Eve's Bayou (1997) - News Poster

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Posterized: Movies About Young Black Girls

Not every movie has a white straight male protagonist. It just seems like that since that's Hollywood's default and also the preferred proxy of most (white straight male) auteurs.

But the times are finally a-changing. This weekend features the platform release of a mesmerizing new indie called The Fits -- please see it as soon as it opens near you. I was so proud to push for honoring it on my jury at the Nashville Film Festival. Fresh perspectives on the screen can be so exhilarating. That's especially true when the execution is this confident. Remember the debut director's name, Anna Rose Holmer, since we're hoping for more great movies to come.

In the meantime, let's take a trip back through other features with young black girls as the lead character. I haven't seen the first or the last movie on this list of nine below but the rest all
See full article at FilmExperience »

The 50 Greatest Films by Black Directors

Slate magazine has drawn up an interesting list of great black films, the twist being that they have to have been directed by a black person rather than about the black experience so out go Old Hollywood musicals like Carmen Jones or Cabin in the Sky or Oscar favorites like Sounder.  In the wake of recent conversations about Hollywood's power structures and overwhelming whiteness, Slate assembled a field of critics and filmmakers and scholars to produce the list.

Eve's Bayou

I need to get cracking on my gaps in knowledge from this list, especially because of the titles I've seen from this list several were great and the ones I didn't personally connect to were still interesting (Night Catches Us) or memorable (Eve's Bayou - I've been meaning to give that another shot now that I'm older). Unsurprisingly Spike Lee has the most titles with six. Curiously, though I've seen
See full article at FilmExperience »

Daily | Ebertfest 2016

Ebertfest opens today, and we've got a quick overview of the featured films: Paul Weitz's Grandma, Michael Polish's Northfork, Carol Reed's The Third Man, Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young's Disturbing the Peace, Marcel L’Herbier's L'Inhumane with live accompaniment by The Alloy Orchestra, Kasi Lemmons's Eve's Bayou, Paul Cox's Force of Destiny, Rebecca Parrish's Radical Grace, Bill Pohlad’s Love and Mercy, Brian De Palma's Blow Out and Oscar Micheaux's Body and Soul, featuring Paul Robeson's onscreen debut. » - David Hudson
See full article at Keyframe »

'Black Nativity' Director Kasi Lemmons to be Honored at 2014 Athena Film Festival

Kasi Lemmons, actress, writer and director of Langston HughesBlack Nativity as well as Talk to MeEve's Bayou and The Caveman's Valentine will receive a 2014 Athena Film Festival Award in a festival ceremony this February.  Other award honorees include philanthropist Sherry Lansing, former Chair and CEO of Paramount Pictures and former President of 20th Century Fox, who will receive The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award, Keri Putnam, Executive Director of the Sundance Institute, and Callie Khouri, Academy Award winning screenwriter of Thelma and Louise, and creator of the series Nashville. "The women we are...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Athena Film Festival to Honor Sherry Lansing, Keri Putnam, Callie Khouri and Kasi Lemmons

Athena Film Festival to Honor Sherry Lansing, Keri Putnam, Callie Khouri and Kasi Lemmons
Sherry Lansing will receive The Laura Ziskin Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Athena Film Festival, the festival announced today, along with the names of the other recipients of The Athena Film Festival Awards. The awards honor extraordinary female actors, directors, and producers for their leadership and creative accomplishments within the film industry.The other award recipients include Keri Putnam, Executive Director of the Sundance Institute; Callie Khouri, Academy Award winning screenwriter and creator of the series "Nashville;" and Kasi Lemmons, actress, director and writer of "Black Nativity," as well as "Talk to Me," "Eve's Bayou" and "The Caveman's Valentine." As former Chair and CEO of Paramount Pictures and former President of 20th Century Fox, Lansing has been involved with the production, marketing, and distribution of more than 200 films.The Festival has also announced the newly created Athena List which will highlight between 3-5...
See full article at Indiewire »

Black Nativity – review | Mark Kermode

This reframing of Langston Hughes's gospel play is perfect, heartwarming festive fare

