mm. If you have a chance to attend any of these, we’re of the mind that it’s time extremely well-spent.
Hitchcock, Lucas, and more are highlighted in a ’70s Universal series.
The Land Before Time plays on Saturday.
Museum of the Moving Image
- Nick Newman
Our 22 Favorite Movies Directed by Women in 2016Looking to support great female-directed films? Start here.
Over the years, we’ve heard from our readers that one of the most important things we can do is to help you discover movies that may have slipped by mainstream audiences. And often just as important, our readers ask that we highlight voices that are in the minority in Hollywood. While we’re known for not taking ourselves very seriously, we take this part of our work seriously. Because as many studies have shown, there are some voices that aren’t as well-represented as others. Them’s the facts.
Beyond that, our team has a passion for seeking out and celebrating films directed by women. This is where we often find, as you’re about to see in this list, some of the most unique and interesting stories in the whole of cinema. Another thing we hear often from readers is »
- Film School Rejects
“Daughters of the Dust”: Bam
Cinephiles, your February just became a whole lot busier. Brooklyn Academy of Music (Bam) recently announced its “One Way or Another: Black Women’s Cinema, 1970–1991” exhibition, which commemorates the theatrical and Blu-ray re-release of Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust” with screenings of films from black women directors. According to the exhibit’s website, this event was designed to honor the “black women directors who blazed the trail for that landmark film.”
“One Way or Another” features a variety of film (long-form, short-form, documentary, narrative, and animation) and explores a wide cross-section of topics, especially those specific to black women’s culture, including body image, identity, the role church plays, the complexities of black hair, colorism, representation in the media, Zora Neale Hurston’s work, and black feminism.
Screenings of “Daughters of the Dust” will kick-off the event on February 3. Other films to screen include Dash’s shorts (“Standing at the Scratch Line,” “Four Women,” “Illusions,” and “Praise House”), Debra J. Robinson’s “I Be Done Was Is,” Liz White’s “Othello,” Cheryl Chisholm’s “On Becoming a Woman,” Elena Featherstone’s “Visions of the Spirit: A Portrait of Alice Walker,” and Euzhan Palcy’s “Sugar Cane Alley.”
Below is the full list of films that will screen at “One Way or Another,” courtesy of Bam. Visit the Bam website to buy tickets or find out more. The exhibit will run from February 3–23.
Feb 3 — Feb 5, 2017
Julie Dash’s shimmering, dreamlike evocation of early-20th century Gullah life (which was a key influence on Beyoncé’s visual album “Lemonade”) is a sumptuous celebration of folk traditions and black womanhood.
Feb 3 — Feb 5, 2017
A married couple experience a reawakening on a summer idyll in upstate New York. This revelatory comedic drama is one of the first films to explore sexuality from the perspective of a black female director.
“I Be Done Was Is ”— Directed By Debra J. Robinson
Feb 4 — Feb 9, 2017
Director Debra Robinson profiles four black female comedians, offering insight into what it means to be a sharp-witted woman navigating the male-dominated world of stand-up.
Julie Dash Shorts
Feb 5 — Feb 6, 2017
This program surveys Julie Dash’s (“Daughters of the Dust”) remarkable career from the 1970s to the present, including her breakthrough work, “Illusions,” which explores black representation in 1940s Hollywood.
“Standing at the Scratch Line”
A look at the history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
A dance film set to the music of Nina Simone.
Explores African-American representation in 1940s Hollywood via the story of a black studio executive passing as white.
A performance piece made with Urban Bush Women founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
Camille Billops Program
Feb 6 — Feb 15, 2017
The films of Camille Billops are heartrending, fearlessly personal meditations on a range of emotionally charged subjects. This program brings together a cross section of Billops’ documentary work.
A harrowing portrait of a woman processing her abusive father and her own drug addiction.
An autobiographical record of the filmmaker’s reunion with the daughter she gave up for adoption.
Billops’ examination of slavery and cultural theft.
“Zora is My Name! ”— Directed By Neema Barnette
Feb 7, 2017
The great Ruby Dee scripted and stars in this tribute to visionary writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston.
Performers and Artists
Feb 7, 2017
This shorts program spotlights several extraordinary black women artists, including dancers Syvilla Fort and Thelma Hill; sculptor Valerie Maynard; and drag king and activist Stormé DeLarverie.
“Valerie” — Directed by Monica J Freeman
Monica J. Freeman’s 1975 portrait of sculptor Valerie Maynard.
“Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification ”— Directed by Barbara McCullough
An experimental performance film by Barbara McCullough, inspired by Afro-diasporic ceremonies.
“Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum” — Directed by Ayoka Chenzira
Ayoka Chenzira’s 1979 tribute to dancer-choreographer Syvilla Fort.
“Remembering Thelma” — Directed by Kathe Sandler
“Storme: The Lady of the Jewel Box” — Directed by Michelle Parkerson
“Visions of the Spirit: A Portrait of Alice Walker ”— Directed By Elena Featherstone
Feb 8, 2017
This revealing portrait of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker offers essential insight into the experiences that shaped her perspective as an outspoken black feminist.
Twice as Nice + A Minor Altercation
Feb 8, 2017
Jackie Shearer’s 1977 docudrama, about two girls during the desegregation of Boston’s public schools, screens alongside Jessie Maple’s portrait of twin college basketball players.
“Twice as Nice” — Directed by Jessie Maple
“A Minor Altercation ”— Directed by Jackie Shearer
Jackie Shearer’s docudrama catching the tensions between two girls — one black, one white — during the desegregation of Boston’s public schools.
A Different Image + Perfect Image?
Feb 9, 2017
An art student sets out to reclaim her body and self-worth from Western patriarchal norms.
