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
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
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!
*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 more information about the New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival, please contact Curtis John at firstname.lastname@example.org or Donnet Bruce at email@example.com or (347) 274-0563 and go to www.ActNowproduction.org