First the ish....
I went to see The Hulk yesterday, and can I say "WOW"? I don't care what some people say, that movie was crazy entertaining! The most beautiful and completely loud smash, crash, and kill mayhem to date. For my longtime readers, as you know, I am not a blockbuster type of gal, so this is unusual for me to love such a huge movie. But then again, Ed Norton is not a blockbuster type of guy, so maybe that was key; the fact that it was him and not the bland ass vanilla type we've been seeing so much of lately. And maybe it was the fact that I used to be a mini-Hulk myself---Madame Invisible used to have a legendary temper, just like my fellow bloggers BygBaby and Slausin' Azz Slaus (who actually had to go to anger management, and luckily I bypassed). But like Ed Norton in the movie, I try to live most of my life now in a peaceful Zen state...but even now, if you push me too far.... "HULK SMASH!" haha
I also saw Fela Kuti's son Seun in LA last night. For those of you who don't know, Fela was a mixture of a Miles Davis/Sly Stone from Nigeria, known all over the world. He passed in the 90's, and 2 of his sons carry on his legacy. Seun is one, and he tours with his father's original band, The Egypt 80. The band and the background singers were tight as hell! Horns reminiscent of The Ohio Players, EW &F, and Parliament at their finest. Seun is an entertainer, but what caught my attention more was the fact that Mr. Kuti looked like he'd been raiding his father's 70's closet. He had on a bright polyester floral shirt unbuttoned down to his navel, and the tightest white Angel Flight pants one could ever witness in their life. I haven't seen anything like it since "Saturday Night Fever". Tho admittedly, but the end of the show, he was half-naked, which seems to be some sort of trademark of his.
But I digress....on to a brief discussion on Black Film Festivals, yes?
I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, and I don't want to offend anyone who reads this blog and is associated with said festivals, but we seriously need to step up our game. Seriously, if we are to garner any respect, we've got to get it together!
I know I said a couple of weeks ago that I would dispatch from the Hollywood Black Film Festival, but guess what? There wasn't any part of the program I was excited about. Their site is not user friendly, I couldn't get a decent synopsis of the films, and on the Monday before the festival, the still hadn't posted what would be the closing night film. WTH? Many non-black festivals have that planned a few months in advance. Film festivals are supposed to give exposure to little or non known films. If you see a long list of films, with absolutely no information about them at all, what will be the percentage of your motivation in seeing them? If you're like me, that would be hovering around zero. Which is the main reason I didn't go. Not to mention it was a logistical nightmare--it was held in Beverly Hills, where there is no place to park (unless you pay a grip), the tickets were not sold online and not convenient to buy, and there was no real place for folks to gather. Hopefully, they are thinking of new venues for next year. And oh, you might be in trouble when your most publicized attendees are Ice-T and Coco, I'm just sayin'.
As far as the San Francisco Black Film Festival, I have to admit they have stepped up their game (as far as I can see, but I did not go there either). The website is crisp, interactive, and professional, and they have expanded it to 10 days and several venues, with a rich and diverse program. My issues are 1) Why is one week planned the same week as the Hollywood Black Film Fest? We are already struggling in this medium, let's support each other if we can, and not compete (tho I know this isn't a focal point for the organizers) and 2) Publicity outside of the San Francisco Bay Area is severely lacking. Many non-black film festivals are well known across the country, and the SFBFF has been around long enough to be making some noise when it happens. But it doesn't, and that's a shame.
Not to big up the Los Angeles Film Festival (which *sigh* I am attending a bit, sorry my peoples), but this is where we need to be. Tons of publicity, volunteers, and organization, and an amazing list of films, categorized and cross referenced almost to death. Free swag in their ticket office (which you could also buy online). Easily accessible venues, all within a couple blocks of each other. Minimal competing times with other films, so you can actually see 5 quality films in a day. Repeats on most films, in case you missed it. A huge diversity of films from everywhere, and the World Premiers of "Wanted" and "Hellboy 2" which, btw, is directed by the dude that did Pan's Labyrinth. They also had a free talk with, him. as well as Common (?!) and others on several days. They are also honoring Melvin Van Peebles and showcased his new film. One idea they came up with, that I thought was terrific, is that they have free screenings of classic films. And films that I love--to wit: Pulp Fiction, The Lost Boys, Bye Bye Birdie, Scarface, Shadows (a film by the late John Cassavetes about interracial relationships made in the late 50's), and one of my very favorites Nothing But A Man, that I wrote about HERE.
We have so many lost treasures, and beautiful, classic films. Why are they not shown at our festivals? Don't get me wrong--the subject of Black film fests has come up a number of times here, and I always advocate, but now I call on my contemporaries to elevate, and elevate hard! Network, get out of your cliques, and expand your horizons! Let others in that will help, and possibly give you some ideas and some exposure. Why am I always contacted by publicists, film, music, and production companies, and never by Black Film Fests? (The wonderful Spaghetti Junction and Reel Black excluded). That should be the first step right there--getting to the Black Blog Afrosphere...step it up people! I know I may sound a bit harsh, but I want to see us shine like other film fests...our current system is not working, and many more people should have exposure to all of the wonderful films that are barely being seen.....I don't want to hear about funding--it's about creativity, reaching out to everyone, initiative and motivation!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
First the ish....