“Perfect Image?” — Directed by Maureen Blackwood
Two actresses, one light skinned, one dark skinned, in a series of freewheeling, sometimes musical, sketches exploring black beauty standards
Feb 13, 2017
Created by an entirely black cast and crew, including Yaphet Kotto in the title role, Liz White’s rarely screened adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy offers incisive commentary on the play’s racial dimensions.
Feb 13, 2017
These psychologically rich films are fully realized portraits of black female consciousness, offering unusually complex depictions of the experiences and inner-thoughts of African-American women.
The film revolves around an African-American woman reporter for a local television station who must seemingly compromise her political principles to keep her job, just as a former Black Panther Party member gets out of prison, only to realize that the old comrades in the struggle have moved on with their lives. It is also a plea for community development in Watts and other black L.A. neighborhoods, a concern that connects many of the L.A. Rebellion projects.
“Killing Time” — Directed by Fronza Woods
An offbeat, wryly humorous look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in, examines the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going.
“Fannie’s Film ”— Directed by Fronza Woods
A 65-year-old cleaning woman for a professional dancers’ exercise studio performs her job while telling us in voiceover about her life, hopes, goals, and feelings. A challenge to mainstream media’s ongoing stereotypes of women of color who earn their living as domestic workers, this seemingly simple documentary achieves a quiet revolution: the expressive portrait of a fully realized individual.
Feb 15, 2017
Two heartrending portraits of black childhood: a hip-hop-infused South Bronx fantasy about teen suicide and a young girl’s perspective on her struggling single mother.
Neema Barnette’s hip-hop-infused South Bronx fantasy that tackles the issue of teen suicide with a surplus of cinematic imagination.
“Your Children Come Back to You” — Directed by Alile Sharon Larkin
Alile Sharon Larkin’s first film is a contemporary allegory about values and assimilation. The film literalizes the meaning of a “mother country” by means of the story of a young girl, Tovi, torn between two surrogate mothers: one comfortably bourgeois, the other nationalist.
Cycles + On Becoming a Woman
Feb 16, 2017
Two films exploring the relationships of black women to their bodies: a woman performs Caribbean folk rituals in Zeinabu Irene Davis’ “Cycles” and Cheryl Chisholm addresses reproductive rights in “Becoming A Woman.”
Rasheeda Allen is waiting for her period, a state of anticipation familiar to all women. Drawing on Caribbean folklore, this exuberant experimental drama uses animation and live action to discover a film language unique to African American women. The multilayered soundtrack combines a chorus of women’s voices with the music of Africa and the diaspora — including Miriam Makeba, acappella singers from Haiti, and trumpetiste Clora Bryant.
“On Becoming a Woman ”— Directed by Cheryl Chisholm
This documentary provides rare insights into some important health issues for African American women. Filmed primarily during the National Black Women’s Health Project workshop sessions, this historic film also demonstrates models for trust and communication between mothers and daughters.
I Am Somebody + The Maids
Feb 16, 2017
This program mines the complicated relationship between black women, capitalism, and the workplace as documented by a 1969 hospital workers’ strike in Charleston and the history of domestic service.
This civil rights documentary tells the story of black female hospital workers going on strike to demand union recognition and a wage increase.
“The Maids” — Directed by Muriel Jackson
Offering a sophisticated analysis of the racial and sexual division of labor in this country, this intriguing and articulate documentary looks at the history of domestic work since slavery and the ambivalence felt by African American women towards it.
Feb 18, 2017
Pioneering Afro-Cuban filmmaker Sara Gómez’s radical narrative-documentary hybrid delivers a complex critique of regressive machismo in a post-revolutionary Cuba.
A Dream is What You Wake Up From
Feb 18, 2017
This program of films about black families, neighborhoods, and home life in the 1970s includes portraits of African-American communities in Harlem and Hamilton Heights.
The everyday lives of three Black families with different approaches to their struggle for survival in the United States are represented through a mix of fiction and documentary scenes, a docudrama style inspired by the work of Cuban filmmaker Sara Gómez. Filmmakers Larry Bullard and Carolyn Y. Johnson relied on a mix of documentary and drama to record families engaged in their day to day activities at home, at work and in school.
“A Sense of Pride: Hamilton Heights”— Directed by Monica J. Freeman
Monica J. Freeman’s serene portrait of Hamilton Heights at the peak of its brownstone revival is a testament to the cohesion and spirit of an African-American middle class fighting hard for its place in a depressed city, and, in the process, returning a grand old neighborhood to its rightful splendor.
“Black Faces ”— Directed by Young Filmmakers Foundation
A montage of faces from the Harlem community in early the 1970s.
Feb 19, 2017
The contributions of black women to the art of animation are celebrated in this program of shorts about African-American hair, identity, love, and more.
“Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People”— Directed by Ayoka Chenzira
A musical satire on the politically charged subject of African-American hair.
“Zajota and the Boogie Spirit”— Directed by Ayoka Chenzira
A rhythmic celebration of African dance with a score by Mino Cinelu.
A young girl navigates her identity as a black Native American.
An inventive mix of live-action and animation exploring sex, love, and relationships.
Feb 20, 2017
This urgent, eye-opening documentary, shot inside refugee camps in Zambia and Angola, is an essential record of the role that women played in the struggle for South-West African liberation.
The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy — Directed By Kathleen Collins
Feb 21, 2017
This lost treasure from Kathleen Collins, whose 1982 film “Losing Ground” was one of the major rediscoveries of 2015, is a magical realist tale of three Puerto Rican brothers and their father’s ghost.
Feb 23, 2017
A teenage orphan sets out to make something of himself in acclaimed director Euzhan Palcy’s gorgeous vision of black life in French colonial Martinique.
Upcoming Bam Exhibition Celebrates Black Women’s Cinema was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
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