Wednesday, November 11, 2015

'Nother Brother Now Stands with ARRAY

Today we're proud to announce that we're partnering with ARRAY!

ARRAY is the rebirth of the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) Founded by filmmaker Ava DuVernay in 2010.

We are an independent film distribution and resource collective comprised of arts advocacy organizations, Maverick volunteers and Rebel member donors worldwide.

Our work is dedicated to the amplification of independent films by people of color and women filmmakers globally. Varied voices and images in cinema: Array now!

As you can tell by the many posts on this blog we have always believed in the mission of ARRAY (even when it was AFFRM) and now 'Nother Brother Entertainment is bringing the mission to Baltimore!

Our inaugural screening will be this Saturday of the film Ayanda.

As the graphic says, you can get INFO+TIX at the ARRAY webpage @ 

On their website you can also read about their other offering OUT OF MY HAND, which we are planning to screen here in Baltimore in early December. 

See all of our posts about ARRAY/AFFRM by clicking their logo below

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Aiming to diversify storytelling, Ava DuVernay expands scope of film distribution collective
By Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times

September 8, 2015

Just a few years before Ava DuVernay's beautifully realized civil rights drama "Selma" took her to the Oscars and the Golden Globes, the director found herself wondering whether her debut feature, the intimate character study "I Will Follow," would ever see the light of day.

"I knew no studio or indie distributor was going to want it," DuVernay says. "It was too woman, too indie, too outside what could make a dollar for them."

Taking matters into her own hands, DuVernay started the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a distribution collective designed to put her movie — and others to follow — in front of audiences. The grass-roots company went on to release two movies a year.

Now, five years later and after what she calls a post-"Selma" "identity crisis," DuVernay has decided to double down on that effort, announcing Tuesday that she's rebranding the company and relaunching it as Array, broadening its scope to support and help women and more kinds of filmmakers.

"There's a generation of filmmakers of color and women whose primary concern is that no one will see their work," DuVernay says. "And that is a huge barrier. They're asking, 'Why make something if no one will see it?'

"Right now, there is a fundamental disrespect inherent in the distribution and amplification of films. There is a cinema segregation in how films are seen and not seen. What we're saying is, we're not going to depend on those things anymore."

DuVernay doubled her company's membership to around 1,200 donors during a drive in May that saw her taking to Twitter, organizing a daylong question-and-answer session between black filmmakers and fans. Supporters include longtime collaborators such as actor David Oyelowo as well as Jessica Chastain and Kerry Washington.

Array has two films set for release this fall: South African director Sara Blecher's coming-of-age drama "Ayanda and the Mechanic" and Takeshi Fukunaga's debut feature, "Out of My Hand." Last week, USC graduate Tina Mabry's first film, "Mississippi Damned," a dark family drama that won acclaim on the festival circuit after its debut at Slamdance in 2009, won new life on Netflix through a partnership with Array.

Mabry's movie had premiered in Park City the day after Lee Daniels' daring, distinguished drama "Precious." Sales reps told Mabry that the market couldn't support two black films, no matter that they were very different movies.

"That was a big blow," Mabry says. "Those meetings were tough. You had to navigate how to hold your tongue and still express the shortsightedness of how people were looking at your movie and the marketplace in general."

A week after its rebirth on Netflix, Mabry says she has been blown away by the response from people discovering her film six years after its premiere.

"It's a lifesaver. It really is," Mabry says. "Audiences can't watch something if they don't know it exists. Now with Netflix we're finding the people we wanted to reach in the first place."

That's emblematic of the sea change happening within the movie industry. When DuVernay made "I Will Follow" — a film chronicling a woman's grief over the death of a loved one during a single day — she was adamant that the movie play in theaters. She made a deal with AMC and "browbeat" art house programmers to book her movie.

Now, with the likes of Cary Fukunaga's highly anticipated drama "Beasts of No Nation" premiering next month on Netflix — on the same day it will be released in a handful of theaters — DuVernay says she has become "destination agnostic." Array will rely on theatrical distribution as well as new streaming platforms.

