Producer Candice Afia’s “Patient Zero” Goes Viral

Producer Candice Afia’s film “Patient Zero” is getting rave reviews and was selected as an Official Selection at the Newport Beach Film Festival and is screening as a short at the internationally renowned Cannes Film Festival in France.

This short film is a dramatic thriller where two doctors must decide how to stop a peculiar disease from spreading. How far will these doctors go for the greater good…?

Coming to screen near you!

ANNOUNCEMENT: ProducHer Beats Looking for Talent

DISCLAIMER: This event is NOT sponsored or hosted by the IBWFF. This is a re-post. As with any audition or casting call announcement, you are strongly encouraged to use your best judgment in attending an audition or casting call. It is your responsibility to contact local authorities if you suspect illegal activities, exploitation or violence from the hosts, attendees or other parties in attendance

PSA: Calling all Talent!!

ProducHer Beats is co-hosting a radio show on shovio.com for upcoming talent everyweek, Monday and Wednesday. They are looking for rock pop R&B songwriters anyone musically inclined.

Please send them your info and what you do. They will have people come on the show or they can beam you in over the Internet.

Send your info to ProducherBeats@nullgmail.com!!!

On Facebook: Producherbeats

DISCLAIMER: This event is NOT sponsored or hosted by the IBWFF. This is a re-post. As with any audition or casting call announcement, you are strongly encouraged to use your best judgment in attending an audition or casting call. It is your responsibility to contact local authorities if you suspect illegal activities, exploitation or violence from the hosts, attendees or other parties in attendance

Oliver Stone Wants to Film Tony Award Nominated Musical “Memphis”

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

(Take the Poll at the end of this post!)

The New York Times reported that Justin Timberlake –who’s from Memphis, Tennessee– wants to make a film version of the Tony Award® nominated Broadway musical “Memphis,” starring singer/actress Montego Glover. Legendary director Oliver Stone has also shown interest in turning the musical into a film.

For those who aren’t into musicals, you’ll be surprised to know that Broadway is getting “souled” up lately, with such successes as “Fela!” and a revival of August Wilson’s “Fences,” starring Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.

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Timberlake is said to be interested in the lead role, but a leading lady hasn’t yet been discussed.In true Stage/Book/Television-to-Film style, they may just go the usual route and cast someone who isn’t necessarily an actress or a  stage singer. (It won’t be the first time.)

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Or, Oliver Stone may decide to “keep it real” and cast someone with a stage background to bring the miscegenation storyline to life.

Who Would You Cast?

South African Union Threatens to Boycott Jennifer Hudson

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Last month Jennifer Hudson announced that she will play Winnie Manikizela-Mandela in the Equinoxe Film WINNIE (due out in 2011). The Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA) promptly issued a statement to South African newspaper The Citizen protesting the fact that a South African was not cast in the role, and locals haven’t been sought to star in or work on the film. The union is composed on South African creatives, including filmmakers, actors and musicians. Renowned South African theater actor John Kani pointed out that, “the problem was not Hudson playing Madikizela-Mandela, but the lack of respect and acknowledgment for local creatives.”
Ms. Hudson’s casting also highlights a recent trend toward casting entertainers and singers as actors. Actress Nia Long –in response to Beyonce Knowles starring in yet another film– even went as far to state, “It’s just not about how talented you are anymore. It’s about, ‘How much box-office revenue will this person generate?’ ” But Ms. Hudson is not alone in the push toward entertainers, especially African American entertainers. She’s one of many in a long line that includes Ludacris (CRASH, GAMER), Alicia Keyes (THE NANNIE DIARIES, SECRET LIVES OF BEES), Ice Cube (FRIDAY, BARBERSHOP), Eve (BARBERSHOP, TRANSPORTER 3), and a host of others.
This brings up several issues that have been plaguing Africans/African Americans in film: 1) The right to accurate representation, 2) the dearth of roles for Blacks, and 3) trivializing the “craft” of acting. The movie industry in the United States is focused on the business of show business, and rarely do African Americans have the luxury to present “art” that doesn’t “make money.”  If African Americans in film can’t bring in an audience, then Hollywood –and some Blacks in film– will not bother to cast them in other films, or back films starring them. This is part of the reason why Hollywood continually brings in entertainers, and not actors.

Middle-America more readily recognizes Ludacris than it does Ruby Dee.

