Friday, October 21, 2011

New ActNow Foundation blog!

In case you were unaware our blog has moved!

Please go to our Tumblr page at to see the latest news and views about ActNow Foundation and our array of arts programming including film, theatre, and other special events.  

Thank you for all your love and attention here on Blogger over the years!  

- the staff of ActNow Foundation

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Once again ActNow's New Voices in Theater (NVIT) was a SUCCESS! Thank you all for showing your support to the developers (Tanya Everett, Clinton Lowe and Patrick Shand) and cast (Bianca Laverne-Jones, Stephen Hill, Ginger Spencer, Lindsay Strachan, Tanya Everett, and Clinton Lowe) of GAME FACE directed by Kehinde Koyejo.

We are very excited to be able to bring to the Forte Green Brooklyn area quality readings that feature the works of new (published and unpublished) playwrights of color.

Please stay tuned for ActNow's upcoming events AND if you are a playwright or actor and would like to be considered for NVIT 's future readings/productions please submit your play or headshot/resume to

Mark your calendars!!!! August 10th-13th ActNow will produce a four day mini theater festival! It will be a day of food, fun, networking, staged readings and more! Trust me, you don't want to miss !

Kehinde Koyejo

Monday, April 4, 2011

For Flow Wrap Up

ActNow’s New Voices in Theater’s (NVIT) reading of “For Flow” (by Kesav Wable and directed by Kehinde Koyejo) was a SUCCESS! Thank you all for coming out and supporting ActNow, the playwright and of course the AMAZING cast: Donald Calliste, DJ Mitchell, Hollis Hayden, Clinton Lowe and Mr. Aurtur French. We are very excited to be able to bring to the Fort Green Brooklyn area quality readings that feature the works of new (published and unpublished) playwrights of color. Please stay tuned for ActNow's upcoming events AND if you are a playwright or actor and would like to be considered for NVIT future readings/productions please submit your play or headshot and resume to Mark your calendars!!!! New Voices in Theater’s next reading will be Wednesday May 25th. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it! Submit!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Thank you again to everyone who came out to the ActNow New Voices in Black Cinema Festival.
We would love to here what you thought of the event. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out our survey. The Festival will be back at BAM February 2012 and your feedback will help us make it bigger and better!

Click here to take our survey!

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ActNow New Voices in Theater Presents: For Flow

ActNow's New Voices in Theater Reading Series features the works of new, published and unpublished playwrights of color and on March 30th we will be featuring a piece written by Kesav M. Wable.

"For Flow" borrows Andrew Beckett's existential landscape and transplants two 'Beckettian' clownsrappers to a lonely street corner in the Bronx where they wait for a record producer; they're later joined by a woman DJ and Delta Blues guitarist who also meet at this crossroad in search of their own destinies. "For Flow" will be directed by Kehinde Koyejo. The reading will be followed by a Q&A with the writer.

Stage Directions - Donald Calliste
Dee - Clinton Lowe
Kane - Hollis Hayden
Roxanne -DJ. Mitchell
Broonzy -Arthur French

The reading will be held at:
ActNow Foundation in the South Oxford Space
138 S. Oxford Street
Brooklyn, New York 11217

Wednesday March 30
Time: 6:30pm light reception/
7:15pm Reading of 'For Flow'

$5 donation suggested

Please come out and support! See you there!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Colored Museum -- Encore!

If you missed last year's production of The Colored Museum or you loved it so much you want to see it again here is your chance.

George C. Wolfe's classic theater work will once again be directed by Bill Johnson- featuring Soyini Crenshaw, Melissa Gibbs, Myriam Moss, Nihara Nichelle, Jasmine Taylor,Tavarius Graves, Rafael Moreno, Michael Stith & FranCisco Vegas.

Only $20
March 9-13 @ 8pm
March 12-13 @ 2pm

Roy Arias Studios & Theaters
300 W. 43rd street - 4th floor
New York, New York 10036
See you there!

Friday, February 11, 2011

2011 Act Now: New Voices In Black Cinema Film Festival Wrap-Up

A huge, ginormous THANK YOU to everyone who came out and supported The ActNow New voices In Black Cinema Film Festival. Tambay Obenson, film curator for ActNow wrote an incredible review of our event on his blog Shadow And Act. Click here to read it. You can also read also read a write up of the festival on XI Magazine.