Reading on mobile? Click here to watch the trailer

You'd have to be pretty full of seasonal humbug to resist this spirited screen homage to Langston Hughes's "gospel song play" which was first performed off-Broadway in 1961, and has since become a seasonal staple. Jacob Latimore plays Baltimore teen Langston, sent to stay with his estranged grandparents in New York when his mother receives an eviction notice. Uncomfortably ensconced with the proud Reverend Cornell Cobbs (Forest Whitaker) and his glowing wife Aretha (Angela Bassett), Langston scorns the open doors of the church in favour of the mean streets of Harlem, wherein he hopes to solve his mother's financial woes and discover the truth about his absent father. Kasi Lemmons, who did such a great job directing Eve's Bayou in the 1990s, brings warmth and passion to the unashamedly schmaltzy and contrived proceedings,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

How Kasi Lemmons' Return to the Holiday Musical 'Black Nativity' Saved Her Life

How Kasi Lemmons' Return to the Holiday Musical 'Black Nativity' Saved Her Life
Women filmmakers of color don't get that many times at bat in our myopic movie world. Which makes the four-feature output of Kasi Lemmons since her breakout with 1997 "Eve's Bayou" even more remarkable. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Lemmons moved to Boston with her mother when her academic parents divorced. She studied drama and film at Nyu, UCLA and the New School of Social Research, where she met her husband of 18 years in a dance class, fellow actor Vondie Curtis-Hall. Many of Lemmons' films have dealt with artists, teachers and musicians. "I am drawn to music," she says. "It was always important to me, like poetry and art are important to me."Producer Celine Rattray first suggested the project to her. "Look no further," Lemmons told her. "Please let it be me." Lemmons has enjoyed a long relationship with Fox Searchlight, where she developed a mystery about a black woman
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Review: Black Nativity

Kasi Lemmons, director of Eve's Bayou and Talk to Me, chose a play by poet Langston Hughes as the basis for her new movie. Black Nativity is first and foremost a musical, featuring original pieces of music as well as new arrangements of familiar hymns and carols. Lemmons even co-wrote some of the songs, with Raphael Saadiq producing the music (he shares the "Music by" credit with composer Laura Karpman).

The music is the best thing about Black Nativity. Without the songs it would likely be a far more disappointing movie, as you can see plot lines coming from a mile away. There are a couple times when a character says something that punches you in the gut with its earnestness, but otherwise the story is as ridiculous as it is predictable.

Langston, a fatherless kid from Baltimore played by young Jacob Latimore, is sent to live with grandparents he's never met.
See full article at Slackerwood »

Watch: Behind-the-scenes with the cast of Black Nativity

  • Cineplex
Get an inside look at Black Nativity as stars Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson and Nas take us behind-the-scenes of the film.

Directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou), the story follows young Langston (Jacob Latimore) who is sent to stay with his estranged grandparents, Aretha and Reverend Cornell (Bassett and Whitaker) over the holidays where he discovers why his single mother (Hudson) has broken contact with the family. A musical treat featuring performances from Hudson, Nas and the rest of the cast, Black Nativity is largely set around Reverend Cornell’s nativity sermon and performance.

Hear what the cast has to say about the holiday story and working with one another in this new holiday musical after the jump!
See full article at Cineplex »

Listen: CulturePop No. 31 - Kasi Lemmons, 'Black Nativity'

  • Hitfix
Listen: CulturePop No. 31 - Kasi Lemmons, 'Black Nativity'
Well, we finally found a guest whose work so moved Melinda that she started tearing up in the interview. If you haven't seen Kasi Lemmons' "Eve's Bayou," it's one of Melinda's favorite movies of all time. We discussed the 1997 film, but also Lemmons' new movie, "Black Nativity," which is based on Langston Hughes' musical of the same name. We had a great time talking to Kasi, who walked us through her creative process, the challenges of bringing together a "dream cast," and why it's been so great to work with major talents including Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, Don...
See full article at Hitfix »

'Black Nativity' Trailer: Jennifer Hudson Belts It Out in Holiday Musical

It may be the dog days of summer, but that doesn't mean the studios aren't already teasing their upcoming winter offerings.

