Library of Congress National Film Registry Announces the Annual Selection of 25 of America’s Most Influential Motion Pictures

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For Release 9am

December 17

Library of Congress National Film Registry Announces the Annual Selection of 25 of America’s Most Influential Motion Pictures

“Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People”, “Eve’s Bayou”, and “Something Good” among the titles added.

Columbus, OH— December 17 — On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, the Library of Congress National Film Registry announced the annual selection of 25 of America’s most influential motion pictures to be inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage.

For its 30th year selection, the National Film Registry included “Rebecca” (1940), “Cinderella (1950), and “Days of Wine and Roses” (1962). A short-animated film entitled “Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People”, by director Ayoka Chenzira, one of the industry’s first black female animators was also selected. “For my independently produced animated experimental film to be included in the National Film Registry is quite an honor,” said Chenzira. “I never imagined that ‘Hair Piece’ would be considered to have cultural significance outside of its original intent, which was a conversation and a love letter to Black women (and some men) about identity, beauty and self-acceptance in the face of tremendous odds.”

The new list also includes “Something Good — Negro Kiss,” a 29-second film that is believed to be the earliest known footage of African-American intimacy on screen, as well as director Kasi Lemmons’ 1997 film Eve’s Bayou.

Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board works to ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s film heritage, including: advising the Librarian on its recommendations for annual selections to the National Film Registry, apprising the Librarian of changing trends and policies in the field of film preservation, and counseling the Librarian on ongoing implementation of the National Film Preservation Plan. The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. Featuring the first comprehensive look at American film preservation. Information was gathered through hundreds of interviews and library research, as well as public testimony and written statements from over 100 organizations and individuals.

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Keya Crenshaw
Black Chick Media

hello@blackchickmedia.com

Creed II Review: Can You Smell the Oscar?

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and week after. Unlike the rest of the world, I was lying on my couch with a fever and missing the opening weekend of Creed II! But don’t fret, the first day I was able to live again I took myself to the movies. I thoroughly loved this sequel.

Just in case you don’t know, Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed from the classic Rocky series. Basically, he fights, loses, goes through a journey of depression and self- discovery, trains with his mentor, fights, and wins. Along the way, he is in love with Tessa Thompson’s character, Bianca, and they go through some trials.  Which may sound incredibly predictable and boring, but I promise, it wasn’t boring.

Let’s break down why this movie was so great. First, Michael B. Jordan, and not for the reasons you think. Yes, we can see he is a beautiful man and he may possibly taste like tootsie rolls; clearly, this is a major reason we are intrigued by him; but for me, his acting has always seemed a little vapid, like it was missing some depth. With this performance he showed maturity and growth with his craft.  Sitting in the audience, I could feel his emotions through the screen, not because Adonis’s inner struggle was relatable, but because Jordan did such a terrific job depicting his character’s state of mind throughout the whole film. This performance felt more profound than his others. He really seemed like he held his own with veteran actor Sylvester Stallone. He shared the screen with him instead of just being in a scene with him. Can we smell an Oscar nomination? Hope so.

Reason number two, Tessa Thompson. She transforms herself into her characters like an ice cube melts in water. Thompson’s portrayal of Bianca was strong, confident and independent. She was not Adonis’s trophy but his equal. She had her own life outside of him but she knew when he needed her and how he needed her.

Sometimes women in these types of movies are depicted as shallow, weak, and expendable. As if their whole lives are revolving around this one man and they don’t have anything else going for them. Not this time. She has a career that was making big moves alongside his fighting career. And it was evident that he needed her just as much as she needed him. She was not replaceable. As a black woman I saw myself in her. I saw myself in her fears, her strength and the love she had for her man. For the record I would have also been the loudest person in the Arena in Russia that night as well, “Drago who?”

Reason number three, can we talk about the amazing way this movie was shot? Not only was it beautiful, but I appreciate long medium shots to build suspense, with slow-motion close-ups, as opposed to fast cuts with close-ups. I get it, we learn in video editing 101 that in order to show action we need fast cuts but it doesn’t always get the audience to lose themselves in the movie. The verisimilitude of the fighting scenes had me holding my breath with every punch. I was literally sitting at the edge of my seat watching this movie and the only thing that would bring me back to reality was someone coughing in the theatre.  Kudos to director, Steven Caple Jr., for capturing those moments perfectly. Can you believe this is his first major motion picture? Well, I hope to see a lot more from him.

Reason number four,  the love story between Adonis and Bianca. Bianca was everything Adonis needed. When he was weak, she was his strength. When he needed to be humbled, she was there to bring him back to Earth. When he needed encouragement, she cheered the loudest. Ryan Coogler did a fantastic job of writing a love story that was based on real love and admiration. Adonis never cheated on her, hit her or hurt her in any way. He praised and supported her music career, he was her strength when she was weak, and he made sure he provided for her. They were a team. That is the way love is supposed to be.  

This movie was a great sequel to the first one. If you haven’t seen either Creed films, you should. Go to Amazon Prime and rent the first one, then go online and buy your tickets for the second. It’s worth it.

