Trying to focus on a few titles for the sake of writing. Came up with these:
Badlands – dir. Terence Malick – 95min
Black Swan – dir. Darren Aronovsky – 108min
Chronicle – dir. Josh Trank – 83min
Contagion – dir. Steven Soderbergh – 106min
Dirty Pretty Things – dir. Stephen Frears – 97min
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – dir. Michel Gondry – 108min
Five Easy Pieces – dir. Bob Rafelson – 98min
The Following – dir. Christopher Nolan – 70min (thanks, Ayana)
Groundhog Day – dir. Harold Ramis – 101min
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints – dir. Dito Montiel – 98min
Hard Eight – dir. P.T. Anderson – 102min
Hunger – dir. Steve McQueen – 96min
Juice – dir. Ernest Dickerson – 100min
Kids – dir. Larry Clark – 91min (thanks, Cybel – gotta see)
The Limey – dir. Steven Soderbergh – 91min
El Mariachi – dir. Robert Rodriguez – 81min (yet to see)
Middle of Nowhere – dir. Ava Duvernay – 100min
Newlyweeds – dir. Shaka King – 87min (coming soon)
Notes on a Scandal – dir. Richard Eyre – 98min
Office Space – dir. Mike Judge – 89min
Pariah – dir. Dee Rees – 86min
Repulsion – dir. Roman Polanski – 106min
Requiem for a Dream – dir. Darren Aronovsky – 102min
Reservoir Dogs – dir. Quentin Tarantino – 99min
The Sessions – dir. Ben Lewin – 98min
Sex, Lies and Videotape – dir. Steven Soderbergh – 100min
Shame – dir. Steve McQueen – 101min
She’s Gotta Have It – dir. Spike Lee – 88min
Side Effects – dir. Steven Soderbergh – 105min
Sin Nombre – dir. Cary Fukunaga – 96min
Trainspotting – dir. Danny Boyle – 95min (thanks, Morgan)
Una Noche – dir. Lucy Mulloy – 100min
Weekend – dir. Andrew Haigh – 97min
Winter’s Bone – dir. Debra Granik – 100min
Wolf – dir. Ya’Ke Smith – 86min
Anyone have any they can think of that can be added to this list?
Casting for a new, ongoing film project that will run for several months, starting in May 2013. The production is in NYC.
All roles are for African-Americans except for that of Young Man #2.
Young Man – Early 20′s, Athletic, Student
Young Woman – Early-Mid 20′s, NY-based, Student
Young Man #2 – Early 20′s, Latino, NY-based, Student
Woman – Mid-late 30′s, Professional, Brooklyn/Long Island/Queens type
Man – Mid-late 30′s, Professional
*Certain roles will require nudity*
Compensation is TBD. Please send resumes, headshots and reels to email@example.com.
“It’s all about withstanding attrition.”
Let me first begin by saying, “I have a job, now.” “I HAVE A JOB, LIFE!”
HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Take that! ::kicks life in its smug face:: Smug fucker.
Sure, I have an avalanche of loans that threaten to overtake me at any moment and my credit is probably shot, but you know what? I’m still only 25. So there.
I’ve been working since December 10th and you know what? After damn near 4 years of scrounging through the streets of New York city trying to cobble together various sources of income, having to deal with the horrible bosses at the Apple Store and the various personal training gyms I’ve worked at, there is nothing better than relishing in the reassuring comfort that comes with knowing that all I come in at 9 and leave at 5, Monday-Friday, each and every week. Know what you can do with that kind of time? Why, one can plan things, and dream, and predict and schedule, why, one can really live! O, to live!
I got so damn excited about this new job I went and budgeted all of my income for an entire year. That’s a beautiful damn thing, and I am extremely grateful. I have a lot of projects planned, many which I intend to close out and several more than I plan to execute in various phases, over the course of this year. There’s also a bunch of very exciting things happening to folks in my camp, this year (http://www.cinemastereo.org/) as well to a lot our affiliated peoples.
Things I’ve Been Working On:
Mad (“several,” in NYC parlance) Feature Film Ideas. I’ve been working on one in particular as many as my comrades know, for like, 2 years, now. I don’t know how good of a writer I am (I mean, I think I’m generally pretty good) but I feel like I’m good enough to make something feature-length that most people would probably dig quite a bit.
A Webseries – My comrades-in-arms don’t want me talking about this, and we’re definitely going to have to keep it on the hush, but…it’s an idea we developed about 2 years ago that we’re all thinking about executing, and honestly, if we can pull it off in the right way, I definitely have high hopes. Planning to get started over the course of the next few weeks and I am MAD excited.
Still shipping my short “Frisk,” around to festivals around the country. Some people dig it, other people don’t, but I’m proud that I did it and tried something a bit more ambitious than anything I’d ever attempted before.