"The consumer is deciding what they want to see and when and how, and filmmakers are more aware and accepting of the fact that success is not predicated on your movie showing in a traditional theater for a certain amount of time," she says. "[Steven] Soderbergh's doing a TV series on Cinemax. Skinemax? Really? Jill Soloway, who won the Sundance directing award the year after I did, is making 'Transparent' on ... Amazon? The place I buy books? But now, as long as it's in a place where people can grab it — and different people want to grab it in different ways — it doesn't matter."
Though new platforms have created opportunity, the number of women and minority filmmakers remains startlingly low. A 2013 USC research study, for instance, found that of the 565 directors of top-grossing movies from 2007-12, just 33 were black. And of those, only two were black women. (There hasn't been a similar study tracking smaller, independent movies.)

Keeping momentum going and growing — Array aims to significantly boost the number of films it releases beyond the original company's two a year — has required a commitment of both time and money from its founder. Since "Selma," DuVernay has created, written and directed an upcoming TV series, "Queen Sugar," for the Oprah Winfrey Network, shot a series of commercials and begun work on a timely documentary.

She's holding off on publicly sharing details about the latter project, though over a recent breakfast, DuVernay was happy to talk about her next feature, a murder-mystery love story set during Hurricane Katrina that she's now writing and will shoot next spring with Oyelowo.

Discussing her decision to pass on directing the Marvel Comics movie "Black Panther," however, holds little appeal. It simply wasn't a story she was interested in telling, she says. And it wasn't hard to say no. Just as, ultimately, recommitting to help distribute movies that allow people of color and women to see themselves on screen was an enterprise she couldn't abandon.

"There are all kinds of problems in Hollywood that need to be fixed, but this is one I can do something about because I have the experience," DuVernay says. "And, I have to tell you, it satisfies me immensely."

See all of our posts about ARRAY/AFFRM by clicking their logo below

Friday, August 28, 2015

Straight Outta Compton - Review

Straight Outta Compton

Directed by F. Gary Gray
Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff
Story by S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Produced by Ice Cube, Tomica Woods-Wright, Matt Alvarez, F. Gary Gray, Scott Bernstein and Dr. Dre

Cinematography by Matthew Libatique

O'Shea Jackson, Jr. as Ice Cube
Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre
Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E
Aldis Hodge as MC Ren
Neil Brown, Jr. as DJ Yella
Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller
Keith Stanfield as Snoop Dogg
R. Marcus Taylor as Suge Knight

Released: August 14, 2015 (USA)

Summary: Story about the rise and fall of the Compton, California hip hop group N.W.A and borrows its title from the name of N.W.A's 1988 debut studio album.

Review: The first thing I thought about this film was “wow, they got it right!” They managed to include all the pertinent facts about the rap group that I knew and was privy to (through the media) as it happened.

I had all the albums, read all the articles and they managed to include it all–with gritty realism. The movie starts out the gate showing raw, real hood life and continued to do so throughout while depicting all the pivotal moments in the group’s history. If you didn’t know anything about N.W.A. as I’ve read some people say, this film is a good starting point.

From Left to Right: O'Shea Jackson, Jr. (Ice Cube), Neil Brown, Jr. (DJ Yella) and Aldis Hodge (M.C. Ren). 

The performances throughout were terrific. I was surprised at how good O'Shea Jackson, Jr., as his real life dad Ice Cube, was. I also really liked Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr. as MC Ren and as DJ Yella respectfully.

From Left to Right: Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre) and Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E)

The standouts in the cast though were Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E. Both actors were terrific in their roles and really anchored the film. Both actors were pretty much unknown and gave what I think are the pivotal performances of their careers. With these crucial roles you needed really good actors to sell the story and they did.

