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Modern Griots Reviews: The Summer of Gods and Panel Discussion


Some of the best stories are the ones that connect back to original tales and cultural rituals that are part of the human journey. Today, sometimes the universal meanings, archetypes and principles behind our modern stories are hidden because we are disconnected from those ancient tales and rituals. Think of, for example, Little Red Riding Hood, which can be interpreted as an initiation fairytale with the grandmother as the grand wise mother or crone figure and the wolf as an Anubis-like figure leading her onto a path of rebirth of herself.

Eliciana Nascimento captures that universal story of returning to one’s roots and the ancient continuing to live in the new in her Afro-Brazilian and Yoruba Orisha-inspired film, The Summer of Gods. Opening with a boat ride, a young girl, Lili, is traveling with her mother and brothers to visit her grandmother and right from the start, we see she has the ability to hear and see spirits around her. Lucumi priestess and professor of afrofuturism, Koko Zauditu-Selassie, said during the panel that this establishing scene of the family going across the water symbolizes fluidity of generational memory and listening to the past, and that despite being abducted and forced across the water during the transatlantic slave trade, it did not change us completely. Water is a theme throughout the film, including a honoring ritual at the waterfall in Brazil in the beginning of the film and the two water-related Orisha – Yemanja (whose is along with her Brazilian festival a main inspiration for the film) and Oshun (the Orisha of the life-giving rivers). The water represents for this young girl a return to her ancestral roots and traditions, but also a fertile creative place where her new life can begin.

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Otherworldly Videos: The Alien Project + The Vacuum Is Too Loud


Here are two videos I watched from New York’s Channel 13’s Reel 13 film showcase and competition:

Catron Booker’s The Alien Project: “Alien imaginings? Alien times?Alien futures? Alien lives matter. An Afro-Futurist vision of resistance.”

Gus Péwé‘s The Vacuum Is Too Loud: “The story of a man who finds himself lost on Earth, determined to return home.”

 

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Otherworldly Videos: Ase + Dantago (The Icarus Project) Trailers


Nappy Nation Media presents Ase, an African historical fantasy short film and TV series concept. Shot on location in Nigeria, it is “set in the ancient West African kingdom of Oyo, and is about three ordinary teens on a seemingly ordinary day who have a not-so-ordinary supernatural encounter with a dark and evil spirit known as Elemoso.

This short film is a brief introduction to the concept for a one-hour epic television series we are developing based on the same setting and primary characters. Artists from all over Nigeria and America united to bring this story to life, in celebration of the beauty, complexity, and history of African people.”

Take a look at the behind the scenes interview:

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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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