Paula Patton to star in Mission Impossible franchise


Actress Paula Patton

Actress Paula Patton (Precious) will star alongside A-list actor Tom Cruise in the latest installment in the Mission Impossible franchise: “Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol”.

“Mission:Impossible” apparently is one of the few franchises left that will actually hire Black actresses, so when they do feature us, our careers sky rocket. (Remember when Thandie Newton’s career went off like a bottle rocket after starring in the franchise?)

Hopefully, this film will set her back on track, especially given her knock out performance in the award-winning film, “Precious.”

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is set for release December 16, 2011.

BOO: 21 Jump Street in Production

The Good News: That teen 80’s cult super show “21 Jump Street” is being made into a movie. The Bad News: There’s not one Black woman in site.

Things may change, but currently the only cast members confirmed are: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and …wait for it… Julianne Hough. Um, yeah…

Granted, casting for a remake isn’t always true to the original (that is, characters change, new characters are added, and old characters are eliminated all together), but what a slap in the face to take the Black woman role away for the remake. (Yes, I can hear the cogs turning back progress on hiring actresses of color –for anything.)

If anyone remembers “21 Jump Street,” it was a true bit of teen pop angst, 80’s-style.

Big hair, neon colors and mullets-du jour, every teeny bopper tuned into the series. Holly Robinson-Peete (then just Holly Robinson), was the perfect complement to co-stars Johnnie Depp and Peter DeLuise.  She was hip, trendy-looking (with big curly hair and denim jackets) and never appeared to be a “token” cast member… she just was. Her presence was natural and expected.

Hopefully the producers of the “21 Jump Street” movie will get a clue that Americans are used to seeing Black women in the workplace, so why isn’t she working on the big screen?

Tyra’s Casting for Cycle 16 of America’s Next Top Model – DEADLINE Aug. 18th!

Okay, ladies. Get your photographs and attitudes on because media mogul Tyra Banks is casting for Cycle 16 of “America’s Next Top Model”!

If you ever watch the show, you know that it can be inspirational… or a big hot steaming pile of mess. Either way, it’s always fun and entertaining!

According to Tyra:

“Here’s what I need from you. You need to be:

* 18 – 27 years old

* a U.S. Citizen

* Apply by Midnight on August 18th!”

Sign up today at!

South African Union Threatens to Boycott Jennifer Hudson


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.

Twilight Series Finale Breaking Dawn Hiring for Extras

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.

According to an ad in the New York Times online, Explore Talent is now casting for all roles, including extras and principals. (IBWFF can’t vouch for the service, and you are strongly encouraged to always check out feedback for any talent acquisition company. To check out any business, charity or service, visit the Better Business Bureau at:

“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 ( 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:

5 Indispensable Websites for Filmmakers

If you’re a 21st century movie-maker, then youcan’t pass up the following sites to help promote your film! Most of your audience will hear about your film through an online presence, not your uncle at church. Make sure you have an email account to sign up for any of these sites!

5. Bullet Film

For free you can upload your film, and setup a film presence for your audience. If you have a trailer, that’s even better!

4. IndieGoGo

IndieGoGo is new on the scene, but is already impacting filmmaking and filmmakers! Get people to donate to your film, communicate with your fans, and network with other filmmakers! (And don’t forget to “friend” IBWFF when you get there!!)

3. Film

Where else can you find the ultimate, international film festival guide? Better site for the larger film festivals, like the Berlin Film Festival or the San Francisco Film Festival.


Convert almost any digital media to another format, including adjustments for sound, frames, size, etc. …and it’s all for FREE!

1. YouTube

YouTube is the film-/video-/movie-maker’s crack. The cons, is that your film is available …to everyone. If you have some old film school clips just sitting around, upload them and create a buzz and discussion around your work!

“Ragtime” is back

In case you missed the Broadway musical “Ragtime” the first time around, be sure to catch it in the 2009-2010 season in NYC! Some of you may remember the movie adaption by the same name, which starred stage and screen performer Debbie Allen (“Fame”) and the late-Howard Rollins (“A Soldier’s Story”), or it’s 1998 revival starring the multi-talented diva Audra McDonald.

Everyone’s excited by a revival of this poignant and entertaining musical that covers three families, racial strife, political machinations, the rise of Eastern European immigration, and the clash of cultures between a burgeoning Black

urban population and the white industrialists who exploited their labor.

The casting call just went out this past summer, but the cast is already hard at work in rehearsals! Check out what’s to come and here’s a little reminder of the magic of the screen version.

The Losers gain Zoe

Step aside Uhura! Zoe Saldana is back with yet another sci-fi role that’s fit for the big screen. Aside from her role in the 3-D spectacle “Avatar” (due out in December 2009), Ms. Saldana will star as the character Aisha, alongside heart-throbs and alpha males Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen”) and Idris Alba (“The Unborn,” “The Wire”). The name of her new film is named “The Losers,” and is Warner Bros.’s adaptation of the comic book series from Vertigo Comics –written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Jock.

Look for “The Losers,” coming out April 2010.

Related Story:

Indie Go Go for the indie filmmaker on the go

Are you a filmmaker looking for a home for your film? Do you want to make it easier for anyone to send you money? There is a service we’ve featured before, but it deserves another look!

IndieGoGo has expanded it’s services to include such things as social networking sharing, widgets for your film page, announcements, calendar of events, and more! Best of all? It’s FREE.

Granted, like with any good idea they may start charging, but, who knows, right? For now, get your film out and to your public.

With their user-friendly interface, you can build a useful web-page for your film and get the word out!

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!

Attention Filmmakers: Discounted studio rental rates in July – just $59/hr!

Come to Silicon Valley Studios in July and receive special discounted rates all month for your film, photography, or creative project! With two production stages, office facilities, dressing room, lounge area, and more, Silicon Valley Studios is your premiere production destination! And now with our new green screen backdrop and a variety of lighting equipment on hand, Silicon Valley Studios offers the highest quality of studio service!

Hourly- $59/hr
Half Day – $199
Full Day – JUST $399!

Also, our space is perfect for meetup groups, networking events, or customized presentations! Check out our site at for more information or give us a direct call at 650.210.3632 today to see how Silicon Valley Studios can bring your next production to life with this limited month offer!

LATEST SVS NEWS: Apple Computers shoots a commercial at Silicon Valley Studios for their i-Movie demo!

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
  • (

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