The director, F. Gary Gray did a terrific job at not only making sure he cast the right actors for these roles, but that the overall tone was realistic. He had to cut down his film from over 3 hours to the eventual 2 hours and 27 minutes, but still retained the essence of the rise and fall of one of most influential rap groups in history. Of course he couldn’t tell everything, but what he did tell was pretty damned good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Three Black Directors with Aisha Tyler

As a multi-hyphenate that includes being an actor and comedian Aisha Tyler would appreciate this blog entry title. On separate episodes of her show, she sits down with three black directors to discuss any and everything, starting with their upbringing and ending with their careers. Through her podcast, Girl on Guy she has conversations with various people in entertainment, sports etc and these are three conversations with black directors that I found very illuminating.

The conversations are ALL THE WAY LIVE as they are loose with the language and the stories. I discovered her podcast through a podcast and she is great. You can hear Aisha’s extreme intelligence as well as her crass humor. Every convo is like one you’d have at a party or get-together over drinks.

Check out the podcasts below.

Paris Barclay
Girl On Guy 139: Paris Barclay
From May 13, 2014

“The way that I conquer fear is I don’t conquer it. I never conquer it. It doesn’t go away. I just keep walking. I just keep doing what I’m supposed to do until I realize I’m not afraid anymore.”

Join Sons Of Anarchy director and Director’s Guild of America President Paris Barclay and Aisha as they burn through weaponizing your name, having nothing to count on, making the tile, having too much hope, flunking out of Harvard before you begin, explosive parties, shooting L.L. Cool J, getting derbrided, and being a real life mad man. Plus, Paris ends his long, illustrious love affair with alcohol, and finds a new love in the process.

Listen to the podcast below

John Ridley
Girl On Guy 175: John Ridley
From March 10, 2015

“Everything good that came out of my career was out of the absolute worst moment… if this is as bad as it’s going to get, I’m not crossing the Edmund Pettus bridge… I’ve still got a computer. Go write some shit.”

Join Oscar-winning screenwriter (of Twelve Years a Slave), novelist, director and showrunner of American Crime John Ridley  and Aisha as they chop up polymathy, relentlessness, optimism, restraint, prolificacy, intractability and radical creative flexibility.

Listen to the podcast below

Eric Dickerson
Girl On Guy Bonus X20: Ernest Dickerson
From Oct 31, 2013

Join director Ernest Dickerson and Aisha as they slice through drawing movies, urban myths, pulling all nighters, medical horrors, meeting John Sayles, rainy days on the film set, why first days are the hardest, protecting your film, creative desperation, zombie creation, and why every film is terrifying. Plus Ernest gets lucky in DC, and Aisha is mentally scarred for life by a certain Japanese film.

Unfortunately, this is a premium episode, which requires a subscription to access it. But I think it is WELL WORTH  the “price of admission”. I think the subscriptions are reasonable too (Girl On Guy - 30 day subscription for $ 1.99 USD, 6 month subscription for $ 4.99 USD and 1 year subscription for $ 8.99 USD)

Ernest drops some real jewels of wisdom here, hence why you have to pay for it. LOL

Read more about the podcast here

Monday, June 29, 2015

'Do The Right Thing' 25th Anniversary in Brooklyn

A year ago today I went back home to Brooklyn for the 25th anniversary screening of Do The Right Thing with Spike Lee and cast and crew in attendance. Before that I’ve seen Do The Right Thing many times before, but never on the big screen and this was quite the experience.

First of all this was my first time in actual Brooklyn in like forever. I’ve been to New York plenty of times, but not in Brooklyn. My family moved to Queens and I would go to see them. When I saw this screening advertised online I knew I had to be there!

BAMcinématek and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences present this 25th anniversary celebration of Spike Lee's masterpiece, presented on the Steinberg Screen at the BAM Harvey Theater. In this landmark Brooklyn classic, the streets of Bed-Stuy boil and tensions run high on the hottest day of the year. Loaded with an amazing supporting cast (including Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro, and Rosie Perez) and music by Public Enemy, Do the Right Thing swings effortlessly from satire to social commentary, and 25 years after its controversial release it remains an important cultural touchstone for a very different Brooklyn.—BAMcinématek
In attendance at were actors from the film Rosie Perez, Danny Aiello, Bill Nunn, Joi Lee, Rick Aiello, Production Designer Wynn Thomas, Line Producer John Kilik and Editor Barry Brown and of course Writer/Director Spike Lee.

