As mentioned on S&A last week, running from tomorrow September
11th through Saturday September 13th is the inaugural
showcase for The Leagues, a
clandestine Black graduate film student collective formed in the early 1990’s
out of New York University’s Kanbar Institute of Film & Television in an effort to tell their own stories on the own terms and not the ones they were expected to tell.
Still going strong, and with so many of their members continuing
to do groundbreaking work in film and media, they recently decided to
officially exhibit their work with the world in an effort to highlight the need
for these films to live in the public sphere and not in a vault or hard drive,
and also inspire generations to come. They also aim to continue highlighting films out of their
collective for years to come.
The Leagues Film Showcase, sponsored by New York University – Tisch School of the Arts – Kanbar Institute of Film &
Television, will include older student films not seen for some time, as well as
new ones that audiences have recently been clamoring for. The lineup includes diverse films like
the short film version of indie hit Pariah
by Dee Rees, Stacey L. Holman‘s still influential Girl Talk, the controversial The Adventures of Supernigger by Alrick Brown (director of
AAFRM released hit Kinyarwanda),
League co-founder George Stubbs‘ Peace and Quiet, starring Giancarlo
Esposito and Cynda Williams, and the South African coming-of-age film Stone Cars by Reinaldo Marcus Green, which is also still going strong on the film
festival market. The full lineup
can be seen on the event website here.
The opening night films present a special cross-section of
The Leagues with two films each from the three generations of the
collective. Taking place at the
Cantor Film Center, these films include The
Walking Dead director Seith Mann‘s
Five Deep Breaths (starring Jamie
Hector (The Wire) in an early
standout role, as well as director/actor Ka’ramuu Kush and House of Cards actor Curtiss Cook), the fantastical Afronauts by continually innovative
director Frances Bodomo, the
touching Rashaad Ernesto Green (Gun Hill
Road) short Premature, and Caran
Hartsfield‘s contentious Kiss It Up To God. The lineup also includes early
works from Shadow and Act Filmmaker Challenge winners – the boundaries pushing
director Nikyatu Jusu‘s African Booty
Scratcher and Twin Cousins from
League co-founder Rod Gailes OBC.
With the present and future as important as highlighting the
past, the closing night event will be an early career retrospective
on League member Shaka King’s career
with a screening of his hit feature film Newlyweeds
(2013), preceded by his student works Cocoa
Loco (starring Newlyweeds‘ Anthony Chisholm) and Herkimer DuFrayne, 7th
Grade Guidance Counselor. King will be speaking with the audience after the retrospective to share career advice to burgeoning filmmakers.
Free tickets for all these events can be found on The Leagues Film Showcase website. Some
include talkbacks with respective directors and invited guests.
Leagues Film Showcase is produced by League member James Richards, whose League
collaboration film 6 Things I Never Told
You screens on Friday, September 12, and, in full disclosure, myself,
Curtis Caesar John, who also curated the event.