Independent Black Films
While some are still waiting for Hollywood to tell our stories others are taking it upon themselves to find funding to tell it ourselves on the Independent circuit.
The first film you want to try to see is Medicine for Melancholy. You can view this movie from the comfort of your home on IFC in Theaters on your cable tv. It’s about black people who aren’t gang bangin’ or dancin’ or doing slapstick comedy with black male actors playing the lead female roles in a fat suit or black people working high powered jobs but still spend 20 hours a day lamenting about love.
Are they sure these are black characters? Director Barry Jenkins drew on his own experiences as a Miami transplant in San Francisco.
“As a person of color from the South, San Francisco was the first city that really made me feel like an other,” Mr. Jenkins said over breakfast in Brooklyn recently. Because he was in an interracial romance when he got there, he added, “I was almost buffered.”
“When that relationship was off,” he said, “it was like I was seeing the city for the first time.”
The film is not about race but how people deal with it, live it. “Micah comes across as pro-black, and Jo’s is more of a post-race point of view,” Mr. Jenkins said. “When I started the film I was teetering between these two viewpoints. It’s like I was splitting my personality in two.”
The next movie that is a must see is not for every one. I read the book Push by Sapphire when it first came out about 10 years ago; actually, I’ve read it several times. (And, if Sapphire should be web searching her name and happens upon this blog I just want her to know I’ve given up on her ever coming out with another novel. Nope, I just gave up on you. The same for you, too, Ms. Sandra Jackson Opoku)
I don’t know if I can explain the novel to without turning people off from the story. Two weeks ago a friend and I exchanged emails where I tried to do exactly that and I turned her off from the story.
The story is about Precious Jones an illiterate teen with two kids who has been abused by the adults in her life. It can be compared to the Bluest Eye or the Color Purple but I really think the story (like those other two) stand on its own next to them, not conjoined to them. And like those other two I think Push should be required reading and, from the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, required watching.
But if this is too heavy for you don’t worry, Madea Goes to Jail should be coming out soon. No clip for that film, though, because if you’ve seen the first one know how it goes.