[Blackstudies-l] Supporting Black films and filmmakers

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Wed May 13 11:13:53 EDT 2015

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    Black History Walks, Talks & Films
13 Years of Education Through

 Black History is longer than a month..
13 May 2015

 *The Supreme Price. Incredible documentary on African women* :: How Black
Films get Messed Around. Queen Nzingha is Coming !
<#14d4d14f1b7eb8cb_LETTER.BLOCK54>:: Loking for Love Trailer. How You can
Support Black Film <#14d4d14f1b7eb8cb_LETTER.BLOCK60>

 [image: The Supreme Price - Extended Trailer]
The Supreme Price - Extended Trailer

 African Odysseys comes to North London www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk

"*My mother made the ultimate sacrifice and I don't doubt that many more
women will have to pay a price. But I do not think that we have any other
option. Because any society that is silencing its women has no future."* Hafsat
Abiola, The Supreme Price

* The Supreme Price *

*Sunday 14 June,   2p**m to 5.30pm  *

*Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, London N2 9PJ*

*0208 444 6789. One min from East Finchley tube.*
*Phoenix Cinema weblink

The legendary African Odysseys programme now in its eighth year
@BFISouthbank  expands to North London with this fantastically empowering
film about Black women, history and politics.

*African Cinema: Top Five Political Films - The Supreme Price...combines
daring reporting with behind the scenes access and dramatic archive footage
through some of the country's most unstable periods. A fascinating history
lesson of a nation still struggling to emerge from military rule." - The

*"...Nigeria's history is fleshed out in a new documentary called The
Supreme Price. It's a fascinating history lesson about the country and
gives a compelling account of how Moshood Abiola's senior wife, Kudirat
Abiola, and their daughter, Hafsat Abiola, risked their live**s to
reinstate Abiola and fight for the pro-democracy movement in modern-day
Nigeria." - The Root*

*The Supreme Price is a feature length documentary film that traces the
evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase
the participation of women in leadership roles. Following the annulment of
her father's victory in Nigeria's Presidential Election and her mother's
assassination by agents of the military dictatorship, Hafsat Abiola faces
the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture of governance into a
democracy capable of serving Nigeria's most marginalized population: women.*

*WINNER: Gucci Tribeca Spotlighting Women Documentary Award

*WINNER: Best Documentary - Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF)

*SPECIAL MENTION - Luxor African Film Festival

"Taking a long historical view of a troubled country struggling to emerge
from a military dictatorship is Joanna Lipper's documentary "The Supreme
Price," about Nigeria's female-directed democracy movement. After a
military coup in 1993, M. K.O Abiola, a pro-democracy leader who was
considered the victor in aborted presidential elections that year but never
took office, was imprisoned in 1994. Four years later he died under
suspicious circumstances. After his imprisonment, his fearless, eloquent
wife, Kudirat, took over the movement's leadership, but she was
assassinated in 1996. The history is told through the eyes of their
daughter Hafsat Abiola, a Harvard-educated crusader for human rights and
democracy who now leads a movement to dismantle the country's patriarchal
structure." - The New York Times

 "*I knew I had to honour my mother by being part of the pro-democracy
movement. But I wanted to do more. So I founded Kudrat Intiative for
Democracy.  We've been doing leadership training in order to achieve our
objectives of increasing the proportion of women in government at the local
government level and bringing women into the political pipeline in
preparation for the 2015 elections"* Hafsat Abiola
"Ms Lipper has used previously unseen archive footage to great effect with
the story moving effortlessly between past and present, talking heads and
footage from the campaign trail, personal moments and public opinions.
There are moments of terrible sadness... But Ms Lipper just as deftly
includes moments of surreal comic horror... The themes are heavy: murder
and injustice, in a country ravaged by oil money and military rule. It
hardly sounds like a recipe for an uplifting film, but Ms Lipper has been
careful to ensure that the story is more about going forward than dwelling
on the tragedy of the past... it is surely a good thing that a film like
this now exists, touching on the issues the kidnappings brought to life and
showing how important women are to a country like Nigeria and why it is in
everyone's interest to listen to them." - *The Economist*

 "The Supreme Price may sound like a metaphorical title, but after seeing
this strong, forthright documentary, you'll understand it's the literal
truth." -*Los Angeles Times*

"Excellent... Lean, lucid... No hashtag activist, Lipper does an excellent
job of using her film as a vehicle for the voices and concerns of
Nigerians, and especially of Nigerian women, who are traditionally expected
to stay at home while men operate in the public sphere." -*Village Voice &
LA Weekly Critics Pick*