Aaron Ingram, executive director of ActNow received a Thank You note from one of our guests and I wanted to share it with you:

Dear ActNow,

I just want to say thank you for presenting New Voices in Black Cinema it was truly awesome. A great experience for me, an aspiring writer as well as my two lil young ladies who are being opened to culture and seeing young black men and women represented behind the scenes...directing, filming, writing etc.
Just wanted to take the time to let you know that you all have made me so proud.

Nicole O'Connor

This letter is why we at ActNow do what we do.

Stay tuned we have more great programs in store!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interview with Clint Dyer

Clint Dyer is the actor and producer of the film SUS and I was lucky enough to ask him a few questions about SUS. If one of your questions were not answered here please come to the screening on Monday February 7th at 9:30pm. Clint Dyer will be present and you can ask him a question yourself.

Before you check out the interview view the trailer for SUS.

Now on to the interview.

You were involved in the stage version of SUS. How did you get involved in the play and how did you find yourself starring in the film?

I performed the play ten years ago and was offered it again. On reading it I remembered how fantastic it was and decided to make it happen as a film as well as doing the new stage production.

What lessons did you learn while filming SUS?

Producing and acting at the same time is tough!

What challenges did you incur while acting in such a powerful film?

Having to stay in that emotional head space for so long was hardest.

Did you face any objections bringing sus laws to light?

Yes we had objections from Angela Rippon and Anna Ford two news readers who are mentioned in the play and featured in the film (but had to be cut out of the film). Apart from them everyone was very happy a message and film like SUS was being put out there, as the problems with Racism are still a big problem in the UK.

What impact do you think this film will have on our Brooklyn audience?

I can only hope that the response will be one of empathy, anger and some kind of hope, in that we are able to show our experiences in an entertaining heartfelt way.

How will audiences who have seen both stage version of SUS react to the film adaptation?

I think they will react the same.....nothing is diluted, possibly it is enhanced.

What can you tell us about your next project?

It will be a film called FAM which I have co-written to which I will act in and direct.

See you at the Festival! Purchase your tickets now.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interview with Wendell B. Harris Jr.

Wendell B. Harris Jr. is the mastermind behind the groundbreaking 1990 film CHAMELEON STREET. I had a few questions for the writer, actor, director and he graciously answered them. This was truly a great interview. His answer to my first question is why we at ActNow do what we do. We want to present "relentlessly sensitive human beings." Thank you Wendell for answering all my questions with pure honesty.
Great interviews keep me motivated and stimulated -- once again I thank you!

I hope to see you at the showing of Chameleon Street on Wednesday February 9th at 9:30pm. Find me after the film so we can discuss it. I think it would be a great idea if you purchased your ticket now.

TANYA: CHAMELEON STREET won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Festival and, despite not being distributed, had a very strong underground following. Why do you think people who have sought out the film are so passionate about it?

WENDELL: I believe the Style and, most importantly, the Content of CHAMELEON STREET are riveted to an unadulterated expression of Truth. Unadulterated Truth has never been the target when it comes to showing black people on screen. Never. We've been portrayed as Exotic ... Over-The-Top ... Freakish ... Highly Sexualized .... Buffoonish .... Incompetent .... Monstrous .... Uncultivated ... Venal and/or Anal ----- everything and anything except 3-dimensional, relentlessly sensitive human beings. The on-screen image of black men, women, and children has been subjected to the most sustained campaign of character assassination in history. They don't call it 'Culture Wars' for nothing. You know, Tanya, it was never my aim to make a radical film. Not at all. My only aim was to tell the audience on-screen in 90 minutes what Doug Street told me in countless interviews over 4 years. That was the only agenda. If you sit any black person down for 4 years and have them tell you in detail what they've been going through in these United States of America ... honey, you're going to come up with a CHAMELEON STREET. You're going to come up with something utterly compelling and fresh and modern and almost revelatory, because our story ... told simply and without embellishment ... has been rigorously eschewed and censored since THE BIRTH OF A NATION circa 1915.

TANYA: What challenges did you face by taking on a triple work-load -- writing, directing, starring?

WENDELL: There's a trick to it, Tanya. Actually, two tricks. They're not 'tricks' per se. More like 'truths' ... two truths. You want to know what they are --- ?

