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5 items from 2017

Anika Noni Rose Joins Thriller ‘Assassination Nation’ (Exclusive)

19 April 2017 6:44 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Anika Noni Rose has been cast in the thriller “Assassination Nation” as the mother of the characters played by Abra and Suki Waterhouse.

Assassination Nation” follows four teenage girls in a small suburb who become the focus of unwanted, world-wide media attention after their personal information is leaked by an anonymous hacker. Odessa Young and Hari Nef play the two other teenagers.

Rose will portray an attractive woman with terrible taste in men, who has an unfortunate reputation in the conservative town of Salem. When the mysterious hacker outs her for her various affairs with the town’s married men, she faces scorn, public ridicule and downright abuse from the outraged citizenry.

Sam Levinson, whose credits include “Another Happy Day” and HBO’s upcoming “Wizard of Lies,” is helming from his own screenplay.

Producers are Foxtail Entertainment co-founders and partners Matthew Malek and Anita Gou, and Phantom Four partners David Goyer and Kevin Turen. »

- Dave McNary

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Finding the Balance: Crowdfunding Picks

6 April 2017 7:02 AM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

“Architect Blues”

If you’re an avid reader of Women and Hollywood (and if you’re not, welcome!) the disparities between men and women in the film industry are of no surprise. These seemingly never-ending statistics are why projects that acknowledge, question, and challenge the status quo are so crucial; art can rapidly tip the slow scale of reality. This particular ensemble of projects explores balance — or lack thereof — in its many varying forms.

Like other recent crowdfunding projects, Arnetta Randall’s “Who Owns My Body?” explores “women’s bodily autonomy in today’s political climate.” This documentary, however, specifically focuses on black women and their unique experiences — a notion that still comes under attack, even in feminist circles. By doing so, Randall envisions this documentary as a necessary spotlight on the black female experience, as well as a potential line of communication between white and black feminists.

“Architect Blues,” a short film written by Adrianna Cherelle, is more introspective, but it, too, celebrates the strength and resilience of black women. It is dedicated to black women who are trying to find their inner selves while continuing to lift others up.

Choreographer Jinah Parker looks to build a universal community as a means of healing from trauma and pain in “She.” One in three women fall victim to some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime. Parker, who also founded the Jinah Parker Project, explores this epidemic, its effects, and its possible solutions through a theatrical experience rich in multimedia storytelling.

Comedy web series “UnCorked” instead strives to even out the industry playing field — the porn industry, that is. This all-female team “calls shenanigans” on the notion that “sex, desire, and love are the sole purview of the gorgeous, the young, and the thin.” In doing so, “UnCorked” offers female characters who take their own desire — and by extension, lives — into their own hands.

Finally, it goes without saying that gender imbalance still exists in the comic genre. But, did you know that “in the Golden and Silver Ages of comics, there was an abundance of female heroes who headlined their own comic strips?” That’s exactly what “Her-Pow! New Adventures of Vintage Heroines” would like to remind us of — with a contemporary flare, of course. By bringing three vintage heroines back to life, Dawn Alden and her team aim to remind Hollywood that Wonder Woman was, at one time, far from an anomaly.

Here are our women-created and women-centric crowdfunding picks for April 2017.

“Architect Blues” (Short) — Written and Produced by Adrianna Cherelle

Adrianna Cherelle’s short film began as “form of therapy and love letter to [herself].” It follows graduate student Imara Jones as she’s hit with a case of “architect blues”: An introspective state that forces her to realize that the only life she hasn’t worked on is her own. As she observes the black women around her, Imara must decide whether or not she is ready to construct her own blueprint. According to Cherelle, this film is an “homage to all of the black women who put their jobs, family, love life, and worldly issues before their own personal health and self-realization.

Help “Architect Blues” explore the true meaning of #BlackGirlMagic by donating to its campaign on Seed&Spark.

“She” (Theatrical Experience) — Created and Choreographed by Jinah Parker

“She”: My Creative Photography

Jinah Parker’s “She” has been described as an amalgam of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” and Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls.” This theatrical experience employs spoken word, music, video, and dance to “highlight… one of the major human rights issues of the 21st century: gender violence.” Specifically, Parker focuses on “sexual violence, Sandra Bland, and healing,” and she does so through a communal lens.

“She” debuted in New York City last spring to a sold-out house. Now, Parker intends to bring her transformative work back to the Big Apple before taking it on the road to different states and various college campuses.

Check out how “She” needs your help by visiting its GoFundMe page.

UnCorked” (Web Series) — Written by Mandy Turpin, Lisa K. Wyatt, Debbie Pollack, Tiffany Jeneen, Laura Carson, and Christina Donnelly

The fictitious characters of “UnCorked” are here to expose the real-life sex industry for what it truly is: “A load of bunk.” This web series follows six wine-loving women as they trade in their Jane Austen book club to produce porn. Unlike other products from this male-dominated, male-centric industry, their porn is “tasteful, elegant, and made with their needs in mind.”