However, the entertainer-as-actor is not new to Hollywood. Many films have starred “entertainers” in non-musical films just to attract audiences. Nat King Cole in ST. LOUIS BLUES, Diahann Carroll in CLAUDINE, Eartha Kitt in ANNA LUCASTA, etc. Granted, all of the aforementioned –other than Nat King Cole– were also stage performers, and have starred in plays. Some will argue that Ms. Hudson received an Oscar® for DREAMGIRLS. Others will argue that the role wasn’t a stretch since it was about an R&B singer who doesn’t fit the mold of a successful lead singer of a girl group.

In regards to representation, African Americans have been battling Hollywood for decades. How we’re presented in film impacts how we’re received in public. Image and media strongly impact perception. A “repeated” image can destroy self-esteem, social gains and cultural acceptance. Starting with such films as D.W. Griffith’s BIRTH OF A NATION, Blacks have understood the power of the moving image. Many of the roles in BIRTH OF A NATION were white actors in “blackface” –a demeaning and intentionally hurtful practice of “blackening” an actors face with burnt cork or shoe polish and acting out Black stereotypes for entertainment. It was in part due to the lack of accurate representation that such filmmakers as Oscar Micheaux and Tressie Sauders filmed their own films starring Black actors in human, believable –and even comical– stories.

When the Civil Rights Movement gained steam in the United States in the 1960’s, African Americans took representation even further. Diversity in how actors looked was pushed (no more “paper bag tests” for Black actresses), and “authenticity” was expected (see Abbey Lincoln and Ivan Dixon in NOTHING BUT A MAN).

During the Black filmmaker renaissance in the late-1980’s and early-1990’s, the deluge of Black directors, actors and films, were the norm.

Children raised, or born, during this time period have always assumed that’s how Hollywood looked. Jennifer Hudson is one of those young adults. She would have been an adolescent when the Black filmmaker renaissance blossomed.  In regards to her role as an actress, it will require her to look deep and dark into the recesses of human indignity and violence to truly understand the impact of apartheid-era South Africa. Hopefully, she’s grown beyond her comments that she “didn’t know who the BeeGees” were when she was asked to sing their songs on “American Idol.” The Bee Gees? Really? I also hope that she breaks the acceptance of many young adults to totally disregard any history that pre-dates their adolescence.

Growing up, I was always aware of things that pre-dated me–including music, performers, film, etc. It wasn’t something I considered as “old,” and, therefore, negligible –like clothing. If she and Hollywood are going to stand by their decision to cast her in the role, then let’s hope that she takes the role seriously, and makes a concerted effort to improve her craft by researching Ms. Madizikela’s history, her life, and the era (and country) that produced her. And most importantly, let’s hope that Hollywood and Equinoxe Films respect Black actors in South Africa enough to heavily involve them in the process.

For Colored Girls; Rumored for the big screen

Post-“Precious” there’s another rumor circulating about the dynamic duo producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry: They will be producing a screen version of radical poet Ntozake Shange’s Obie Award-winning choreopoem, “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.”

Rumors are also circulating that superstars Halle Berry, Lynn Whitfield, Angela Bassett, and Jill Scott will star. There are even murmurings that the queen herself –no, not First Lady Michelle Obama– will star in the production. Oprah Winfrey is not new to the big screen, and her repertoire and film roles have only grown increasingly intense with each new film.

Who will deliver this ginormous project? Lionsgate. It would only make sense considering that the Wonder Twins jumped on the “Precious” train, and catapulted the indie-film to new heights.

Halle Berry attends Keep A Child Alive’s 6th Annual Black Ball hosted by Alicia Keys and Padma Lakshmi at Hammerstein Ballroom on October 15, 2009 in New York Cityjillscott

Can they do it for such a raw, real piece of work like “For Colored Girls”? Again, the casting seems a little off, but apparently that’s what it takes for a film to have any chance for survival. Big names, and bigger supporters.

The poem doesn’t give any wiggle room for glamor, perfect hair or guarded emotions. If you remember the poem, it deals with serious issues surrounding Black women, including infanticide, and other hot-button issues.

Hopefully, this project will come to fruition and whomever is selected to star will bring the same unpretty grittiness that the original poem demanded.

“Precious” Executive Producer Lisa Cortés Interviewed in The Root

With all of the talk and marketing around the phenomenal hit indie movie “Precious,” it’s easy to overlook some of the other contributors outside of the realm of stars and heavy-hitters.

LisaCortesThe Root columnist Felicia Pride interviews former Def Jam music insider and Yale graduate Lisa Cortés about her role in bringing “Precious” to the screen. According to Ms. Cortés:

The transformative power of the film is on so many levels. Precious is quite real. Even if you’ve haven’t been a victim of abuse, you can open your heart and see the type of engagement that you have with precious girls and boys, for abuse isn’t limited to young women. There’s also the recognition of humanity that’s so important.

Read the full story on The Root

Read more about Precious coverage

Indie Filmmaker Resources from S.A.G. Indie

Your friends at the Screen Actors Guild (“SAG”) have created an “indie” version at SAGIndie (http://www.sagindie.org). An interesting concept, but it’s up to you, the filmmaker, to decide if it’s helpful.

There are a number of administrative forms to keep your set and crew on-track –your investors will love that. No more little pieces of paper, random receipts, and indiscriminate scheduling.

You can even put a call out for casting, and add your business to their directory.

More info: http://www.sagindie.org

Gabrielle Union Will Produce Telepic for Lifetime

Actress Gabrielle Union is taking on a new role…executive producer. Following other Black actresses who are commanding a presence in film, media and television, Ms. Union has signed on with Lifetime to produce a telepic named “The Vow,” by author Denene Miller , along with co-producers Tracey Edmonds and Sheila Duckworth. Screenwriter Nzingha Stewart will translate the film to television.  Sisters are finding it better to do it themselves!

Original Script Deadline Extended to August 15th!

Organization of Black Screen Writers has extended its “Original Script” contest deadline to August 15, 2009!

I. Writers MUST print WGA or Copyright registration number on Title page.

II. Scripts must be free of author’s name and contact information. Attached submission forms will contain all contact information.

III. Writers interested in receiving coverage on their submitted scripts should send two copies and add $25 to the entry fee.

IV. OBS will accept a maximum of four scripts per writer. One fee per script.

V. Scripts will not be accepted: Unbound, unregistered, or over 125 pages in length (Features) 60 pages (TV Pilots). Submitted scripts should be formatted according to current industry standards.

VI. When there are multiple writers of a script, each writer MUST submit an entry form. All forms MUST be enclosed with script submission.

VII. Finalists will be selected by experienced readers. Winners in each category will be selected
by a particpating OBS board member. Winners will

Vote for the Next Big Filmmaker! Dee Rees!!

Vote at Netflix “Find Your Voice”: http://www.netflixfindyourvoice.com/
Web-site: http://www.pariahthemovie.com/ 

 Pariah is a coming-of-age drama about a lesbian teenager who unsuccessfully juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from her friends and family.

Producer Nekisa Cooper is looking for your voice and support for her film Pariah. Pariah is set against the kinetic and incongruous social landscape of middle class New York City, Alike vacillates between being a proud and sexually independent woman amongst her openly gay friends and being the feminine, obedient girl that her strict Christian upbringing dictates she be.

Torn by mounting pressure from home, school, and within, the line between her dual personas wears thin with explosive consequences.

Here’s a Message From Ms. Cooper:

Written by award-winning Sundance Institute Fellow

 Dee Rees, PARIAH, is a coming of age story about a black lesbian teenager

 struggling to express her sexual identity. We are fortunate to be 1 of 10

 semifinalists in the Netflix Find Your Voice Competition and I need help

 getting the word about for people to support the film. Please visit our

 website to learn more about the award-winning short film and our plans to

 turn it into a feature. Please contact me if you’re interested in

 learning more and supporting us in getting more diversity on the big

 screen! Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

 Best Regards,

 Nekisa Cooper

 Producer, PARIAH

Let’s support this film and this sister by voting for her at http://www.netflixfindyourvoice.com/

Studio Space Available

(Forwarded Announcement)

(*DISCLAIMER: As with all unsolicited Casting Calls and general announcements, always be careful of illegal activities or misrepresented services. If you have an Agent, always use an intermediary to schedule your Casting Calls and/or to report your whereabouts. If you suspect illegal activity, never hesitate to report illegal activities to the proper authorities.)

For a limited time offer, Silicon Valley Studios is now offering 1/3 off its regular
rates for studio rental! As your number one production destination conveniently located in Mountain View CA, our full service stages are perfect for your film, photography, or creative project.

Our space includes:

  • Two full service studios
  • Free wireless internet
  • Production offices with telephone access
  • Large dressing room
  • Lounge area for talent and crew
  • Full kitchen and dining area
  • Film and photography services provided by Paridym Pictures
  • (http://www.ParidymPictures.com)

So don’t wait, visit our website and print a promotional flyer at
http://www.SiliconValleyStudios.com or give us a call at 650.210.3632 to see how we can bring your production to life!

Developing Characters for the Big Screen – London

Host: Alicia Blumross and the BFI street geniuses
Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Location:
BFI Southbank
Belvedere Road
London, United Kingdom

Email:alicia.blumross@nullbfi.org.uk