Press Release: Women Filmmakers Enter Your Films for the 16th Annual Women of African Descent Film Festival Today


Contact:                                                                          BLACK CHICK MEDIA, LLC

WADFF

c/o The Brooklyn

Chapter of The Links, Inc.

PO Box 50013

Brooklyn, NY 11205-0013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Brooklyn, NY 26 January 2017: The Brooklyn Chapter of The Links announces the Call for Film Entries for the 16th Annual Women of African Descent Film Festival (WADFF). WADFF will showcase films focused on Women, their families, neighborhoods, and the global community. Featuring an international roster of films, the Festival will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2017 at LIU Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, NY 11201 in the Spike Lee Screening Room from 10am-6pm.

Films must be produced, written, or directed by a female filmmaker of African descent and must have been completed on or after June 1, 2012. All work must be submitted by March 24, 2017. Jurors Choice Awards and stipends will be presented to participating filmmakers.

Formed in 1952, The Brooklyn Chapter of The Links is dedicated to the support of educational, civic and cultural activities in Brooklyn. It is a chapter of The Links, Inc. an international, not-for-profit corporation, whose membership consists of 14,000 professional women of color in 282 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The Brooklyn Chapter works under the guidelines of its national organization in providing services to its Brooklyn Community in five mission areas:  The Arts, Services to Youth, National Trends and Services, International Trends, and Health and Wellness. A focus of the Chapter’s arts programming is to empower women and youth by lending support and encouragement to emerging artists – with a particular focus on filmmakers for the past 16 years.

The foundation for all of the chapter’s programs and services is rooted in the African American tradition of giving and volunteerism. Members share a deep sense of communal responsibility, and for the past 64 years, have been committed to actively initiating and supporting educational, cultural, and civic programs that positively impact the lives of people of African descent residing in Brooklyn.

The 13th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival

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Beyoncé: Fierce & Flawless. Bow Down.

-photo credit via usmagazine.com

Hello Black Chick Media followers! It’s Sam Joseph aka @fakesamjoseph here with my first post. Naturally, it would be about a woman I, as well as many others have admired for over 16 years: the one and only Beyoncé.  Its hard to believe in only 9 days she will be turning 33. That’s right 33. With a net worth estimated at over 450 million dollars, 75 million records sold as a solo artist worldwide (and an additional 60 million records sold as a member of Destiny’s Child), few entertainers over the years have achieved the level of success and instant name recognition that this remarkable woman has: TIME Magazines Most Influential Person of 2014, The Most Powerful Celebrity in the World of 2014 according to Forbes, 9 American Music Awards, 16 BET Awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards (including the Billboard Millennium Award), 17 Grammy awards (amongst 46 nominations, thus making her one of the most nominated artists in history and the third most honored woman in Grammy history), and now 18 Video Music Awards including the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which she received Sunday night in an emotionally charged acceptance speech which concluded with a loving embrace with husband Jay Z and two year old daughter Blue Ivy.

In a much hyped performance, Beyoncé sang a medley of her critically acclaimed, multi-platinum self-titled fifth album BEYONCÉ for an unforgettable 16 minutes that had many a celebrities up and out of their seats singing and dancing. Clad in nothing but a bejeweled Tom Ford bodysuit, (a custom made version of a bejeweled tunic sent down Ford’s Spring 2014 fashion show), booties, a microphone and her signature golden locks, she proved to us all once again why she is arguably the greatest entertainer alive.

2014 MTV Video Music Awards-photo credit via MTV

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles) was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas to Matthew Knowles and Celestine “Tina” Beyincé. (Beyoncé’s name is a tribute to her mother’s maiden name).

Beyoncé was educated at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Texas, where she enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered when dance instructor Darlette Johnson began humming a song and she finished it, hitting the high-pitched notes. Beyoncé’s interest in music and performing continued after winning a school talent show at age seven, singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” to beat 15 and 16-year-olds. In the fall of 1990, Beyoncé enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform in the school choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. Beyoncé was also a member of the choir at St. John’s United Methodist Church as a soloist for two years.

Aged eight, Beyoncé and childhood friend and cousin Kelly Rowland met LaTavia Roberson while in an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They were placed into a group with three other girls as Girl’s Tyme, and rapped and danced on numerous talent shows in Houston. After seeing the group, R&B producer Arne Frager brought them to his Northern California studio and placed them in Star Search, the largest talent show on national TV at the time. Unfortunately Girl’s Tyme failed to win. (Beyoncé later said the song they performed wasn’t good.) The girls auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, moving to Atlanta Records briefly to work on their first recording, only to be dropped by the company. On October 5, 1995, Dwayne Wiggins’s Grass Roots Entertainment signed the group. In 1996, the girls began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music, and shortly after, the group secured a contract with Columbia Records. The group changed their name to Destiny’s Child, based upon a passage in the Book of Isaiah in the Bible, and within a matter of years, the group churned out the recognizable international hits: “No, No, No”, “Bills, Bills, Bills”, “Say My Name”, “Jumpin’, Jumpin'”, “Independent Women Part 1” (Their longest running Billboard number one single clocking in at 11 consecutive weeks atop the chart), “Survivor”,  “Bootylicious”, “Lose My Breath”, “Cater 2 U” and “Soldier”.

It was after the success of Destiny’s Child that Beyoncé took her career even further, establishing herself as a high profile brand and solo artist. 2003’s Dangerously in Love debuted atop the Billboard 200 (and to date remains the entertainer’s top selling album with 11 million copies sold worldwide), and spawned the international hits “Crazy in Love” (featuring her then-boyfriend Jay Z), “Baby Boy”, “Me, Myself and I” and “Naughty Girl”. “Crazy in Love” was critically lauded and is currently listed at 118 on Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of the 500 Greatest songs of all time.