Through a comedic premise, “UnCorked” explores the complexities of female desire, and, more importantly, it does so in a collective fashion. Each team member took the lead on her respective episode, promoting female camaraderie as opposed to competition. If you ask us, it sounds like this project aims to debunk more than just the porn industry.

Help the “UnCorked” team reach its goal during the final hours of their Seed&Spark campaign.

“Her-Pow! New Adventures of Vintage Heroines!” (Short Film Series) — Written by Dawn Alden, Stina Pederson, and Tracy Schmetterer; Produced by Angela Acuna

“Her-Pow! New Adventures of Vintage Heroines!” — led by Vicarious Films founder Dawn Alden — is a triple threat to say the least. Alden and her team intend on bringing not one, but three female comic heroines back to life in film form. Unlike their source material, these shorts, which showcase The Woman in Red, The Veiled Avenger, and Ghost Woman, “will feature ethnically diverse casts that are either gender balanced or skew female” and are Lgtbq inclusive.

Female directors, cinematographers, and characters will bring these action-packed, female-centric stories to life. Down the road, Alden hopes that “Her-Pow!” will evolve into a feature or web series.

Help bring these heroines back to fight another day on Seed&Spark.

“Who Owns My Body?” (Documentary) — Written and Directed by Arnetta Randall

As writer-director Arnetta Randall emphasizes, “feminism has become a widespread movement, but not necessarily an inclusive movement.” By specifically focusing on the black women, this feature-length documentary aims to provide a side of the conversation that, time and time again, mainstream feminism tends to overlook.

“Who Owns My Body?” stresses the need for intersectionality whilst breaking down the multifaceted nature of body image, sexuality, and reproductive rights. Alongside other issues, Randall explores the politicizing of black hair, the correlation between race and sexual violence, and black motherhood through conversations with ordinary women and scholars, animation, and multimedia. By providing a voice for this “gravely marginalized group,” her work aims to “inform, entertain, and empower.”

Help “Who Owns My Body?” explore female autonomy by contributing to its Kickstarter campaign.

To be considered for Women and Hollywood’s biweekly crowdfunding feature, please write to All formats (features, shorts, web series, etc.) are welcome. Projects must be by and/or about women.

Finding the Balance: Crowdfunding Picks was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Kelsey Moore

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The Real Scandal Is How Amazing Kerry Washington Has Always Looked

30 January 2017 12:50 PM, PST | | See recent Popsugar news »

Kerry Washington has been on our radar since the early 2000s, when she graced the screen as single mom Chenille in Save the Last Dance (such a classic). Since then, she's starred in critically acclaimed films like Ray, For Colored Girls, and Django Unchained and has us completely captivated with her role as Olivia Pope on the ABC hit show Scandal, for which she's received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. Off screen, Kerry's life has been pretty golden as well; she and husband Nnamdi Asomugha welcomed their daughter Isabelle in April 2014, and became parents again when their son Caleb was born in October 2016. Like the rest of us, Kerry fell victim to some of the more unfortunate fashion trends in the 2000s - like denim maxi skirts, woven belts, and skinny scarves - but she's clearly come out on the other side. In addition to her fashion prowess, Kerry has a megawatt smile, »

- Brittney Stephens

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Black Panther Gets Cosby Show Mom Phylicia Rashad

10 January 2017 3:27 PM, PST | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

It was said early on about Black Panther that the cast would be 90-percent African-American and that it would be "among the best ensembles" of any movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige definitely set the expectations high, but he and director Ryan Coogler seem to be delivering on those promises so far. Now it looks like yet another very encouraging actress may be joining the cast in the form of Emmy nominee Phylicia Rashad.

The potential casting didn't come from anyone official, like Marvel Studios or Ryan Coogler, but another new cast member seemingly spilled the beans. This is Us star Sterling K. Brown recently landed a role for himself in Black Panther and in an interview with The Undefeated, he named dropped Phylicia Rashad. Here is what he had to say.

"I just worked with Chad on a film called Marshall, about Thurgood Marshall. He's such a »

- MovieWeb

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BAFTA Nominations: A Good Day for Ken Loach and ‘La La Land,’ Less So for Diversity

10 January 2017 2:03 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

There was a time, way back in the mists of the 20th century, when you wouldn’t have looked to the BAFTAs to confirm any predictions you had about the upcoming Academy Awards — not least because they took place comfortably after the Oscars, happily marching to their own beat not just in terms of scheduling, but voting too. Those were days when “Jean de Florette” and “The Commitments” won Best Picture, while Wim Wenders could sneak in a Best Director win for “Paris, Texas.”

They’re also very much over: Since 2001, when BAFTA jumped back to precede the Academy’s shindig, they’ve embraced their Oscar precursor status, gravitating almost exclusively around films and artists with awards buzz echoing from across the Atlantic, and giving mostly short shrift to Britain’s own independent cinema.

This morning’s BAFTA nominations see them largely stick to that system, albeit with some key »

- Guy Lodge

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