Where I’m At (Full of asides and what not, but you’ve already come this far):
Been trying to raise money for the feature for several months, now, but in this economic climate, it is TOUGH. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and a lot of people really dig the concept, but trying to raise the kind of money that I need for this piece, (which, actually isn’t very much at all for an independent feature) has been a real challenge. I don’t want to shelve it and I’m waiting to hear back from some grant applications, but honestly, I might have to rotate this one out for a second and see if I can get some traction with another piece. But with that said, I am in the process of writing two other pieces (I’m honestly trying to write a new one every few months, as much as I can tolerate doing so and not lose my mind.) It’s funny, ’cause most of my friends and colleagues have this attitude where the mantra seems to be, “well, yes, you’ve written it, but is it good? Is it good?” And for me, I’ve got to say, nothing is EVER good when you first draft it. Even Hemingway was reputed to say, “the first draft of anything is shit.” But one can’t ever get to BE good unless they give themselves a shot at first being bad. Fortunately, when you haven’t shot anything yet, you have all the time in the world to revise, so if you have a good idea, why not get that BAD DRAFT out of the way, so that you can get cracking on how to make the others better? I’m seeing a lot of these films that are coming out in theaters these days, and I gotta say, I honestly think a lot of us (in fact a lot of people) could really have a shot in this current market. (Connections, money, drive, etc. are another story) but the bar is LOW. (Do I aspire to make anything of poor quality? No. But I do aspire to MAKE something.)
Speaking of which, Woody Allen, Spike, Soderbergh, Scorsese, Oliver Stone, etc. etc. etc. there all so many prolific filmmakers who have made like 20+ movies and either write the majority of their own stuff or exercise a STRONG hand in the formation of whatever material they plan to work with. Every once in a while, you’re going to have a dud. (Obviously you’d never intend to make a dud and would go into development with the desire to make each film as AWESOME as possible, but no one can deny the talents of those I’ve listed above, who have all, at one point or another, made at least one not-so-great movie.) But still, even in considering their worst, right, no one sensible would be inclined to begrudge these folks the occasionally capricious impulse to stretch their creative limbs in some experimental fashion or, after observing the worst of their oeuvres (one of those words I’ve read but never pronounced) declare that they lack talent, vision, or general awesomeness. So yeah. For the sake of being lofty, I think proliferation should be the goal, regardless. But that’s just me.
Anyway–I’m out ‘chere writing these scripts (looking to complete at least one-two/year, if possible) trying to see if I can squirm my way through the NYC scene and maybe sell a few (ha), direct one of my own (would be cool), maybe shoot some music videos, who knows. Anything that will give me more of an opportunity to direct, make some money and keep it moving. I’d really like to get this one feature (All The Wrong Places) off the ground in the next 12-18 months and I plan to keep hustling, but if it doesn’t happen, I’ll rotate something else into the queue.
But in the meantime, I’mma be going to the gym and eating quinoa (trying to get back here), pushing this short “Frisk,” and trying to keep these projects moving. Ain’t nothing to it but to do it. So fuck it.
Please, Stop Complaining About Black Movies and Hollywood and Actually Support, Mobilize or Make Some Shit (If You’re Not Doing So, Already) A Very Open Letter
A rant meant to respond to certain trends that I’ve seen in social media, recently, particularly with respect to online discussions of African-Americans involved in the film industry, Black movies, movies about Black people, movies about Black people that people think should feature or be directed by other people, or whatever.
To be specific, I’m discussing the vitriol surrounding the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone and the alleged replacement of Tate Taylor “over” Spike Lee for the upcoming James Brown biopic to be produced by Brian Grazer and Mick Jagger.
There are a number of people who (for various reasons) are discussing these talent attachments (or detachments) throughout social media as though they are further emblematic of Black people/Black images/Black voices being slighted/downplayed/diminished in the America entertainment industry.
Not only have there been a slew of complaints but there has also been an UPROAR:
- People that (purportedly) feel like Zoe Saldana is not dark-skinned enough or “authentically Black enough” to play Nina Simone.
- People that (purportedly) feel that Spike Lee “deserves” to direct the James Brown biopic because of the fact that he was reportedly attached to helm the project with Brian Grazer, first.
Whether or not such opinions/discussions are valid, the question that always lingers in my mind whenever such spirited conversations take place, (particularly for the bevy of Black bloggers that love to engage in them) is, well, to what extent are you, yourself, supporting and providing forums to UPLIFT Black filmmakers, actors and other talent, that actually have work out, and actually have work coming out?
Whenever one of these stories breaks (e.g. Zoe Saldana, Spike Getting Passed Over, etc., George Lucas being lame for allegedly watering down “Red Tails,” BET just sucking in general), it always seems as though all this fuss is directed at Hollywood, but I can’t help but wonder why it seems that we comparably have so little grassroots/social media energy being directed toward actually UPLIFTING shit that is ACTUALLY IN the movie theaters, at present (or is actually coming out) particularly from bloggers that are such purported champions of Black culture.