Ironically, I had a chance to see Do The Right Thing twice more on the big screen since then. The last time a week after the Baltimore riots (which was a surreal moment) at the 2015 Maryland Film Festival. Of the subsequent times I’ve seen it, I have to say that the Brooklyn screening was the LIVEST!

After they announced the cast and crew of the screening and Spike Lee made his introduction, the audience ERUPTED in cheers as Rosie Perez danced in the opening credits.

The biggest cheer came the first time Ruby Dee came on the screen. Ruby Dee died just 18 days before this screening. Of course the next big cheer came when Ossie Davis first appeared on screen. The cheering never occurred in the subsequent screening. I knew I was home in Brooklyn.

Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis

The audience laughed at exactly what they were supposed to laugh at, but the BIGGEST laughs came from every scene with "the corner men" anchored by the late great Robin Harris.

After the screening they had a Q&A with the cast and crew
From right to left: Dr. Khalil Gibran interviewed Spike Lee, Rosie Perez, Danny Aiello, Bill Nunn, Joie Lee and Rick Aiello at BAM's Harvey Theater in Fort Greene on Sunday night for the 25th anniversary of Do The Right Thing. Photo by Rob Abruzzese.

Here's a slideshow of press pics of the night

I went to New York for the whole day and had a great time seeing friends and family, but it was special to be at this screening of my favorite Spike Lee Joint with the cast and crew and very special to be back home in Brooklyn.
Pic I took that day June 29, 2014

Below you can see two clips from the Q&A I was proud to be there to witness.

In this first clip Production Designer Wynn Thomas, film editor Barry Alexander Brown and Line Producer Jon Kilik discuss the making of Do the Right Thing.

This clip is an edit of the entire Q&A

Read more of my posts about Spike Lee here

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ARRAY TODAY - Twitter takeover

Today THIS event is happening
See all of our posts about AFFRM @ 


Ava DuVernay offers a free education on how to buck Hollywood

Ava DuVernay, director of the film “Selma,” in November. (Chris Pizzello/Invision via Associated Press)
Ava DuVernay, director of the Academy Award-nominated film “Selma,” spent all of this Wednesday amplifying the voices of black film directors — 42 of them, in fact. Through her company, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, DuVernay and her staff organized a “Rebel-A-Thon” conversation on Twitter that served as both a fundraiser (AFFRM donors are referred to as Rebels) and a marathon question-and-answer session between directors and fans. All of the funds raised through AFFRM Rebel membership contributions help make independent black films available to wider audiences:

Wednesday’s Rebel-A-Thon was star-studded: Everyone from mainstream, veteran moguls such as Oprah, Tyler Perry and Debbie Allen to younger indie directors such as  Nailah Jefferson (“Vanishing Pearls”), Shaka King (“Newlyweeds”) and Tanya E. Hamilton (“Night Catches Us”) participated. A common theme among participating directors was the idea that upstart filmmakers should “just do it,” rather than waiting to be asked to make their art. When asked about resource texts for studying the filmmaking craft, “Medicine for Melancholy” director Barry Jenkins responded that he’d recommend actual shooting experience over textbooks:

Neema Barnette (“Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day”) seconded that, encouraging aspiring directors to take the low-budget route and to use social media to their advantage:

Most fan and film student queries centered on getting one’s foot in the filmmaking door, financing film ideas and distributing their work once complete. Many came into the conversation seeking solutions to greenlighting challenges and strategies for navigating a relatively white Hollywood community. Their concerns were well-founded: The University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism’s widely circulated 2013 study on Hollywood diversity found that “Across 565 directors of the top-grossing films from 2007-2012, only 33 (5.8%) are Black. This translates into a ratio of over 16 non Black directors working to every 1 Black director. There are only 2 Black females who directed a film across the 500 movies in the sample.”