The first trailer for "Black Nativity" dropped today, advertising the film as the "musical event" of the holiday season. Starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Nas, Jacob Latimore, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson, it could very well make good on that hyperbolic promise.

The film is a contemporary retelling of the Langston Hughes play, with Latimore playing Langston, a kid whose mother (Hudson) sends him to live with his estranged relatives after their house is foreclosed on. From there he goes on a remarkable Christmastime journey of discovery -- all set to song.

The film marks the long-awaited return of writer/director Kasi Lemmons, responsible for the critically praised features "Eve's Bayou," "The Caveman's Valentine," and "Talk to Me." (She was also an actor early on in her career,
See full article at Moviefone »

The Collision: Episode 43 – Television, Race, Diversity, and Auteur Showrunners

This week on The Collision, we are joined by Allison Keene and Charles Judson. Our conversation is sparked by a Mad Men spec script from actress Erika Anderson, which brings African-American characters into Matthew Weiner's critically acclaimed show. From there, our conversation expands to explore diversity in popular TV series, if showrunners should feel obligated to diversify their casts, the difficulty in writing minority characters, and much more. As always, we finish up with our recommendations. Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode ("Violence and Evil Dead"), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg, @AdamChitwood, and @DrClawMD (Dave Trumbore). Hit the jump to check out the trailers for this week’s recommendations. Allison's
See full article at Collider.com »

'Eve's Bayou': Sixteen Years Later

"Eve's Bayou" (1997) has become a contemporary classic in Black cinema. Directed by Kasi Lemmons and set in the early 1960s in Louisiana, the film is primarily a family drama. It also has the distinction of being about a specific place that wasn't absorbed into the Civil Rights and Black Power movements that were picking up steam across the country around that time. With all of their secrets and betrayals, the affluent Batiste family is far from perfect; although in an early scene the mother of the philandering Dr. Louis Batiste (played by Samuel L. Jackson) says that all of the women in the community act like he’s the Second Coming. And it's true. This...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett starring in holiday musical 'Black Nativity'

  • Hitfix
Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett starring in holiday musical 'Black Nativity'
A slew of Oscar faves like Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson are on tap for holiday musical "Black Nativity," which began principal photography today in New York. The adaptation of the 1961 Langston Hughes play, "Black Nativity" will boast new songs and arrangements from producer and singer Raphael Saadiq, with director Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou") at the helm. Considering its a musical film, there are other artists on tap in the cast: Nas, Tyrese Gibson (or, simply, Tyrese), Island Def Jam's Luke James and RCA artist Jacob Latimore are also added. "Black Nativity" is a story that follows Langston...
See full article at Hitfix »

Kasi Lemmons Boards 'Agaat,' Will Adapt & Direct South African Apartheid Drama

Kasi Lemmons Boards 'Agaat,' Will Adapt & Direct South African Apartheid Drama
Kasi Lemmons, director of "Eve's Bayou" and "Talk to Me," is attached to adapt and direct South African apartheid novel "Agaat," written in 2010 by Marlene van Niekerk. The rights to the book have been optioned by producers Patrick Holzen, Mark R. Harris and Debbie Vandermeulen. Holzen states, “It took a long deliberation to find the perfect person and I can’t imagine the project with anyone else now. [Lemmons'] previous projects have dealt with themes of social change, empowerment and love, which are our themes as well. Kasi is a formidable talent with a unique perspective that was essential to adapting this masterpiece.” A synopsis of the story is below, via Booklist. Lemmons also recently adapted Zadie Smith's "On Beauty" and is set to direct "Black Nativity," Langston Hughes' gospel musical, for Fox Searchlight. Seventy-year-old Milla de Wet is slowly dying of...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Black Nativity Shelved by Fox Searchlight Due to Difficulty Casting a Male Lead; Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne Both Pass