TANYA: Yes, please share.

WENDELL: It's kind of a secret, really. I should charge some ducats for this. The keys to successfully Writing - Directing - Acting in a single film are (1.) Circling. You've got to keep circling. You've got to keep walking around every choice, whether it's in the script, the lighting, the performances, the production design, everything. You never let up or let go. You keep on looking at every aspect of the film from every angle at all times. You've got to always keep in mind that you are doing alone what Hollywood has hired literally a hundred people - or more - to do. So, circle ... keep circling around everything. Keep walking around every decision with a critical eye ... looking for leaks, incongruities, abrasions, mistakes. Circle, baby, circle ... !

TANYA: Gotcha. And Number Two --- ?

WENDELL: (2.) Get the very best people to work with you. Fill every position with excellence. When you align with excellence, you invariably achieve excellence.

TANYA: Is there anything you would have done differently while making the film?

WENDELL: We initially negotiated with George Clinton to perform his song 'Bodyguard' in the Masquerade Ball Sequence. At the last moment, he canceled out.


WENDELL: (sigh) It was a contretemps over cash. Clinton demanded his payment of $10, 000.00 two weeks in advance. Our agreement had been he'd get the 10K upon arrival in Flint for the 3-day shoot. So, everything fell apart. If I had to do it all over again, I'd make a more strenuous attempt to keep Clinton involved. I had this whole dance sequence for Street and Amina worked out to Clinton's music which was so great. It was beautiful ... dancing in that Beast make-up to Clinton's 'Bodyguard'. The choreography was dumped after Clinton dropped . That's my one Major Regret vis-a-vis CHAMELEON STREET's production. But I'm not complaining, Tanya. 99.5 % of my vision made it into the film's final cut, so ... I'm grateful. I'm grateful.

TANYA: The inspiration for the film came from a newspaper article about a con man. What challenges did you face while creating this fictional character from a real person?

WENDELL: Frankly, I never viewed the real Doug Street as a template from which to extrapolate a 'fictional character'. On the contrary -- my main concern was to film what Doug told me.

TANYA: How do you think the Brooklyn audience of 2011 will react to this 1990 film?

WENDELL: Interesting question. I'm sure that they'll 'get it'. Only Hollywood distributors claimed to be puzzled by CS and how to market it. But audiences ALWAYS get it. Whether in Italy or Germany or Detroit or Atlanta ... audiences always get it. And they get all the hidden stuff, too. I filled the film with allusions and cultural references and secret signs. And yet, people always come up to me and say, ' Hey, I notice you put so-n-so in there or such-n-such .' People are so hip. So smart. Mainstream Media is always trying to sell this image of people as ' Dumb- Ass' this ... or 'JackAss' that ... or reality shows dedicated to proving human beings are the 'Stupidest' mouth-breathing twerps on the planet. I haven't found this to be the case, Tanya. Quite the opposite, in fact. I find that audiences are far, far ahead of the film fodder they're being fed. And they don't miss a thing. They sit there, watching, nibbling on their pop-corn ... and they can tell you after the first five minutes what characters are going to do what, and where the film is going ... in amazingly accurate detail! Of course, there are some references in CHAMELEON STREET that only black people get. Generally speaking. But one thing's for sure --- whites are beginning to catch up. It's pretty amazing. For example, 40 years ago you couldn't find a white person on the planet who knew what the word CHITLINS meant, let alone how they tasted. Today, you walk up to a Caucasion and say, ' Uh ... have you ever had chitlins ?' and their faces light up, ' Oh, yeah ...! Had some for breakfast this morning -- !! ' Those wily Caucasians ....!

TANYA: What are your feelings on today’s state of black films?

WENDELL: Wow ... that's a loaded question.

Let me put it this way ... black people are not fooled. We support what's going on and buy tickets to all this yang while simultaneously adhering to that advice Richard Pryor gave us 30 years ago i.e. ' Be glad for black people and support them when you see them doing anything ... !' And we do. But, having said that ... black people are not fooled by all this cinematic prestidigitation. My father died at the age of 90 in 2000 . He used to tell me what it was like in the Thirties watching Stepin Fetchit, Willie Best, Butterfly McQueen etc, etc. These were great performers but black people were not fooled. We knew THEN how our image was being botched, belittled, and bastardized, and we know it NOW. Listen ... when you start naming names, it sounds as if you're pin-pointing the problem. That's the implication, anyway. That's not what I'm about to do -- okay ? I'm going to name a specific project, but only as a means of defining An Entire Syndrome. Okay -- ?

