Thursday, August 14, 2014

Interview with Yolonda Brinkley, Creator of Beyond Borders:Diversity in Cannes

Yolonda Brinkley is making waves. As the creator of Beyond Borders:Diversity in Cannes, a filmmmaker symposium and short film showcase taking place during the Cannes Film Festival, Yolonda is determined to enhance the visibility and opportunities of diverse projects in filming. Once a French Teacher for Teach for America, before working in corporate america, Yolonda is now a change agent in the entertainment industry.  The journey has not always been easy for Yolonda but her faith has never wavered. From her humbling experience on the film The Last Fall to doing PR for Hollywood stalwart Bill Duke, Yolonda takes everything in stride. Along the way Yolonda has cultivated relationships with an eclectic and resourceful group of individuals such as Doreen Spicer, Karimah Westbrook, and Janine Sherman Barrois to name a few.  But Yolonda's eyes are on the prize and she envisions working with industry trendsetters and multimedia icons like Ice Cube, Rashaad and Reinaldo Green, Lee Daniels, and Lisa Cortes.  You want to know who got next?  Keep your eyes on Yolonda Brinkley.

Voice Interview: Link
Diversity in Cannes Twitter: Link
Diversity in Cannes Website: Link
Diversity in Cannes Facebook: Link
Diversity in Cannes YouTube: Link
Yolonda's Reel: Link

Monday, August 11, 2014

Interview with Eric Dean Seaton Creator and Director of Legend Of The Mantamji

Comic book fans have never had it so good. Guardians Of The Galaxy is tearing it up at the box office.  Netflix is developing Marvel street level heroes series such as Luke Cage and DaredevilAgents of SHIELD has been renewed (or gotten a reprieve).  Green Arrow's success has led to the launch of the eagerly anticipated Flash series. In short, grab your popcorn because this should be nerd nirvana. But all that glitters isn't gold. There has been a shocking lack of diversity in all these endeavors sans Luke Cage. And it starts at the comic book level.  All the above are owned properties of DC or Marvel and all started out in print form.  But what about us?  What about properties and heroes that look like us?  Enter Eric Dean Seaton. An episodic director who has helmed over 34 shows, Mr. Seaton is launching a graphic novel titled Legend Of The Mantamaji.  This diverse graphic novel is centered around a person of color who must overcome internal issues before he can take on an ancient evil.  You want to start seeing heroes like us on the big screen?  It starts with supporting the work and talent of  people like Eric Dean Seaton at the print level. In the following interview, Mr. Seaton discusses his motivation for starting a graphic novel and how that compares to directing TV along with a host of other topics. Please give it a listen.

Voice Interview: Link
Twitter Account: Link
Website: Link
Legend of Mantamaji Website: Link
For Pre-Orders Amazon Link: Link

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Favorite Movies You never heard Of

On Aug 2nd BET aired the Independently produced film Middle Of Nowhere and I was able to experience my favorite film of 2012 again with a bunch of my twitter peeps. To me, the next best thing about enjoying a film or book is sharing that enjoyment with others whether it be online or in person. Unfortunately, this film was not widely released leaving me few opportunities to dialogue with others about how truly great this film is which in and of itself is troubling. Diversity in films benefits everyone. Diversity challenges viewers through unique POV's forcing them out their comfort zone. Diversity lets people appreciate characters and situations they never knew existed and in the process expands their world. And those of you who support the campaign #WeNeedMoreDiverse books please support organizations that are striving for diversity in films. Organizations like Diversity in Cannes that empowers film makers to thing outside the box.  AFFRM  which strives to put black-themed films in commercial theaters. And Reelsisters which celebrates women of color in film.  You can also tweet and share your favorite diverse films that were not widely distributed. Three of my favorites might be unknowns to most people. These three films are remarkable in casting, cinematography, and POV. If you already have seen them please share your thoughts or reply back with some of your favs. If not, do yourself the favor of getting familiar with these films, the actors, and directors because that is the first step in supporting diversified films.

Secrets and Lies
The characters in this tense melodrama are painfully real and deal with complex issues in a way that lends credence to their humanity and frailty. The skill with which these beautifully flawed characters are handled draws you in, engages you. This film was also my first introduction to the magnificent Marie Jean Baptist and the under appreciated Timothy Spall of Harry Potter fame.  And what makes this film even more impressive is that the majority of it was improvisational. A must see.

City Of God
If you are born in America no matter how disparate the conditions, you have a chance, a shot to better your life no matter how daunting the odds.  This fact was crystallized after watching The City Of God. Loosely based on real events the environment of hopelessness, violence and depravity is the primary protagonist as the bit characters fight for turf, drugs, guns and one for his creative soul. This stunning film also introduced the world to the beautiful Alice Braga.  I have never been more appreciative of the life I have and the opportunities provided me than after watching this film. But you be the judge.

I Will Follow
Had to watch this film twice to appreciate it. And I think my biggest issue was viewing Omari Hardwick and Salli Richardson as the talented individuals they are and not as the eye candy the are often promoted as.  But more than anything else this is a film of loss, of relationships, and of moving forward.  And as I watched it the 2nd and 3rd time I became even more appreciative of their nuanced performances, like the subtlety of the briefest facial expression. Also, there was no wasted dialogue in this film.  No throw away lines. Every uttered word had meaning be it a past hurt, a current challenge, or the promise of tomorrow. Don't know how I stumbled upon it but I'm glad I did and I'm happy to share it with you.