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Exclusive: Array Releasing Sets Theatrical Dates for 2015 Pickups – ‘Ayanda’ & ‘Out of My Hand’

Exclusive: Array Releasing Sets Theatrical Dates for 2015 Pickups - 'Ayanda' & 'Out of My Hand'

Just over a month after the distribution collective announced its re-launching, along with what will be its next two releases (“Ayanda” and “Out of My Hand”), Array Releasing has now set a Fall 2015 special “double feature theatrical experience” that will include both pickups, kicking off on November 13 in Los Angeles and New York City, followed by a national tour to include Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Seattle, Houston and Boston.

“’Ayanda’ and ‘Out of My Hand’ are films that represent the breadth and width of diverse filmmaking. A drama dissecting love in all forms directed by a South African woman, and a story of migration and masculinity directed by a Harlem-based Japanese man, both starring all-black casts, prove to be a powerful duo,” explained Array’s Executive Director Tilane Jones. “These are the varied visions and voices that Array celebrates and amplifies through our releases. We’re thrilled to showcase these films together for film lovers who appreciate distinct, robust storytelling from underrepresented perspectives.”

Directed by South African filmmaker Sara Blecher, “Ayanda” was the opening night film of the 36th Durban International Film Festival this year, making its North American premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June. 

Set in the vibrant, Afropolitan community of Johannesburg’s Yeoville, “Ayanda” is a coming-of-age story of a 21-year-old “Afro-hipster,” who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, when she has to fight to save her late father’s legacy – a motor repair shop – when it is threatened with closure. She’s thrown into a world of gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars once loved, now in need of a young woman’s re-inventive touch to bring them back to life again.

The film stars Fulu Mugovhani and Nigerian actor OC Ukeje, with a star-heavy South African cast that includes Ntathi Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Jafta Mamabola, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba and veteran star of stage and screen, Vanessa Cooke.

This is director Sara Blecher’s follow-up to her critically-acclaimed “Otelo Burning” (covered quite extensively on this blog), which also opened the Durban International Film Festival, in 2011. 

And Takeshi Fukunaga’s directorial debut, “Out of My Hand” – a film that was selected for the prestigious main program of the Berlin International Film Festival’s Panorama section in February of this year – tells a story of a worker on a Liberian rubber plantation who wants to get away from a life overshadowed by civil war, and so moves to New York where he lives a new life as a taxi driver.

The film’s stars (Bishop Blay and Zenobia Kpoto), as well as of its cast for the Liberia portion of the shoot, are played by Liberians, who, for the majority, are acting for the very first time. As the filmmakers said previously: “We consider ourselves very fortunate to have found such an extraordinarily talented cast in Liberia. There are of course few opportunities for actors to practice their craft in the country of Liberia, due to its small, but resiliently passionate film community. Our hope is that this film will shine light on them, and hopefully contribute in whatever small way to bringing still greater opportunities for them to do what they love.”

Brandon Wilson saw it and reviewed for S&A here, calling it simultaneously “of the moment but also timeless.”

A review of “Ayanda” is forthcoming.

In the meantime, Array’s theatrical playdates follow immediately below.

Opening dates for both films are as follows:

Starting 11/13              Los Angeles                Downtown Independent

Starting 11/13              New York                    Imagenation RAW Space

Starting 11/18              New York                    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

And here are the one-night tour engagements for each film, separately:

“Ayanda”

11/13               Washington DC           Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art

11/14               Atlanta, GA                 Georgia Pacific Auditorium presented by Bronzelens

11/17               Philadelphia, PA          African American Museum presented by Reelblack

11/19               Houston, TX                Houston Museum of African American Culture

11/22               Montgomery, AL         Pure Art Literary Café

11/24               Seattle, WA                 Ark Lodge Cinema

12/01               Calabash, NC             South Brunswick Islands Center

12/05               Boston, MA                 Reel Life Experience at Arts Emerson

12/05               Greensboro, NC         The Artist Bloc

“Out of My Hand

11/14               Atlanta, GA                 Georgia Pacific Auditorium presented by Bronzelens

11/17               Philadelphia, PA          African American Museum presented by Reelblack

11/20               New York, NY             Imagenation RAW Space

11/22               Montgomery, AL         Pure Art Literary Café

11/24               Seattle, WA                 Ark Lodge Cinema

11/26               Houston, TX                Houston Museum of African American Culture

12/01               Calabash, NC             South Brunswick Islands Center

12/06               Boston, MA                 Museum of Fine Art Boston

12/08               Washington, DC          Anacostia Arts Center presented by Parallel Film Collective

12/12               Greensboro, NC         The Artist Bloc

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