"In her latest film, Joanna Lipper dives into the crucial fight to educate
women on a local and global scale.... Lipper presents a comprehensive look
at a complex history and masterfully weaves an evocative story of politics,
justice and women's rights that will undoubtedly resonate with viewers
worldwide just as the April 2014 schoolgirls abduction has." -* BET*

"The Supreme Price is a deeply profound and beautiful experience, and an
integral film to watch." - *Indiewire*

"A critically acclaimed new documentary, The Supreme Price, tells the story
of the Abiola family, which battled for gender equality and democracy in a
nation where both have been repressed for decades." -*The Independent*

*The Huffington Post* cites Joanna Lipper as one of the "finest and
noblest" documentary filmmakers this year for her work on The Supreme
Price. She "certainly succeeds with this one, catching a crucial moment in
that explosive country where 200 girls have been lost, at best."

"Some of the best documentaries tell inspiring stories of people overcoming
the unthinkable... With an uptick in kidnappings and killings, the
situation in Nigeria is looking bleak. How exactly did the country get to
such a state? Joanna Lipper's film looks at the pro-democracy movement in
the corrupt African nation but also gives a helpful tutorial on Nigerian
politics." - *The Washington Post*

 "The Supreme Price is one of ten films all human rights activists should
see." - *Huffington Post*

Tickets £9.50 from  Phoenix cinema website
book in advance

*This event is another feature of the*
*African Odysseys film programme which for 8 years has screened rare
African/Caribbean films at the British Film Institute on London's South
Bank. The films are sourced and selected by the African Caribbean
Consultative group which is comprised of grassroots organisations with a
history of pro-active Black film screenings. The BFI is the only cinema in
the country to offer monthly screenings of African/Caribbbean films. The
films are often complemented with talks, workshops and Q and A's. Join the
Black History Walks mail list HERE
for regular updates. *

Events listed here are routinely ignored by mainstream media. Please  share
this information with 20 friends via [image: Gray]
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 Queen Nzingha is coming to take revenge on the slavemasters and she is not
taking prisoners !! African Odysseys presents Queen Nzingha The Movie at
BFI  Southbank on Saturday July 4th 2pm. Tickets available from one month
before the event www.bfi.org.uk

[image: Looking for Love Trailer. World Premiere on 23rd May www.bfi.org.uk]
Looking for Love Trailer. World Premiere on 23rd May www.bfi.org.uk

*LOOKING FOR LOVE* is a feel good film that combines in-depth issues with
humour and spoken word. It asks 'Why are there so many single black people
across the UK? Why are we having problems relating? Do we really understand
love? Do we recognize the need to heal?'

Through interviews with single people, couples, psychologists, and
comedians (Kojo, Eddie Kadi, Andi Osho, Slim Mr Cee, Donna Spence), *LOOKING
FOR LOVE* sheds light on a subject we all talk about, but have never before
examined and explored on this scale. Due to the controversy surrounding the
release of Meneliks last film *The Story of Lovers Rock*, we reproduce
below two articles from 2011 about the scandalous treatment Lovers
Rock encountered and ten ways to deal with it.

*How ** Positive Black Films get Blocked, Messed up and Messed around*

 [image: lovers rock poster0]
Cinemas said this poster was 'unsuitable' refused to display it or 'lost
it' . The *Story of **Lovers Rock* is a film made by Menelik
Shabbaz  about a type of music known as Romantic Reggae and the associated
lifestyle and culture of the black community in England in the 1970's/80's.

Mr Shabbbaz is an an award-winning filmmaker who was never privileged and
patronised in the same way that white directors of less stature have
been. *Lovers
 Rock is his first film for fifteen years. It was refused funding by all of
the major arts* and culture funding bodies who came up with a list of
excuses ; not relevant, no market, too niche, not really history, etc etc.
Mr Shabbaz and his team went to the community and repeatedly asked for
investors. Despite getting full houses and rapturous applause at several
preview screenings at the BFI and the Coronet, people were long on talk but
short on pulling their pockets. Fifty thousand pounds was the amount in
question. Mr Shabbaz persevered, completed the film despite several last
minute obstacles and amazingly managed to secure a distribution deal which
meant that a company would assist in placing the film in cinemas across the
country. This in itself is unusual as many black films never get
distributed and are shown once or twice if at all before disappearing. The
result is that people never get to enjoy, learn or benefit from the those
films and there is no box office results to prove such films sell. This
then puts off distributors from distributing such films and
producers/studios from making such films in the first place.