Although Kasi Lemmons' musical Black Nativity was scheduled to start production in New York this October, Fox Searchlight has put the picture on hold due to difficulty landing a male lead. The picture is based off of a Langston Hughes play that re-imagines traditional Christmas carols in a gospel style. Black Nativity was set to center on a young black teen who spends Christmas with the grandparents he’s never met: “Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon and a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story, he learns about the importance of faith and family.” What's strange about this news is that Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Oscar nominee Angela Bassett (What's Love Got to Do With It) are already set in supporting roles, yet top talent like Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne have passed. More on this after the jump. THR reports on the
See full article at Collider.com »

Samuel L. Jackson & Angela Bassett cast as grandparents in 'Black Nativity'

  • Hitfix
Samuel L. Jackson & Angela Bassett cast as grandparents in 'Black Nativity'
Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett certainly aren't spring chickens anymore. The two actors (aged 63 and 53, respectively) are in negotiations to star as grandparents in Fox Searchlight's planned film version of the Broadway musical "Black Nativity," with Jennifer Hudson in talks to play their estranged daughter. Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou," "Talk to Me") is writing and directing the adaptation, which centers on a young black teenager who is sent by his mother (Hudson) to spend Christmas in Harlem with the grandparents he's never met. A sermon delivered by his grandfather, the Reverend Clarence Cobbs (Jackson), serves as the catalyst...
See full article at Hitfix »

Academy Awards Move in the Right Direction

Commenting on the critics with Simon Columb...

Patrick Goldstein for the La Times writes about diversity within the Academy Awards:

"[Will] Packer was one of 176 film industry luminaries who were invited today to become academy members. And even though most of the headlines will inevitably focus on such A-list talent as Terrence Malick, Jonah Hill, Jessica Chastain and Matthew McConaughey, the academy did something that had somehow eluded the hidebound organization in recent years: It took a significant step toward diversifying its new membership."

Read the full article here.

The article continues to highlight talent including Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou), Kerry Washington (actress in Ray) and Octavia Spencer (Oscar-winning actress for her role in The Help). Other than African-American talent, the list also includes a much more diverse range of actors from across the world. French actors Jean Dujardin and Bernice Bejo (both from The Artist), Michelle Yeoh (from Crouching Tiger,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Daily Briefing. Sampling Trailers for Films @ Sfiff + Tribeca

  • MUBI
The San Francisco International Film Festival unveiled the lineup and program for its 55th edition yesterday, 174 films in all, from 45 countries. Sfiff's not a festival that places much emphasis on premieres, but one that it is touting is The Fourth Dimension, a collection of three shorts by Harmony Korine, Alexsei Fedorchenko (Silent Souls) and Jan Kwiecinski, screening April 20 and four days later at the Tribeca Film Festival (Sfiff runs from April 19 through May 3, Tribeca from April 18 through 29).

The Hollywood Reporter debuted the trailer on Monday; and, for Sfiff, Cheryl Eddy fills us in: "Created under a 'manifesto' whose directives would make Lars von Trier shudder, this three-part film might look on paper like an exercise in forced hipness…. Working under orders tall, whimsical (according to the manifesto, a stuffed animal must make an appearance no matter what) and surreal, Korine's Lotus Community Workshop drops Val Kilmer in an alternate-universe existence
See full article at MUBI »

'Talk To Me' & 'Eve's Bayou' Helmer Kasi Lemmons To Adapt Zadie Smith's 'On Beauty'

Unless you're up on your British literary phenomenons, you're in the McSweeney's crowd, or you're studying fiction at Nyu, the name Zadie Smith might not be terribly familiar. Her first novel, the multi-cultural epic "White Teeth" caused a bidding war on the basis of an extract when the writer was only 22, and became an instant best-seller in 2000, a fate followed by her next two books, 2002's "The Autograph Man" and 2005's "On Beauty," the latter of which was nominated for the Booker Prize, the U.K.'s most prestigious literary award. But aside from a British TV miniseries version of "White Teeth," which showcased early turns from Naomie Harris and James McAvoy among others, Smith, who is currently a tenured professor of fiction at Nyu, is yet to have a big-screen film made of one of her works.

But that's about to change, as Deadline reports that Kasi Lemmons, the filmmaker behind "Eve's Bayou,
See full article at The Playlist »
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