TANYA: Okay.

WENDELL: In 1975 I saw Ntozake Shange's FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUFF four times on Broadway. Sometimes, people come up to me and say, ' CHAMELEON STREET changed my life .' Well, I'm here to tell you, Tanya -- that Broadway version of FOR COLORED GIRLS in the mid-Seventies most definitely changed my life. Now, it's 2011 and I recently saw the Tyler Perry-Oprah Winfrey film version of FOR COLORED GIRLS. Whose life is that going to change, Tanya -- ?? To quote the inimitable Bert Williams: " Nobody' -- ! I feel like some kind of 21st century reincarnation of Langston Hughes, reiterating that poem he wrote: ' They done taken my blues and gone ... ! ' They done taken my FOR COLORED GIRLS and gone .... ! That play is one of our major, major masterworks ... and yet, from a cinematic point-of-view, it's throat was slit. And yet, that slit-throat cinematic travesty is what the entire world is going to see from now until the Second Coming. They're not going to remember what Trazana Beverley did on that Broadway stage in 1975. They'll never know the power of that masterpiece. Wow ... that brings another poem to my mind. Who wrote that poem ... it goes, ' He doesn't know the power of his own black hand ' ... ? I forget. But that's the crux of it. They don't want us to know our power. And any film project that truly empowers, imbues, and enlightens will either have it's aesthetic throat slit, or, if it DOES get made without interference, it'll be suppressed.

TANYA: Are you currently working on any projects? Will NEGROPOLIS be coming to a theatre soon?

WENDELL : That's very sweet of you to ask. NEGROPOLIS is ready to shoot tomorrow if I had the money today. The first version was written in 1990 for Chris Tucker, Howard Stern, Louie Anderson, and Oprah Winfrey. Yes, Oprah. A little ironic, eh ... ? The budget back in 1990: $20 million. Today, however, NEGROPOLIS could be produced for 7 million. That's not a lot of money, to be sure ... unless you haven't got it. The parts I wrote for Oprah, Howard and Chris in NEGROPOLIS are so incredible, they make everything those three have done in film up until this moment look like dog-paddling . I am also in secret talks with the lovely and legendary author, Lore Segal, about the possibility of bringing one of her masterpieces to the screen. What a woman -- ! What a human being. And what an immaculate artist she is. Lastly, Tanya: My documentary entitled ARBITER ROSWELL is very close to completion. It chronicles much of what we've been discussing here today i.e. how Mainstream Media has always been consciously contrived in order to coerce, co-opt, and control the Masses. ARBITER ROSWELL also shows how certain 'real life' incidents ... such as the alleged crash of an 'alien' UFO near Roswell New Mexico in 1947 .... are actually contrived and sold to the public. Why ... ? Come see the film when it's released. I will say this, however: the Roswell Incident; the assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, and John Lennon; the induced disintegration and subsequent vilification of Mel Gibson --- all of these incidents that are still being sold to the public as spontaneous, real life happenings are, in reality, meticulously produced theatre pieces. Snuff Theatre Pieces ... more costly, more dangerous, and more heavily produced than a dozen Broadway productions of SPIDERMAN. Turn Off The Dark, indeed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How you can help ActNow start a successful & fun film festival in Brooklyn!

Your contribution will offset some of the travel costs and accommodations for the filmmakers to come up to Brooklyn and interact with you all at our Q&A’s, receptions and after-parties. We are also in need of funds to print film programs, which many audience members treasure as rare mementos of their festival experience.

With your financial assistance, we know that we can make this festival a phenomenal annual event in independent film, so we invite you to be a part of the festival.

We are using KICKSTARTER to collect contributions. Click here for more information and to donate.