Mr Shabbaz and his team got the *Story of Lovers Rock* on a number of
screens across the country. This is what happened next..

   - *Cinemas did not display the Lovers Rock poster in advance or on the
   - *Cinemas did not have the film listed on their own website or on their
   printed programme*
   - *Cinema staff did not know that the film was on in their cinema*
   - *Cinemas did not include the film in their weekly  mail out to their
   regular customers *
   - *Cinemas did not play the trailer for Lovers Rock before the main
   feature in advance of the film opening as normally happens *
   - *Cinemas that were showing the film did not take delivery of the film
   or if the film failed to arrive at the stated time did not chase up the
   distributors they just cancelled the show even though  people had booked in
   advance to see it*
   - *Cinemas agreed to one or two screenings at weird times like 1.30pm on
   a Monday*

All of the above happened before and even after the screenings began to
sell out.

*Lovers Rock had been selling out 400 seat cinemas* at 11.30pm 7.30pm on
weekdays and weekends. Lovers Rock attendance and box office takings have
beaten Hollywood blockbusters on at the same venue such as Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier Spy. This is incredible as Tinker had heavy TV, Radio, billboard
 and newspaper advertising whereas Lovers Rock has none of that. Lovers
Rock  had people being turned away at the door and dancing in the aisles.
Cinemas were approached to screen the film or extend the run. This is what
happened next..

   - *Cinemas said no*
   - *That they could'nt see the point*
   - *That they were'nt sure if the film was 'right'*
   - *That it was'nt worth the risk*
   - *That they were'nt sure if there was any interest *
   - *That they could'nt put up posters as the directors name was spelt
   - *That they might give it one more day maybe*
   - *That they would definitely show it.. at 1.30pm on a Monday and

This is the treatment that a successful independent Black film that is
making money is getting. Does this happen to *Big Mommas House *? What is
the problem ? Why would you refuse to screen a film that is making money ?
Is it that the film shows Black people in an accurate and positive light ?
Why would a film that is making money at 7.30pm on a Thursday be given a
follow up  slot at 1.30pm on a Monday afternoon when most people are at
work or school ?

 [image: miracle 11]
Heroic Black Soldiers as shown in Miracle at Santa Anna were effectively
banned from European cinemas. Spike Lee's film about heroic black soldiers
in World War 2 *Miracle at Santa Anna* was blocked by its European
distributors because thay did'nt 'like' the film. Mr Lee took them to court
and won 45 million dollars in compensation.

Oprah Winfreys and Denzel Washingtons' *Great Debaters*, about black
academic success, which made a profit of 15 million dollars in the USA was
never even released here. *Jumping the Broom* an African American romantic
comedy shows loving black families getting married. It made 31 million US
dollars and got to number 3 in the US charts but was not  released in this
country. *Shirley Chisholm* the amazing and inspirational story about the
first black woman to run for President was never released here. Perhaps it
was because these fims have an all black cast and the majority white
population is not interested in seeing black people on the big screen. In
which case how is it that *50 Cents Get Rich  or Die Trying* got released
nationwide ? It was the story of drug dealing/prostitute mum who gets
murdered and her son and his drug dealing  criminal associates who get
killed before he becomes a rapper.  *Precious* a film about a homeless,
illiterate, overweight black teenager who is the victim of rape and
pregnancy twice by her father and physical/emotional abuse by her mother;
which has a scene where black  women are compared to dogs.. was on 447
screens across the country.
 [image: great debaters 69]
Black Academic excellence with Denzel Washington starring not wanted on UK
cinema screens but Denzel Washington as drug dealing American Gangster was
on hundreds of screens across the country and was on TV just last week
Gangster*, starring Denzel Washington, about a drug-dealing gangster who
flooded Harlem with heroin in the 70's was also on general release. *Attack
the Block* was Joe Cornish' first ever film. As a white director he  had no
problem getting 6 million pounds to make a film with a majority Black cast.
In the film we are introduced to a mostly black criminal  gang as they rob
a white woman with a hint of wishing to rape her, then the lead black
youth goes to his local drug lord where he gets promoted to a drug dealer.
He and his mates are quite happy about this. The only thing that stops him
drug dealing is the arrival of aliens from outer space. By the way, the
aliens from outer space are 'black' 'So black you cant see !' and  'Blacker
than my cousing Femi' according to the script.The Black male lead ends up
in prison. This film was heavily advertised and made the top ten. What does
this say about the film industry and British culture ?
See article below for what actions you can take. Lovers Rock is out now on
dvd. Article by www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk
 [image: jumping the broom 15]
Jumping the Broom a film about love amongst African American couples . "No
market here for that kind of stuff" according to distributors.

