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Category Archives: Film

Otherworldly Videos: At the Crossroads – “Cross Road” and “Noka”


Directed by Olivier Gros, Benoit Rimet, Scott Bono and Charles E. Farkas, the film follows a “bluesman blinded by ambition and at the peak of his career is up by the Devil whom he had sold his soul 30years before in exchange for great success.” I guess this film is a possible extension to the Robert Johnson story if he lived to an old age. Also, the main message of the film seems to be if you don’t see the innate value of your creations, someone else will see that value and take it from you.

Directed by Trinidadian Shaun Escayg, Noka: Keeper of Worlds is a film about an 8-year-old boy named Gabriel with a rare form of schizophrenia which he inherited from his grandfather who recently died. At his grandfather’s funeral, he meets an old friend of his grandfather, who introduces him to “an unseen supernatural realm” for which he and his grandfather are gatekeepers. “Gabriel must abandon all he knows and loves to fulfill his purpose, his legacy, as a NOKA.” I am getting a Matrix, but more fantastical and less technological driven, vibe from this film; I like the Caribbean perspective of it and would like to see it as a feature length film.

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Modern Griots Reviews: A Dangerous Cure


A Dangerous Cure

A Dangerous Cure

We all know that humans use technology as a tool for our own advancement, but what about when technology becomes a trap to our own destruction? How do we as humans rationalize it all when technology does not help but is controlling us and leading us to chaos?

This is one of the themes explored in Kevin Jarvis’ satirical documentary-styled apocalyptic film. A Dangerous Cure. The film essentially consists of several interviews about Savia Jones, a media personality who was making a film about a zombie virus epidemic at first for fame, but then gets in too deep. As is already known, apocalyptic films, shows and books are a major part of our current culture, but this one gives a slightly different feel with its old school documentary style and closer-to-reality plot. It feels as if the film could happen right now, but also, with its timeless feel, seems as if it already happened.

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Otherworldly Videos: Danger Word+HowDoYouSayYamInAfrican+Old Money+Tiombe


Film:

Here is the Web premiere of the short film Danger Word, directed by Luchina Fisher and starring Frankie Faison and Saoirse Scott. The film, which is based on Devil’s Wake from Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, follows a 13-year-old girl and her grandfather in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. If you enjoy zombie shows and films, like The Walking Dead and The Night of the Living Dead, this is a nice addition, mainly because 1) the lead characters are not the stereotypical ones — a young black girl and an older black man, 2) the zombies develop a trait that gives a an interesting twist to how would living humans be able to differentiate between themselves and the dead and also gives a slight remnant of humanity to the zombies, 3) the film has good story and character development that I see potential in it becoming a larger film, and 4) did I mention the black girl, who is the hero of the story, although it does end tragically, and I wonder what happens next for her character.

The collective, HowDoYouSayYamInAfrican‘s behind-the-scenes video of their film, Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera, which is “reimagining the traditional opera to pose a central question: “What happens to the black body when it is haunted by a ‘blackness’ outside of it?” The spoken, chanted, sung, and screamed libretto explores the consequences of centuries of global racial strife that are thrust upon on those born of African descent.” The film will be showing at the Whitney Museum of Art from May 14th-25th.

 

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Otherworldly Videos: Shola Amoo’s Touch


British filmmaker Shola Amoo‘s film Touch, which he recently premiered in the United States at The Future Is Weird showcase, is now online. The futuristic short follows Jessica and George who are in love, but Jessica hides a secret which puts her life in danger as she chooses to love and go her own path. Based on what I saw, I already want this to be a longer film. Amoo is also currently working on his next film, A Moving Image.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Afrofuturism/Afrosurrealism, Film

 

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Modern Griots Reviews: Afronauts


Last Saturday, I went to to New Films/New Directors short film showcase, which included Frances Bodomo’s 14-minute film Afronauts. Based on the 1960s Zambian Space Program, which grade school teacher Edward Makuka Nkoloso set up and had amongst its crew a 17-year-old girl and two cats. In Bodomo’s film, albino model and actress, Diandra Forrest, stars as the 17-year old Matha Mwamba who is part of the mission to be the first Zambian astronaut. Along with her are the other members of the Zambian Space Academy as well as Auntie Sunday, played by Yolanda Ross.