Monday, January 17, 2011


ActNow's New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival

Night Catches Us (2010) 90 min.
Directed by Tanya Hamilton
With Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Wendell Pierce and Jamie Hector

In 1976, after years of mysterious absence, Marcus, The Hurt Locker’s Mackie, returns to the Philadelphia neighborhood where he came of age in the midst of the Black Power movement. While his arrival raises suspicion among his family and former neighbors, he finds acceptance from his old friend Patricia (Washington) and her daughter. However, Marcus quickly finds himself at odds with the organization he once embraced, whose members suspect he orchestrated the slaying of their former comrade-in-arms. In a startling sequence of events, Marcus must protect a secret that could shatter everyone's beliefs as he rediscovers his forbidden passion for Patricia.

Check out the trailer below.

Following the February 4th 6:50pm screening director Tanya Hamilton and actor Jamie Hector (The Wire, Heroes) will both be present for the Q&A, which will be moderated by film critic Melissa Anderson. Jamie Hector was born in Brooklyn so it will be a nice treat to screen Night Catches Us in his hometown!

Buy your tickets NOW.


ActNow's New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival is in a couple of weeks and we at ActNow are so excited to share these films with you. I recommend purchasing your tickets NOW. You do not want to be shut out of this event. Take a look at our trailer for the festival below.

This festival will feature a film for everybody. Pick out your film and purchase your tickets NOW.

Friday, February 4

2pm: Heart of Stone (Q&A with director Beth Toni Kruvant)

4:30pm: SUS

6:50pm: Night Catches Us (Q&A with director Tanya Hamilton moderated by film critic Melissa Anderson)

9:30pm: Black August (Q&A with director dream hampton)

Saturday, February 5

6:50pm: I Will Follow (Q&A with director Ava DuVernay)

9:30pm: Coming Back for More (Q&A with director Willem Alkema)

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 (Q&A with director Ryan Richmond)

9:30pm: SUS (Q&A with director Robert Heath)

Wednesday, February 9

4:30pm: Heart of Stone

7pm: Brooklyn Block Shorts (Q&A with directors)

9:30pm: Chameleon Street

Which film are you most looking forward to seeing?
Tell us in the comments below :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

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

Very exciting ActNow news!

ActNow, 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. This inaugural festival will be opening up Black History Month!

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.

ActNow: New Voices in Black Cinema features documentary films of cultural and socio-political significance. Reminiscent of Still Bill, festival sensation Coming Back For More (2009—Feb 5 & 6) by musician and documentary filmmaker Willem Alkema searches for reclusive funk legend Sly Stone to bring him back to the stage again. Beth Toni Kruvant’s Heart of Stone (2009—screening Feb 4 & 9) focuses on the efforts of Ron Stone, principal of Newark’s Weequahic High School, in confronting the school’s pervasive gang problems. Previously among the highest-ranked schools in the country, Weequahic was plagued with problems and violence becoming one of the worst before Stone came on board. “Deftly structured, incisive and revealing, uplifting without ever glossing over grim realities, Heart of Stone offers a hard-won sense of hope and possibilities” (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times). Journalist dream hampton’s documentary Black August (2010—Feb 4 & 6) showcases a grassroots movement to raise awareness about political prisoners featuring interviews with intellectuals and social activists such as Assata Shakur, and performances by hip-hop artists including Brooklyn natives Mos Def and Talib Kweli. The series includes personal narrative films like Money Matters (2010—Feb 7) directed by Ryan Richmond, about a single mother and her teenage daughter, as well as Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us (2010)—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), a “sharply written, beautifully acted, and devastating critique of institutional racism” (David Edwards, Daily Mirror), is set entirely in a British interrogation room on election night in 1979, centering on two bigoted cops attempting to pin a murder on a man (played by Clint Dyer, who also produced).

The festival concludes on February 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), inaugurating ActNow’s New Black Classics series. This satirical examination on race, based on the life of Detroit con artist William Douglas Street, Jr.—played by Harris himself—became the first black film ever to be awarded Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize in 1990.

New Voices in Black Cinema schedule

Friday, February 4
2:pm: Heart of Stone
4:30pm: SUS
6:50pm: Night Catches Us
9:30pm: Coming Back for More

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

There is so much happening over at ActNow. Keep up with us every way you can!

Our Website
Our Facebook
Our Twitter
*And visit our friends over at Shadow And Act (and vote for them for best fan blog here)

Direction to BAM:

BAM Rose Cinemas

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

Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM

For ticket and BAMbus information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit

*For more information about the New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival, please contact Curtis John at
or Donnet Bruce at or (347) 274-0563 and go to