Made public this afternoon, here’s the feature film lineup for a festival that I co-curate, which takes place in Brooklyn, NY, from Thursday, March 26 through Sunday, March 29, at BAMcinématek.
Boasting 4 New York premieres, 1 US premiere, 1 world premiere, the New Voices in Black Cinema festival is presented by Fort Greene-based ActNow Foundation, a non-profit arts organization founded by the late Aaron Ingram, and now run by Martin Majeske, the managing director.
The detes follow via press release below – a lineup full of films that you’ll recognize, given past coverage on this blog. So mark your calendars, as I hope to see some of New Yorkers there next month:
Opening the festival on Thursday, March 26 is the world premiere of Ben Bowman’s Knucklehead, a hard-hitting Brooklyn drama starring Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire) as a dysfunctional mother-son pair. When mentally disabled Langston realizes he must break free from his mother’s toxic grip, he seeks out a celebrity health hack he believes has the key to his independence. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with Bowman and Akinnagbe.
The fifth year of New Voices in Black Cinema offers an array of strong narrative features, including the New York premiere of C.J. ‘Fiery’ Obasi’s edgy throwback zombie film Ojuju (2014—Mar 27), in which a group of friends must dodge ravenous reanimated corpses in a cramped Nigerian slum. Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s South African monochrome thriller Of Good Report (2014—Mar 26) follows a schoolteacher (Mothusi Magano) who conducts a wild affair with his 16-year-old student. Originally banned in its home country, this Lolita-esque noir shocks with a strong performance by Magano, who recalls “Jack Nance in Eraserhead or Anthony Perkins in Psycho” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian). Also screening are the US premiere of Rob Brown’s Sixteen (2014—Mar 29), which recounts a former DR Congo child soldier’s struggles to reconcile his traumatic past with his new life in London, and Nefertite Nguvu’s atmospheric Brooklyn ensemble piece In the Morning (2014—Mar 28). Nguvu will appear in person for a Q&A following the screening.
This year’s festival also includes an extraordinary selection of documentaries charting the political climate across the globe. Among them is acclaimed cinematographer Arthur Jafa’s (Crooklyn, New Voices selection In the Morning) feature-length directorial debut Dreams Are Colder Than Death (2014—Mar 27), which screened at last year’s New York Film Festival and contemplates the black experience in America via interviews with Charles Burnett, Kara Walker, and others; Joanna Lipper’s The Supreme Price (2014—Mar 28), an ambitious look at Nigeria’s political evolution through the eyes of feminist Hafsat Abiola and “one of ten films all human rights activists should see” (The Huffington Post); and Life’s Essentials With Ruby Dee (2014—Mar 28), a tender documentary directed by Muta’Ali Muhammad about his grandmother, the cherished actor and iconic activist. Also screening is the New York premiere of Rachel Perkins’ Black Panther Woman (2014—Mar 29), a portrait of one woman’s experience in the Australian Black Panther movement.
Other highlights include the New York premiere of Andrew Adkins and George Potter’s An American Ascent (2014—Mar 27), a documentary about the first group of all African-American mountaineers to climb Mount Denali; Kiara Jones’ charming family drama Christmas Wedding Baby (2014—Mar 27); the New York premiere of Destiny Ekaragha’s Gone Too Far (2013—Mar 28), a side-splitting comedy about the new relationship between a British teenager and his Nigerian brother; and a Shorts Program (Mar 29) made up of a biting new satire by BAMcinemaFest alum Shaka King (Newlyweeds), a documentary on a machete master in Haiti, and more. Christmas Wedding Baby director Kiara Jones and producer Ralph Scott will appear in person for a Q&A.
Since its inception, ActNow Foundation has presented stories about race, love, family, cultural differences, self-empowerment, the corporate world, and the toils and aspirations of the working, middle, and upper classes, with a declared mission statement to “promote and preserve independent films and theater that reflect the infinite range of African diaspora images across the globe.”
For the complete lineup, as well as exact screening dates, times and ticket sales, visit: http://www.bam.org/film/2015/new-voices-in-black-cinema