These numbers were a backdrop to Wednesday’s conversation, as participating directors didn’t waste much time reiterating them before offering suggestions on how to change those ratios. Debbie Allen suggested the Web as a viable alternative for new filmmakers:

Many new black directors have already gotten the memo on the viability of the black Web series, as our own Soraya McDonald reported in her profile of Web production company Black & Sexy TV, whose YouTube channel has attracted mainstream attention:
Now in its third year of existence on YouTube, Black & Sexy has grown from one or two shows that could maybe be something to a slate of programming that’s not only caught the eye of development executives at HBO, but an agent at United Talent Agency. . . . The partnership opens an entirely new set of possibilities for Black & Sexy, because they now have UTA’s knowledge and resources at their disposal, something that could help grow the network’s subscriber base from its current viewership of 79,000 to several times that, and eventually, to several million.
Aspiring directors weren’t the only ones receiving advice on how to get around a Hollywood system that frequently keeps them sidelined. Matthew A. Cherry (“The Last Fall”) told actors it’s become imperative for them to create their own talent showcases:

Using Twitter to remove the velvet rope that separates professionals and amateurs and dispensing craft, financing and marketing advice to aspiring black artists is the kind of tactic DuVernay is becoming known for. Once, events offering this sort of insight used to be exclusive, expensive and held primarily in Los Angeles and New York, the hubs of most American cinema activity. It’s clear that DuVernay and AFFRM believe film education should be available to everyone who wants it. It’s the Rebel way.

BELOW is a Storify of the Twitter Takeover

See all of our posts about AFFRM @

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Girlhood - Review


Written & Directed by Céline Sciamma
Produced by Produced by Bénédicte Couvreur, Rémi Burah and Olivier Père

Cinematography by Crystel Fournier

• Karidja Touré
• Assa Sylla
• Lindsay Karamoh
• Mariétou Touré

Released: January 30, 2015 (USA)

Summary: A girl with few real prospects joins a gang, reinventing herself and gaining a sense of self confidence in the process. However, she soon finds that this new life does not necessarily make her any happier.

Review: I thought this film was an excellent examination of what happens in a girl’s life when she grows up disadvantaged and still has to find herself. This coming of age story happens in a Pairs suburb, but I feel could have taken place anywhere. Marieme is just a girl who feels out of place in school and at home. She doesn’t know what she wants, but she knows it’s not anything she has. Like any good tale, her journey takes many paths, but it’s really one we haven’t seen on screen—from this perspective. The perspective of a teenage black woman.

Karidja Touré as Marieme does a really good job with the complex role that is constantly changing as her character Marieme changes. You grow to care about what happens to this young woman and her story by the end is truly one of independence. The film is also filled with strong characters especially Assa Sylla as “Lady”.

I have to mention the great cinematography of  Crystel Fournier in this film. Fournier achieved her best work with dark skinned actors in dark rooms and at night. That is a hard feat to achieve and she does it beautifully.  

This is what I wrote for the Maryland Film Festival
The writer/director of this film, Céline Sciamma, stated that her goal as a filmmaker is “to show faces and bodies that we never see on screen” and she has done just that with her wonderful third film Girlhood (Bande de filles). As writer Anupa Mistry stated “Finally, a film about black girls strengthening each other." As Mistry points out, the film has “probably the best four minutes of cinema I saw in 2014.” Without giving too much away, that scene is where you truly fall in love with the characters.

In the story, fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the “boys’ law” in the neighborhood, Marieme (Karidja Touré) starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. It is through her friendship with those girls that pretty much everything changes for Marieme, leading her on a turbulent path to find the love, freedom and independence she truly desires.

Girlhood (Bande de filles) premiered within the prestigious Directors' Fortnight section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to screen within the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance 2015.

I saw this film through the 2015 Maryland Film Festival and it’s simply one of the best I’ve seen this year.

You can read more about the film on IMDb here

 You can see all of our posts about the Maryland Film Festival here