*Going the extra mile to support Black film*

It's well known that our TV channels have a habit of putting positive black
films on very late at night. Bearing in mind the bizarre situation with *Lovers
Rock* outlined above what can be done to support Black films and encourage
the accurate portrayal of peole of African descent on the big screen ?

Using Lovers Rock and The Supreme Price  as a case study, here are some

*Be informed*. Subscribe to a service which will inform you in advance that
such films are in production or coming out. For mainstream movies such
pre-publicity is guaranteed via gossip mags newspapers/TV news and
celebrity interviews. *Screen Nation* has a facebook page
 has a monthly newsletter.

*Put the films date in your diary/phone, tweet it, create an event in
Facebook, put a note on the fridge,* text all your friends with the
weblink. Tell your local radio station. Put it on your staff noticeboard,
better yet organise a staff group to watch the film. If you organise a
group of ten you might get in free. Contact your best friends, make a night
of it and include dinner/pub .

Transformers was advertised on TV and the sides of buses. Lovers Rock and
films like it never have such luxuries but they do have the internet.

*Forward the trailer * to your entire mail list. Tell everyone about the
struggles of Black film-makers. Positive black films literally have to
fight to be made and never get the same level of funding/exposure as their

white counterparts. Not conspiracy theory, just fact.

*Once you know the cinema** it's on at, ring or go online and book
IMMEDIATELY* (i.e Supreme Price/Looking for Love) This helps the film as
the cinema/organisers can assess that proven interest and arrange for extra

*Turn up on time* .Some stereotypes are self reinforcing, if everyone
thinks that 'it's a Black film so it will start late', and then they all
turn up a 9 as opposed to 8, then the organisers are sometimes forced to
delay the start. This is not good for anyone as venues charge by the hour
and the organisers are then labelled unprofessional. *BHW events will start
on time whether you are there or not*
 [image: lovers rock cinema]
450 strong packed house at the preview of Lovers rock @BFI Southbank in
2011 as part of African Odysseys

*Tell the cinema staff**/organiser that you really liked it* (if you did)
make a point of emailing the managers/organiser and praising them. As few
as ten emails can mean extra screenings.

*Be prepared to travel**.* Black films struggle to get venues and are not
always centrally screened in purpose built cinemas. You might have to go a
bit further than usual but in the same way the elders said 'you have to
work twice as hard...' you may have to do that bit extra to see accurate
portrayals of Black people.

*Understand the history of the Black image**.* It is not accidental that
the images normally shown of black people are negative. In the 1500's
African people were shown in European art as noble, and dignified. In the
1800's, in order to justify slavery, these images were thrown out and
replaced with demeaning stereotypes which still exist in movies, TV shows
and computer games.. The effects of this bombardment of poverty, disease,
criminals, gangsters, booty shaking, drug dealers, prostitutes is
devastating. People can get so used to it they think its normal and reject
actually alternative positive images and stories.

*Widen your tastes*: Menelik Shabbaz states that he was brainwashed by
British film propaganda but didn't realise it was propaganda at the time
because that is *all* he saw. The same could be happening to you, if your
diet is Hollywood blockbusters and Sky/BBC/ITV/C4/C5. Investigate films and
topics that you're unaware of and that don't initially appeal. We screened
a French documentary titled *Les Avenue des Allieurs* and had a poor
turnout for what was a fantastic film about how the French, after World War
2, invited qualified Black people from the Caribbean to work in Paris to do
low-skilled jobs; and sent unqualified whites to have the best jobs in
Martinique and Guadeloupe. Under 25's will have no clue what Lovers Rock or
Black Power is, may choose not to attend and miss a fantastic piece of
their history.

*Don't buy pirate dvd's*. It rips off the filmmaker and means less such
films will be made.

*Be aware that like changing your diet, the above solutions may be
uncomfortable at first, but good for you in the long run. *

 *  Watch EduKit video above . Edukit is the only one-stop-shop connecting
teachers to thousands of development programmes across London. They are a
social enterprise, putting people before profit. They have a simple mission
- to ensure that every student can achieve his or her potential
irrespective of gender or ethnicity, where they live or what their parents
do www.edukit.org.uk

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