A Critical Aside: I'm not at all suggesting that Hollywood shouldn't be taken to task as a result of its ongoing (and arguably increasing) lack of diversity with regard to who is being hired, who is working in the industry and who is getting to helm/star in certain kinds of stories, but for how long have we known that this is the case?
How long have we known, collectively, that Hollywood is largely disinterested in developing movies that are about, featuring or portraying certain people of color? And I'm not just talking about Black people, but anyone that is non-White. Like, how long have we known this? Again, I'm not suggesting that we should not complain, or that criticism of the industry is wrong, but if you look at the film industry as a business and as a market, I think it's fair to say that, particularly within the past several years (5-12 years), the American film industry has largely grown tired of:
- movies featuring casts that are largely Non-White
- films that aren't directed toward young males, aged 18-24
- non-franchises, or anything that's not a horror-suspense-thriller
- films that are made for adults.
Knowing this, I wonder if we, the complaining people (and particularly, the outspoken Black Bloggers, with 5-10K+ Twitter Followers and huge social media followings) could take some different routes in the spirit of effecting change:
(Side Note: These suggestions are offered with the presumption that many of the more interesting Black movies of today are being developed within the American independent film community.)
My Suggestions for Being Proactive and Effecting Change:
a) Make a movie of your own. Do it. If Tyler Perry does it, you can do that shit, too.
b) When an Independent Black movie does come out (however you want to define “Black movie”) maybe you’ll want to provide an “open letter” on your Blog to actually highlight the release of that film.
Maybe you could even do a write-up on the talent (director, producer, actors) attached, how the film got made, or other pertinent and interesting details related to the background of the production.
b) Maybe you, yourself, will reach into your vast network of viewers/listeners/supporters and make a concerted effort to develop an institution/group that is interested in cultivating new, Black films, particularly of the ilk that you would like to see.
There is a shit ton of money in the African-American community and there are a hell of a lot people that actually want to see authentic stories about Black people and other people of color. Maybe you could ask yourself, “gee, might there be any way that I can dip into my tremendous network of online followers and see if I can suss out some people with disposable income that might be interested in getting involved in crowdfunding efforts for independent films, making investments or doing other things to get some of the stories that I want to see made?”
c. If your social media brand has some kind of event component, maybe you could even organize an event in which you highlight a film (or films) that people might not have otherwise heard of.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting Independently-Produced African-American films out to prospective audiences, in this day and age, is the fact that, when these films are released to theaters, often times they are done in the form of a limited theatrical release (500 theaters or less at a time) in cities around the country where only a small, heavily-aware, urban audience (e.g. L.A., NYC, ATL, PHIL, etc) can go and see them. At the same time, there are a hell of lot of Black folks across the country that might actually be interested in seeing these very same movies, but might be unaware that they exist or who might live miles away from the theaters that actually play them.
Are there ways in which your social media brand might be able to be used to continue to cultivate buzz for such films throughout various stages of their release (theatrical, video-on-demand, DVD/Netflix/iTunes, Hulu, etc)?
Furthermore, are there ways in which you, yourself ,might actually be able to organize events in which people could have access to seeing these movies, across the country?
d) Right now, there are a number of independent “Black movies” (featuring, directed/written by, funded by and or dealing with issues relating to Black people) that are in various stages of release that you might actually want to highlight. (If I’ve left your film off the list, my apologies. These have just been on my mind, recently, but you can often find many more on Shadow and Act).
Beasts of a Southern Wild – dir. Benh Zeitlin (in theaters, right fucking now)
The Girl is In Trouble – dir. Julius Onah (playing various festivals, not yet released)
The House I Live In – dir. Eugene Jarecki (in theaters, right fucking now)
The Interrupters – dir. Steve James (currently playing, online)
The Last Fall – dir. Matthew Cherry (currently playing in L.A.)
Luv – dir. Sheldon Candis (coming soon)
Middle of Nowhere – dir. Ava Duvernay (in theaters, right fucking now, across America)
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty – dir. Terence Nance (playing various festivals)
Pariah – dir. Dee Rees (on DVD/Netflix, etc. right fucking now)
Red Hook Summer – dir. Spike Lee (likely coming to DVD/Netflix, etc., soon)
Slavery by Another Name – dir. Sam Pollard (currently playing, online)
Soul Food Junkies – dir. Byron Hurt (coming soon to PBS, probably going to air online, simultaneously)
Wolf - dir. Ya’Ke Smith (limited screenings, nationwide, right fucking now)
Yelling to the Sky dir. Victoria Mahoney (coming soon)
In summation, I’m not saying that we should NEVER complain about the industry, but got damn, when we have known for the longest time about the state of Hollywood, why are we not doing more to take some of the energy that we use to complain about the status quo and direct/invest it in alternative solutions that might actually be more productive?
Just be the change you wanna see. On some lofty shit.
“This industry is not made for us” – (paraphrased from Idris Elba)