As said in a post-film discussion, the film has a timeless quality to it. Shot in black and white, the contrasts between the light of such images like the moon and shadows, like in the tent, are particularly striking. Also striking is the desert setting of the film; for a film about a space academy training to be astronauts, the lack of stereotypically futuristic or hi-tech tools replaced by the recycling of waste and scrapped materials, brings to the forefront the characters and why they need to do this. The characters do not seem to want to complete this mission for some commercial or nationalistic glory during the Cold War’s Space Race, but to show the desire of the spirit to overcome what appears to be the insurmountable. Despite her aunt’s fear of the danger or even her own, she is determined to go to the moon. Despite how they appear to others outside of the academy (just look at the original film for the space program above) and it rudimentary technology, they completely believe in the mission. Hoji Fortuna, who plays Nkoloso, tells Matha that she is the “mother of the exiles” and that he sees those in outer space “welcoming [her].” His nickname for her, a play on her name (“powerful woman”), harks back to a universal “mother of the abominations,” the mother of all the outcasts, and the underdogs, like in Revelations riding her beast of a spaceship on her way to usher in a new world.

Afronauts will be showing at NYU’s First Run Film Festival on April 3rd, the  Dallas International Film Festival on April 5th and 6th, and at Sundance London on April 26th and 27th in addition to several others. Also, Bodomo is planning on turning the short into a feature film.

 

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Rewind: Looking Back to Go Forward


For the last Rewind post for this month, here  is an episode from the Black History Month episode of Sister, Sister “I Have a Dream,” where Tamera is struggling with life changes and moving forward. She has a dream where she travels through the past meeting different well-known black figures who made a change in the world, and discovers that while change and the future can be scary, she is not alone because those who came before had to overcome the same fears to clear the path to a better future. The last scene we see that someone travels from the future to her to let her know that there are people who depend on her in the future, just as we did with our ancestors. Sankofa!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Afrofuturism/Afrosurrealism, Film, Histories, Rewind

 

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Otherworldly Videos: It’s a Kid’s World – The Invaders, Kid President, Because of Them…


The Invaders Web Series: Follows Angie Martinez, an eight year old girl who witnesses the start of an invasion of Earth.

Watch other episodes here.

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Modern Griots Reviews: Man From Tomorrow – The Time Wizard Jeff Mills


Last week, I attended the premiere of the Detroit techno icon Jeff Mills‘ film, Man from Tomorrow, and the film and following conversation stirred some thoughts. Overall, the 45-minute, Jacqueline Caux-directed film was a surreal journey into Mills mindset as a DJ, mixing his music with Caux’s otherworldly imagery. There are obvious abstract influences from films like Metropolis and 2001 Space Odyssey. The film begins with an epileptic-inducing sequence filled with his percussive womb-like sounds and flickering and distorting images that play with shadow, light and colors. It then switches to a scene were a group of people dressed in dark colors move in some sort of a trance state around in a circle and a straight-line march within this blank, minimalist space. Jeff MIlls eventually separates himself from this crowd going into his own heavenly space. Throughout the later part of the film, we hear his thoughts in a voiceover on progress, change and the future, our nomadic nature, space exploration and human self-discovery, the circling of time (that things can be revisted if the context of the circumstance has changed), time travel through music, and creating new language as we expand into our future.

Hearing Jeff Mills in conversation after the film, gave me some more context for the film. As a DJ, his constant travel, recording in studios and his performing, which is usually done away from the crowd, leads him to a kind of detachment, loss of placement and isolation. Music and sound, ephemeral and transient as they are, are the things he finds most reliable and able to shape. We see that within the foundation of the film. However, I do wonder if that sense of detachment could possibly also give him a superman (or even time lord) mentality, where he feels outside of time and space, kind of above and separate from everything else even while surrounded by them? How does that affect how he sees afrofuturism since based on his research, he thinks it is not as futuristic as he would like it to be. Is futurism suppose to look only one way?

 
 

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Rewind: “Cry of Jazz” and Restrictions on Black Excellence


Watching Ed Bland‘s short film, Cry of Jazz, this morning reinforced how times have not changed much.

The 1958 controversial documentary-styled film sets on a discussion after a jazz club meeting and the discussions and arguments literally feel like deja vu – white dismissals of black cultural contributions, black suffering, black knowledge and black excellence while ignorantly appropriating (“taking away our souls”) productions of our cultures. This is viewed again as a form of progress, using a color-blindness and individualism approach as defenses.

Other important points from the film:

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Otherworldly Videos: The Day They Came


“The Day They Came” is a Genesis Williams‘ directed short film starring Tony Doe and from the new Nigerian production company, Ficson. It seems like this going to be a web series, so I am interested to see more, particularly because of the special effects, which I read was done on a very small budget.

 

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