AfroFuturism with Kibwe Tavares & Keguro Macharia

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:Read More »

#BlackArtRising, October 2012

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
10/13
!!! 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
10/13-10/14
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:
Alaskaland
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
La Playa DC
43000 feet
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?

From the Soundtrack: Beasts of the Southern Wild

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:

Watch Short Film: Tall Enough

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: