Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interview with Kimberlee Renee of @reelsistas on Women of Color in Film Part II

This is the second part of our interview with Kimberlee Renee

Voice Interview -  Link
Her website - www.reelsistas.com
Her podcast: Cinema in Noir - www.blogtalkradio.com/cinemainnoir
Her Twitter - @reelsistas
An organization advocating for women of color in film - http://www.reelsisters.com
Twitter account advocating for women of color in film and stage - https://twitter.com/BiatchPack
 Part II
Thelonious: Can you name  one or two women of color in the film industry that are listeners should be aware of?
Kimberly: Christine Swanson who produced and directed All About You, Tina Mabry,who did Mississippi Damned, Dee Rees who directed and wrote Pariah and of course Ava DuVernay who founded the firm AFFRM 
Did I Will Follow, Middle Of Nowhere and is currently working on Selma
Thelonious: And I am a big fan of Ava Duvernay as well and as fan of film and I remember the 1st time I saw Love Jones and I thought this was going to open up the door and sadly that didn't happen. Did you see a film with a primary person of color that you thought this is going to open up the floodgates but it didn't happen or maybe it did?
Kimberly: There are a lot of films out there that have been successful and every-time there is a black film being made it's suppose to be the the one we pin all our hopes on. When Red Tails, this was going to be the black film that opened it all up.  Last year we 12 Years A Slave and The Butler and they were going go be the films that opened it up and changed everything. I think the goal should be to have many films, vary diverse films. Last year was a very good year, we had rom-coms, we had political dramas, we had a lot people of color in film in various roles, and I think that is the goal, to have varied images and not just one. And we can't pin all of our hopes on one film or one film-maker it has to be a collective
Thelonious: That brings up a good point.  Me as a fan and as a ticket buyer I believe we do have a tendency to pin all of our hopes on one film or one star and when it doesn't immediately happen after that I think there is a collective frustration so your point of diversifying our interest so it's not all romance coms is valid.  Marvel is doing alot of good things so getting some black super-heroes will provide some diversity and Ava Duvarnay is working on Selma and diversification always works. And I agree we need to get away from pinning all our hopes on one film or one project because it's not fair to the film-maker and it leads to unrealistic expectations and it's not fair to the audience.
Kimberly: There are a lot of film-makers who make bad movies or movies that are not well received but if black film maker does it, it's marked as the end of their career or the end of black film and it's proof that black people don't pay to see black films and it's not that deep it's not like that at all.  When Adam Sandler makes a movie that flops he is given an opportunity to make another film
Thelonious: that's a good point because from a box office standpoint you can be a white actor and have multiple losses like for example Johnny Depp.  I can't remember the last time Johnny had a perceived success at the box office but he still commands leading man which I think is in the neighborhood of $20 million. I know a lot of black actors would die for that.  There seems to be higher bar for people of color to clear and they seem to need a longer record of success to get more access.
Kimberly: Right Denzel can command $20 million and Will Smith but they are the only two
Thelonios: Right. It's Will Smith and Denzel Washington but after that you have a bunch of others. Fine actors but it doesn't seem like the people who write checks have a lot of confidence they can open up movies.
Kimberly: Exactly
Thelonious: Going forward what is your long term vision, goals, for your organization?  Do you any type of metrics that you would like to hit or establish something you can we knock this off as a success and move on to the next hurdle or is it more a daily grind just take it as it comes?
Kimberly:  For me it's a daily grind just take it as it comes. I want to expand the blog to feature more women behind the camera as well as in front. I want to inspire people and maybe feature more women who aspire to working behind the scenes and in front of the camera and maybe connect them to people who can make that happen.  That's for the blog. As far as Cinema In Noir I learned so much from my two co-host over the last two years doing this show and I would like to continue to learn and continue to be a voice for women of color in film.
Thelonious: Before we close would you like to give our listeners any links that they can find you at?
Kimberly: http://www.reelsistas.com/ the Blog is Cinema In Noir and I'm on twitter and facebook.
Thelonious: Thanks joining us today Renee. I would like to do a follow up meeting maybe in six months to see what type of progress we have made. Maybe we can have some other people join us as well.  I know Selma i going to be out by then and there are a couple other movies queued up that I would love to get your take on.
Kimberly:Sounds great