‘BlacKkKlansman’ Review: Did Spike Lee Sell Out?

BlacKkKlansman was Spike Lee’s way of getting white people to like him again”, was my brother’s response when I told him I had just watched BlacKkKlansman. I was highly offended by his statement but I blew it off knowing he isn’t the film connoisseur, that I am.  Or, maybe that was the excuse I made for his completely ridiculous statement. Either way, I will say since the movie’s release I’ve noticed that many others in the black community share my brother’s opinion — that Spike Lee is pandering to a white audience; but with a story like this, shouldn’t he?

For those of you who haven’t seen the film, I’ll give you a short synopsis. Based on the memoir by Ron Stallworth, BlacKkKlansman is a dramedy set in the 1970s, about a black police officer, played by John David Washington. In an attempt to build his career as the first black police officer in Colorado Springs, Stallworth successfully infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. With the help of Jewish police officer, Flip Zimmerman, played by Adam Driver, they expose the KKK’s potential violent plots, members who held positions in government, and their future plans for the “organization.”

The story in itself is quirky and funny, and Lee visually encapsulates the memoir perfectly.  Stylistically, the angles and the juxtaposition of shots, in addition to the transitions from scene to scene, this film had a different feel and quality than Lee’s other joints. It has a sort of Wes Anderson feel with a Spike Lee twist. Maybe that’s what made this movie seem so different; to some, like he “sold out,” but this movie wasn’t made for black audiences. This movie was an announcement, and an exclamation of what black people have been screaming for decades: That white supremacist (terrorist) groups, like the KKK, have infiltrated multiple government agencies, lobbyist groups, and positions of power to preserve the institutional racism that continuously, consistently, and historically oppressed  citizens of color. This is not a message that people of color need to hear. This is not a lesson that people of color need to learn. We know it all too well. This is a story for white people.

What helps push the message of irrational entrenched tribalism throughout the film is Topher Grace’s convincing portrayal of Grand Wizard David Duke. David Duke is one of the driving forces who helped change the public persona of the KKK. Topher Grace has a likeability factor, an unobtrusiveness that made him perfect for this part, that no matter what hateful word came out of his mouth, there was still something likable about him. That is what made David Duke, David Duke. Duke made racism seem more palatable for the masses. It becomes obvious in the film how important Duke’s new branding message for their organization is to the members through the special measures they take to safeguard the privacy of the club and it’s members. They stop calling themselves the KKK in public and discuss termination of the old tradition of cross burning among other things (no spoilers here folks). But as we all know, that ritual hasn’t gone away.

Sometimes, as an artist, they have a responsibility to educate their audience, as well as entertain. This movie is not designed to appeal to all black audiences, but to white liberal ones. We know as a community that we need white allies to help support our fight for equality. This film reflects the reality of the purposeful maintenance of the status quo, separate but inherently unequal for citizens of color. The white liberal politician sitting in the audience has the ability and resources to make a change at a higher level. If this was Spike Lee’s intention, then yes, he should cater to white audiences, but that doesn’t mean that black audiences shouldn’t see this movie. It’s a great story and it’s a joy to watch. I don’t think anyone should count it out just yet.

 

Written by Liz Bennett

Columbus Native and Filmmaker to Host First Columbus Black International Film Festival

For Immediate Release: June 13, 2017

 

Contact:

Cristyn Steward

columbusbiff@gmail.com

 

Columbus Native and Filmmaker to Host First Columbus Black International Film Festival

Columbus Black International Film Festival will highlight a spectrum of stories told by artists of the African diaspora.

COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus native and filmmaker, Cristyn Steward will host the first Columbus Black International Film Festival (CBIFF) August 4-6 2017 at Columbus’ own Wexner Center for the Arts and Columbus College of Art and Design. The film festival will showcase local, national, and international stories from the African diaspora in the city of Columbus.

CBIFF will premiere at the Wexner Center for the Arts featuring local filmmaker Mark Cummings Sr. as a keynote speaker, with two short films; Dr. Race: Practicing Medicine while Black and Heroes of Color: Harlem Hellfighters; and feature film Holy Hustle followed by a networking reception for filmmakers. The festival will continue the following day at the Columbus College of Art and Design. The day will include film screenings, a workshop about making a good film taught by local sci-fi filmmaker Celia Peters, and a panel discussion featuring various media and representation professionals.

Cristyn Steward is a Columbus native and seasoned filmmaker with many years of experience in the industry. Steward’s expertise and vision gave her the inspiration to host an event for the city of Columbus to get to know artist in her hometown that truly give a meaning to visionary art.

The Columbus Black International Film Festival has received support from well-renowned organizations in the arts community including the Wexner Center for Arts and the Greater Columbus Arts Council as well support from Stonewall Columbus and Equitas Health. There are plans to invite multiple local businesses and organizations to be a part of this event as a way to showcase to attendees all that Columbus has to offer.

The primary objective of the festival is to showcase black filmmakers locally, nationally, and internationally while creating an opportunity to network with various artists in the filmmaking community.

For more information, contact Cristyn Steward at columbusbiff.com.

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