Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I'm Mortal Impact

Leaving a legacy is no small performance for those who once lived. I only when I got to university, read the L. Frank Baum novel, and saw the play, did I fully understand the nuance, metaphor, milieu and true marvel of The Wizard of Oz. As a child, not even Dorothy's sparkling ruby red kicks nor her lush vocal chops could hold my attention.

Safe in my metropolitan 'Kansas', I was not searching for a wizard. Nor did I require an escape from my place in this world. There was no place like my home. Full of glory and excitement, having two loving parents, tons of sisters and brothers, a house of love falling upon me each day, and occasionally a family pooch to keep me moving gaily forward.

Today, I learned Jerry Maren, the last surviving munchkin from The Wizard of Oz passed away. Maren will surely ease on down the road and find Hollywood immortality and beyond. On screen, he represented the Lollipop Guild and famously gifted Dorothy (Judy Garland) the large, red and white swirled lollipop just before she and her pup, Toto, headed onto the yellow brick road to self-discovery before encountering the Wizard.

Released in the cinematic landmark year of 1939 by MGM, The Wizard of Oz won two Oscars, both for music, Original Song and Original Score and remains a favorite all across the globe.

There remains and shall always be, that and those, never to be clicked away.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blueprint to an Oscar

Recently I was asked if the wildly lauded and multi-Oscar nominated film 'Moonlight' reminded me of my first film 'Blueprint.'  With a ton of trepidation, I responded, "Yes."

Both 'Moonlight' and 'Blueprint' share and explore certain and similar narratives, aesthetic and imagery.  However, 'Moonlight' director, Barry Jenkins, original text writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and I share very different experiences warehoused in familiar human vessels.  At our most visual, we are African American.  We are men.  At our creative core, we have been reared, cultivated, educated, slain, and rendered invisible and uniquely marginalized, if our achievements are off of the sports grids.  With this, it makes my, and maybe Barry's and Tarell's' storytelling and view of our shared world very special and quite nuanced.

As a filmmaker, 'Blueprint, was deliberately inspired by two (2) things.  The first was the lack of images which unfolded my particular life scenario; and, secondly, Marlon Riggs' 'Tongues Untied', Kai Wai Wong's 'Happy Together,' Jenny Livingston's 'Paris Is Burning' and Spike Lee's 'Do the Right Thing.'  I intepret, output and share with the world via my art, language and expression based on all of my days before today, all the way down to the shores of my ancestors' original departure.

So as I cheer on the filmmakers of 'Moonlght' from Director to Grip, I know 'Blueprint' is apart of the DNA and path into the Oscar spotlight and gold standard.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Now Playing: Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You

The 11th annual Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You is set to unspool. New York's Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) Department of Film, in association with IFP, and Filmmaker magazine curates the best and unsung cinematic expression from the film festival circuit that have yet to be picked up for theatrical distribution.

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You has become an invaluable resource for cinephiles who seek to take in the newest emerging talent in American filmmaking on the big screen from visual film, video and digital artists to the freshest indie filmmakers.

This film series is dedicated to bringing New York audiences conversations around independent cinema and in-person engagement with filmmakers. The selected films are All This Panic, directed by Jenny Gage; Free in Deed (New York Premiere), directed by Jake Mahaffy; Hotel Dallas, directed by Sherng-Lee Huang and Livia Ungur; The Nine, directed by Katy Grannan; and The Pearl directed by Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca.

BFNPTNY takes place from December 16th - December 19th at MoMA. For more information on films, screening times, and filmmaker Q&As, visit:  MoMA.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thee Awards Season, Again

It is that time of year once more, autumn leaves, pumpkins, turkeys, silver bells, Santa and red carpets. As a dedicated independent filmmaker, who can only deal with Hollywood in the 4th quarter when $100 million dollar film productions are set aside to unroll the $100 million marketing and PR campaigns as Hollywoodteurs unleash their best and most thoughtful film fare with dreams of Oscar gold on their minds, ostensibly ushering in Thee Awards Season. It is a very special time of year where celebriots seek vindication after a year of bombastic cinemaplex distraction.

This year, 2016, showed promise for the likes of 'The Birth of a Nation,' however, in a bit of irony, as the nation elected its first outright racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist, and so many of anti-human behavior traits, US President, a long overdue cinematic unfolding of the true story of American hero, Nat Turner, a man seeking full ownership of his body and person, the film was marred in reckless scandal, while the most unpopular 60,000,000+ Americans elected a completely unqualified verbal brut to the highest office in our land and the world.

Of course, there are no guarantees in the Oscar votership of Hollywood nor with the attitudes or behavior of the American public; however, unpredictability seems always to be omnipresent throughout the land. While films like 'Moonlight,' 'Loving,' 'Fences,' 'Manchester by the Sea,' 'La La Land' and 'Lion,' are certain to make Hollywood feel great again with nuanced, if familiar, storytelling and narratives, the red carpet and epic award season is the ultimate Hollywood escape.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Once upon a filmmaking, there was a time in the not so distant past, where I eagerly awaited Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Film, Sundance Film Festival Audience Winners, Festival de Cannes Official Selections, and the IFC Gotham Independent Film Awards.

This morning, the 2016 Gotham Awards nominees were announced. For many insiders, journalists, filmmakers and Academy voting members, today signals the advent of awards season and the red carpet parade. Each year the list of names, production companies and distributors become more recognizable and achingly familiar, leading to the inquiry: Where is the independence? What is independent film?

While posing the rhetorical threat, I will offer some of this year's roster of nominations: Paramount Pictures, Amazon Studios, Roadside Attractions, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Annette Benning, Natalie Portman and Jeff Bridges. There is nothing particularly independent about said nomenclature and as a producer of independent film, the evolution from indie to Hollywood is to change or evolve the studio system from a closed narrative to an inclusive movie production arena where all stories are told. It is also to emerge from meager budgeted innovative cinema production to fully secured productions capable of being articulated to larger audiences.

With that said, I congratulate the 2016 Gotham Awards nominees, and look forward to not fully knowing any of the winners.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Making the Circuit. Flickeria's latest film Juliens's Bed has been accepted into the prestigious Thessaloniki Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival.

Known for its highly selected programming, TGLIFF always delivers a provocative slate of stand-out international cinema gems which veers entertainment into the fresh voices shaping the future of cinema and well beyond. Thessaloniki provides emerging filmmakers a platform to showcase their talent and vision while unfolding story narratives addressing issues in human rights, political, environmental and global issues without being didactic or pedantic.

Although our French-American-Arabic collaboration, Julien's Bed, screening has been pushed back until 2017. Flickeria is proud to be included into such an important world film festival and among those designing the future.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Flickeria is proud to announce our latest film Julien's Bed is now an Official Selection of the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival.