Jonah (trailer above) premiered at Sundance 2013. A synopsis of the film from its creators follows:
Mbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. These dreams become reality when they photograph a gigantic fish leaping out of the sea and their small town blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn’t what he dreamed – and when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive. Jonah is a big fish story about the old and the new, and the links and the distances between them. A visual feast, shot though with humour and warmth, it tells an old story in a completely new way.
The visuals alone captured my attention, but reading up on the director, Kibwe Tavares, got me excited. On the TED Blog, Tavares discusses the relationship between his training as an architect and the science fiction aesthetic of his films:
As an architect, you’re always thinking about the future, too. You build in narratives that are in the future, because you’re always thinking, “When I design a building, I’m designing it for what happens 10, 15 years into the future.” And when you start looking at the future, it’s hard not to have that kind of science-fiction element.
Tavares’ commentary took me back to my initial impression of the film trailer. Afrofuturistic.
Hopefully you haven’t grown too tired of the word’s (mis)use because I think it’s really important here, especially after I’ve read Keguro Macharia’s Imagine in Black. In the blog post, Macharia offers a parallel between our everyday lives and those in dystopia: Continue reading
Have you seen the latest from Ava DuVernay X Bradford Young? It’s 9 minutes of beautiful black womanhood in a short film described as “a celebration of the transformative power of feminine bonds”
And if you’ve enjoyed the music like I did*: Continue reading
I don’t know if every October is this packed with amazing art events, but I’m claiming October 2012 as a month of Black Art Rising because I’ll be supporting quite a few indie Black artists this month and I’m more than excited.
A few events in NYC I’d be at if I still lived there…
New York Film Festival
09/28 – 10/14
Punk in Africa would be on my agenda if I were in town. Check out the full schedule here.
Congo in Harlem 2
10/8 – 10/23
Two weeks of Congo-related films and events. Check out the details here.
Change the Mood: Africans Are Real Release Party
!!! Binyavanga Wainaina is DJing at this party!!! Apparently the incredibly talented writer also has some DJ skills or he’s going to completely wing it; either way I have a feeling it’s going to be good and I’m really annoyed I can’t be in NYC for this. Check out details here.
Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series
Byron Hurt’s Soul Food Junkies is the feature film and Sam Pollard is teaching a workshop. Check out full details and schedule here.
I hope all you New Yorkers enjoy these (and the million other art events going on this month)! Thankfully the Chicago art scene ain’t too bad. Here are a few things I’m planning to check out
Chicago Artist Month
THE WHOLE MONTH!!!
I just discovered this last night so I haven’t completely checked out the calendar but 20 Neighborhoods, a woman-centered exhibition with workshops looks interesting. All details here.
Chicago International Film Festival
10/11 – 10/25
A FEW of the films that are on my agenda:
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
La Playa DC
You can check out the full festival schedule here.
In other Chicago film news, Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere opens on the 19th at AMC River East and the Steve McQueen retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago opens (to the public) on the 21st (Shame & Hunger are screening on the 19th).
And on the music tip, there are a couple of Felabrations in the middle of the month and Nneka is performing on the 25th at Lincoln Hall!
Suffice it to say, I’m excited about October in the CHI! How about you; What’s going on in your city?
Whether its his use of silence or his amazing soundtracks, Barry Jenkins has a talent for pairing the right sounds with his visuals.
The song from his short film Tall Enough:
I’m sure many of you have already seen this trailer. I think some of the issues discussed in this film are overdone (I cringed a little with the “Can I touch your hair” scene) but this looks very well done. I’m looking forward to the release of this film
I usually post a review/reflection of a film before I post about the music but I’m somewhat ambivalent about Beasts of the Southern Wild. I like Hushpuppy, I like her relationship with her dad, I cried during the film, but something felt a bit off about how the story was told. For certain, it was not the music. Check out some of the songs from the film:
If you’d like to read recommendations/reflections of the film check out:
“An Unexpected, Enduring Lesson From Beasts of the Southern Wild” on Colorlines
“Magic, a Hushpuppy, and the Beasts of the Southern Wild” by P. Djeli Clark
*Update: Looks like the original video I posted has been removed. Here is a featurette on the music in the film:
So I’m supposed to be abstaining from films of the romantic kind but I was over at Colorlines checking out the new reality web-series K-Town. In considering comments from the show’s executive producer about the exaggerated stereotypes and the model minority that the media often portrays Asians as, I started to think about Barry Jenkins’s short film Tall Enough. As I said in the comments sections on the Colorlines article, Tall Enough was the first time I’d seen the Chinese language portrayed in a romantic way from an American filmmaker. It completely turned the presentation of Asian languages as comical on its head. Check it out below:
A synopsis from Shadow & Act:
The film centers on Tomas, an Afro-Colombian teenager struggling with the difficulties of growing up in a city (Bogota) of exclusion and racism against those who look like him; When his younger brother disappears, Tomas is forced to leave his home to look for him. With the help from his older brother Chaco, Tomas roams the city’s streets, as his search becomes more of a journey in which he’s forced to face his past, and to leave aside the influence of his brothers in order to find his own identity, all with the vibrancy and instability of a city in flux as the film’s backdrop.
For Creatives, a few places to submit your work:
Got a high-quality film with commercially appealing content? Consider submitting it to be screened at the Big Shade Tree Film Salon (a monthly film screening event in NYC).
Are you an African writer in the diaspora with an unpublished manuscript? Consider submitting to Kwani? Manuscript Project
From the Black Film Center/Archive: the African Media Center releases a call for papers on Evolving African Film Cultures
Reading & Writing:
Have you checked out AfricaBookClub.com? It’s a great resource for reading about contemporary African books and authors. They also have an online store.
I just finished reading my first Jamaica Kincaid novel, check out this interview she did with Mother Jones back in 1997.
Tayari Jones shares some facts about Artist Residencies
I like these writing prompts Tayari shares with Gotham Writers Workshop
I just finished Chapter 2 of Teju Cole’s Open City. His comments on The Last King of Scotland reminded me of this video:
Principal photography for Half of a Yellow Sun has begun!
The trailer for La Haine looks interesting, but from that alone, I can’t see a rip-off of Do the Right Thing… adding it to my to-view list.
Much gratitude to Nnedi Okorafor for sharing my post on Akata Witch, it brought a lot of traffic to my site and introduced me to other bloggers and writers. I’ve been taking my time checking out P. Djèlí Clark’s blog. There’s a lot of good stuff for sci-fi/fantasy fans and for writers of all genres.
From a Fall 2007 issue of Bomb Magazine, Edwidge Danticat interviews Juno Diaz
Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See. I’m not a regular reader of the New Yorker, but I found these covers to be quite provoking, especially this cover inspired by the assault of Abner Louima.
I’m in the midst of reading about recent Ghanaian history (1960s-current) so I was ecstatic to see The African Studies Library post a link to the African Activist Archive!
I enjoyed this video from The Love Project: