BRIDESMAIDS Opens to Guffaws and Great Reviews

Saturday Night Live alumnas Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig outperform the expectations of the bromance The Hangover 2 in the outrageously funny Bridesmaids. According to the NY Times movie reviewer Manohla Dargis, “Bridesmaids,” an unexpectedly funny new comedy about women in love, if not of the Sapphic variety, goes where no typical chick flick does: the gutter.”

The producers of The 40-Year Old Virgin, SuperBad, and Knocked Up seem to have a special affinity for smart, funny women surrounded by raunchy men. In this case, the women get their turn to be as anti-chick flick as Fight Club… all within the supreme context of feminine achievement, a wedding.

Bridesmaids could also care less about you bringing your kid: It’s Rated R.

Much of the smart comic writing comes from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo; however, the comic delivery is unsurpassed by the ensemble cast led by Maya Rudolph, who stars as the bride, Lillian. For those of you who still don’t know, Maya Rudolph is the talented actress and comedienne who used to star on Saturday Night Live and is known for her skits featuring imitations of Whitney Houston, et al. She’s also daughter of the inimitable singer Minnie Ripperton, and the goddaughter of the late-Teen Marie. She currently lives with and has a committed relationship with director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Magnolia), and the couple have two daughters together.

Bridesmaids is in theaters now!


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!

Whitney Performs; Fences Opens; Tribeca Premieres; and More!

April has been a busy month for film premieres, events and glam gatherings! From the opening of the late-August Wilson’s drama “Fences,” starring Viola Davis and Denzel Washington, to Whitney’s shaky comeback, we have the latest photos of the latest glam gatherings!

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Sophie Okonedo Stars in Skin

Sophie Okonedo stars in the true story of Sandra Laing, a Black woman born to white parents in apartheid era South Africa. The complicated story explores race and class and the tenuous relationship between them all in an unjust society. Unlike many of the “tragic mulatto” films, this story takes a deeper look at how we define race, and how it effects every aspect of who we are and who we think we are. This film also stars Sam Neil and Alice Krige as Sandra’s parents.

Read the SF Chronicle review:

Indie Filmmaker Resources from S.A.G. Indie

Your friends at the Screen Actors Guild (“SAG”) have created an “indie” version at SAGIndie ( 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:

NY Times features Precious

By now, many of us have heard about director Lee Daniels’ directorial masterpiece “Precious,” and how Oprah Winfrey produced, and how it won the Audience Award at Sundance, etc., but finally the New York Times thought enough of it’s many accomplishments to feature it in their October 21st Magazine.

“Precious” is controversial and demanding, and the subject matter makes many –especially in the African American community– quite uncomfortable. Like “The Color Purple” before it, the subject matter of dejected, ridiculed, emotional and physically abused Black women, somehow pushes all of the right buttons. Add to this drama the fact that it’s focused on an obese, dark-skinned, illiterate, young Black woman, and now all of America has an opinion. Rarely is are African American women commented upon outside of the glossy, capped tooth world of entertainment, but this film wasn’t presented at your local movie theater, but at the art-crowd world of film festivals.

If you’ve ever questioned the validity and strength of film festivals, this film may prove you wrong.

Actress Gabourey Sidibe speaks onstage at the Precious-Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel on September 13, 2009 in Toronto, Canada

Buzz started at the Sundance Film Festival, when the film was known as “Push.” Unfortunately, there was another film that came out at the same time and had the same name, but that film had major studio backing, big names, over the top CGI, ear-bleeding sound effects and lousy acting. Guess who won.

“Precious” is based on a book called “Push,” written by the author Sapphire, and the book is based on her life of abuse and low-self-esteem.

The Times’ article is interesting in some of the quotes it chose to add, though it is worth reading, especially for Lee Daniels’ insight on the world of film festivals… which is why we have the International Black Women’s Film Festival ( One of the quotes I found odd, though insightful, is from Mr. Daniels. The average American may have no clue regarding the context, and I wish they’d use the opportunity to “educate” the reader. Mr. Daniels is quoted as saying:

Director Lee Daniels attends Precious

‘Precious’ is so not Obama,” Daniels said. “ ‘Precious’ is so not P.C. What I learned from doing the film is that even though I am black, I’m prejudiced. I’m prejudiced against people who are darker than me. When I was young, I went to a church where the lighter-skinned you were, the closer you sat to the altar. Anybody that’s heavy like Precious — I thought they were dirty and not very smart. Making this movie changed my heart. I’ll never look at a fat girl walking down the street the same way again.

As someone who is not into fetish-izing pain, adversity or dysfunction, I do believe this is a fresh opportunity to open up dialogs that are too quickly shut down in society.

“Precious” screened at the Toronto International Film Festival

Sundance 2009 grand Jury Prize and Audience Award Winner “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” screened to an enthusiastic audience at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival!

Media moguls Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Films) and Tyler Perry backed Lionsgate Films’ acquisition of North American distribution rights to the film. Lionsgate acquired the film February 2, 2009.

This is the first film distributed under Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Banner. According to Suite 101, the film stars Mo’Nique, Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd, Nealla Gordon, Stephanie Andujar, and Grammy-winning artists Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.

Francis Ford Coppola Exclusive Screening!

TETRO is Francis Ford Coppola’s first original screenplay since THE CONVERSATION. It is his most personal film yet, arising from memories and emotions from his early life, though totally fictional. It is the
bittersweet story of two brothers, of family lost and found and the conflicts and secrets within a highly creative Argentine-Italian family.

Special Exclusive Limited Engagement in Digital Projection

LA – The Landmark, Pico at Westwood
NY – Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema, 143 East Houston St.

Other Theater Listings

June 11
The Landmark, Los Angeles, CA

June 11
Sunshine Cinema, New York, NY

June 19
Egyptian Theatre, Seattle, WA

June 19
Embarcadero Cinema, San Francisco, CA

June 19
Sundance Kabuki, San Francisco, CA

June 19
Century Centre Cinema, Chicago IL

June 19
E Street Cinema, Washington, D.C.

June 19
Kendall Square, Boston, MA

June 26
Regency South Coast Village Cinemas, Santa Ana, CA

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The Netflix Find Your Voice Film Competition

The Netflix FIND Your Voice Film Competition

$150,000 Feature Film Cash Production Grant + $250,000 worth
of resources including film stock, processing, camera rental, Film Independent
mentorship, exposure to a Blue Ribbon judging panel, Screening at The
Los Angeles Film Festival + Netflix Distribution to 8 million member audience.

Deadline: February 9, 2009 – No Entry Fee Open to first time feature
filmmakers residing in the U.S.

Netflix and Film Independent have joined efforts to create the Netflix FIND
YOUR VOICE Film Competition in order to discover the next great film talent.
In addition to the cash production grant, 35,000 feet of Kodak Color Film,
film processing, camera rental, and post production services, the contest
winner will receive mentorship and resources from Film Independent, a
non-profit organization dedicated to helping independent filmmakers get
their films made, building the audience for independent film, and increasing
diversity in the film industry.

The competition will be judged by a panel of major independent filmmakers,
producers and actors, including Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, Milk,
W), Dustin Lance Black (Big Love, Milk), and Bruce Cohen & Dan Jinks
(American Beauty, The Forgotten, Big Fish, Milk)

First-time filmmakers who are legal residents of the U.S. who have not yet
created and publicly screened a full-length narrative feature film of 70
minutes or more are eligible to enter the competition. There is no fee to
apply but a maximum of only 2,000 submissions will be accepted between
January 9th and February 9th, 2009.