Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inaugural Cinema Festival Begins Black History Month: ActNow, Council Member James & BAMcinematek

Inaugural Festival by Brooklyn-Based Film Organization Opens Up Black History Month 2011 at BAMcinèmatek

Brooklyn, NY - Fort Greene based ActNow Foundation, in conjunction with BAMcinématek and NYC Council Member Letitia James, presents a new film festival that directly reflects the wide spectrum of views and themes within the African diaspora communities in Brooklyn and beyond.

The New Voices in Black Cinema Festival is a multi-genre showcase of quality movies geared towards getting general and new audiences to appreciate Black independent film. Choosing excellence over spectacle and boldness over standard fare, this program pushes the gamut of showing how film explores Black society and provides exhibition to new voices, and existing ones.

Taking place February 4th to the 9th at BAM Rose Cinemas, this program is an extension of ActNow’s ongoing New Voices in Black Cinema screening series at BAMcinèmatek, which last summer premiered Idris Elba & Thomas Ikimi’s festival hit Legacy and in 2009 showed the stirring documentary on soul music legend Bill Withers, Still Bill. “This festival continues ActNow’s mission of giving independent filmmakers the opportunity to present their stories to audiences on a grand scale,” proclaims ActNow Executive Director Aaron Ingram. He continues, “Especially being in Brooklyn, they’ll be able to reach out to our borough’s diverse African diaspora and beyond.”

New Voices in Black Cinema features documentary films of cultural and socio-political significance like Coming Back For More (2009—Feb. 5 & 6), in which the search for reclusive soul music superstar Sly Stone takes documentary filmmaker & musician Willem Alkema on a memorable, musical journey of a lifetime. Heart of Stone (2009—screening Feb. 4 & 9), examines Newark’s Weequahic High School principal Ron Stone’s efforts in confronting the extra-violent gang problems in his school and the backlash from the once-proud Jewish alumni in what was once among the highest-rated schools in the USA and journalist Dream Hampton’s documentary Black August (2010—Feb. 4 & 6), showcases a grassroots movement’s efforts to raise awareness about political prisoners, featuring interviews with intellectuals and social activists such as Assata Shakur, as well as performances by Hip-Hop artists such as Brooklyn natives Mos Def and Talib Kweli.

The series also includes personal narrative films like Money Matters (2010—Feb. 7), award-winning filmmaker Ryan Richmond’s portrayal of a single mother and her teenage daughter, as well as Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us (2010—Feb. 4 & 7)—named one of the Best First Features in The Village Voice 2010 Film Critics’ Poll—starring Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington, about a former member of the Black Power movement returning home. Robert Heath’s SUS (2010—Feb. 4 & 7) a “sharply written, beautifully acted, and devastating critique of institutional racism,” (David Edwards, Daily Mirror) set entirely in a British interrogation room on election night in 1979, centers on two bigoted cops attempting to pin a murder on a man, played by Clint Dyer, who also produced.

The festival concludes on Feb. 9 with the ‘Brooklyn Block’ showcase of short films from local filmmakers, as well as a screening of Wendell B. Harris’ newly-restored Chameleon Street (1990—Feb. 9), inaugurating ActNow’s New Black Classics series. This race-examining satire based on the life of William Douglas Street, Jr.—played by the director himself—a Detroit con artist who successfully impersonated numerous professionals, became the first black film ever awarded Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize in 1990.

For more information about the New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival, please contact Curtis John at curtis@actnowproduction.org or Donnet Bruce at donnet@actnowproduction.org or (347) 274-0563 and go to www.ActNowproduction.org. The contact for Council Member Letitia James is Amyre Loomis at aloomis@council.nyc.gov, (718) 260-9191.

For press and more information on BAMcinèmatek , please contact:
Gabriele Caroti at 718.724.8024 / gcaroti@bam.org
Matthew Yeager at 718.636.4129x1 / myeager@bam.org

New Voices in Black Cinema schedule
Q&As with filmmakers at select screenings
Friday, February 4
2pm: Heart of Stone
4:30pm: SUS
6:50pm: Night Catches Us
9:30pm: Black August
Saturday, February 5
6:50pm: I Will Follow
9:30pm: Coming Back for More
Sunday, February 6
6:50pm: Coming Back for More
9:15pm: Black August
Monday, February 7
4:30pm: Night Catches Us
6:50pm: Money Matters
9:30pm: SUS
Wednesday, February 9
4:30pm: Heart of Stone
7pm: Brooklyn Block shorts
9:30pm: Chameleon Street

Website: www.actnowproduction.org
Blog: actnowfoundationfilmandtheater.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ActNowFoundation
Twitter: twitter.com/actnowfilmstage

General Information
BAM Rose Cinemas is located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place).
Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue;
D, M, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train: Long Island Railroad to Flatbush Avenue
Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM
Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM
For ticket and BAMbus information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit BAM.org.
For ticket information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit BAM.org.

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