As Nijia Munin wrote in her review of Nefertite Nguvu’s feature film “In the Morning,” when it was screened at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York last year (here) what may seem at first to be a light, breezy summer film about friends and love is actually something else much deeper and richer. It becomes, as she said, “an intense dissection of relationships and interpretations of love… adding a sort of contemporary romanticism to the film… We grow up hearing stories of love – fairytale romances, love at first sight, dream weddings – but what happens when love takes none of those forms? What happens when it is complicated, delayed, abrupt, or even painful? Does it still qualify as love?”
And isn’t that what we keep asking for? To see black people on the screen who are intelligent, complex, interesting and, above all, human? And that’s what Ms. Nguvu’s film accomplishes in more ways than one, and does so very well.
Now after a highly successful year-long run on the film festival circuit, most recently this August at the Black Harvest Film Festival in Chcago, Ms Nguvu is ready to take the next step, and is currently making plans for the distribution of her film.
However, she is forgoing the usual path of working with a traditional theatrical distributor for the film (who most likely wouldn’t have clue on how to handle a film with non-stereotypical black characters), and instead plans to release “In the Morning” independently, in theaters and on VOD.
So, yesterday, she established a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign “in support of a hybrid, non-traditional, theatrical and Video on Demand distribution model for her multiple-award-winning film. With this independent distribution plan, ‘In the Morning’ will open theatrically, initially in three cities – New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta in the spring of 2016; and simultaneously, the film will be available to audiences everywhere via select VOD platforms, such as iTunes and Vimeo.
As Ms Nguvu states, “Sharing ‘In The Morning’ this past year with audiences at film festivals has been incredible. I’ve met so many people, from all walks of life, who’ve expressed nothing but gratitude and love for our efforts, and expressed a desire to see our film, and more films like ours, become widely available. Though this has been deeply fulfilling, I made this film with the hope that it would reach diverse audiences – including those who might not attend film festivals.”
She also adds that she is “excited to now have the opportunity to connect our film directly with a much wider audience. In addition to the digital release, we are developing innovative ways to re-imagine the experience of cinema for our communities. We’ll be partnering with local cultural institutions to present my film in our debut cities, and make audience engagement a part of every screening. Changing the environment that films are seen in changes the experience, and creates a more meaningful dialogue.”
For more on the project and fundraising campaign, visit it’s Kickstarter page here.