-photo credit via flickr.com

Before the release of her second studio album B’day (With the instantly recognizable hit “Irreplaceable”, which to date, remains her longest running solo number one with 10 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100), that was recorded in only three weeks and released to coincide with her 25th birthday, she starred in a Golden Globe-nominated leading role in Dreamgirls opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy playing a singer based on one of her major influences, Diana Ross.

On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé married Jay Z in secret and revealed their marriage to the press in a video montage at a listening party for her third solo effort I am…Sasha Fierce one month before its release on November 18, 2008. The album, her third consecutive number one solo album on the Billboard Hot 200, was comprised of the Billboard Hot 100 number one and feminist anthem “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”. This song was an instant hit because of its highly choreographed and iconic music video that featured her, and two backup dancers in nothing but black leotards and stiletto heels. The album also featured the top ten hits “If I Were A Boy”, “Halo”, and “Sweet Dreams” giving Beyoncé the record of having more top ten singles than any other woman during the 2000s. On January 20, 2009, Beyoncé was given the honor of performing a rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” at President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s first inaugural dance.

After a short break from her career, during which she traveled the world, she headlined the 2011 Glastonbury Festival, becoming the first solo female artist in twenty years to do so. Her set list comprised of songs from her fourth studio album 4, including “Run the World (Girls)”, and “End of Time”. “Love on Top” the fourth and most successful single from the album was performed at the 2011 Video Music Awards and at the end of this performance, she revealed that she and Jay Z were expecting their first child by dropping the mic and opening up her blazer to show off her growing baby bump. Her appearance helped the 2011 Video Music Awards become the most watched broadcast in MTV’s entire history with 12.4 million viewers. Her child, named Blue Ivy Carter, was born on January 7, 2012. Only a year later, Beyoncé sang the American national anthem at President Obama’s second inauguration. The following month she performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show to critical acclaim. Later in the month she released her HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, which along with being directed and produced herself, revealed footage from her childhood, her roles as mother and a businesswoman, as well as recording music, rehearsing for live performances, and her return to the spotlight after her daughter’s birth. Later in the year she embarked on her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, which went onto become not only her highest grossing tour but also the highest grossing female and solo tour of 2013 as well as one of the highest grossing world tours of all time.

It was the unexpected December release of her self titled fifth studio album that took the music and entertainment industry by storm with the lack of any prior promotion. The album debuted at number one and made Beyoncé the only woman to have her first five albums debut at number one. The single, “Drunk In Love” which features husband Jay Z, was a commercial success as well, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. After the conclusion of The Mrs. Carter Show, she and Jay Z embarked on their joint On the Run Tour, their first co-headlining stadium tour together.

Despite all of these accomplishments, it is the heart, passion, and humility Beyoncé possesses that sets her apart from her contemporaries and can be attributed to her success today. She reminds us all that we are all capable of great things if we put our hearts and souls into what we are doing. I will always be a fan of this amazing woman and look forward to the many albums, tours, and performances of hers to come.

photo credit via girlthatsmysong.com

 Keeping it ***Flawless as always (thanks to Bey)

thefakesamjoseph

Lights…Camera…Action!

Recently, I had the honor of sitting down with actress Francesca De Luca.  Born and raised in Hammersmith, London, England, Francesca, who is also a musician and dancer, has played such classic characters as Shakespeare’s Titania, to playing a decapitated ghost and working opposite Joan Collins on television.  Quite a varied career indeed.  And one filled with much excitement and fun; we should all be so lucky.  I am happy, and very lucky indeed, that we met last year while I was in New York City on business, and that we are finally able to sit down for a long, and entertaining, chat. So, go ahead, make your nice hot cuppa. Grab a few choccy biscuits, and read along.

 

Photo by Matt Harquail - © Matt Harquail

Photo by Matt Harquail – © Matt Harquail

Tell me a bit about the work you do, both film and otherwise. What sort of projects do you work on?
I  started out doing more theatre in London where I have been based my whole life. I love to play a wide variety of roles whether theatre, film,  tv or voice-over. A challenge is what I love. I have done Shakespeare playing Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream which toured the UK, and played roles in modern plays like Carla, a Texan in Kennedy’s Children which was on for a month to packed out audiences in Camden’s well known Etcetera Theatre.
I have worked with Joan Collins on a tv program shown on mainstream UK TV called “Strange But True” where I played a ghost who was a countess in Venice and had her head chopped off by her husband because she was unfaithful! This was based on a true story!
I am very good at accents and character work so always like to stretch myself. Also, I love comedy as much as drama. The main thing is, I like to move an audience to make them feel something, make them cry or laugh or enlighten them in a powerful way. I love a great script that lifts off the page and has layers and a great character arc. That’s why I love productions from HBO like The Sopranos or The Wire or AMC like Breaking Bad. Inspirational!

When did you know you wanted to be an actress?  What was your first role?

In my teens I always watched theatre and I remember going to the RSC and seeing productions with my mother. I remember seeing a production of Richard II with Jeremy Irons and I criede watching it. Afterwards, I went to the stage door to speak to Jeremy and he came out in his dressing gown! I told him how moved I had been and thanked him for his wonderful performance. I wrote to him again and told him it made me want to be an actor and that I wanted to move people too. He was so lovely and invited me to his next production and gave me some advice. I will never forget that.

In my sixth form at school, when I was 17, I was offered the role in a play of a flirty nurse or a 50 year old German, hunchback, owner of a lunatic asylum who goes mad at the end of the play! I decided I would definitely play the hunchback and take the amazing challenge. (Even though the nurse would have made me a lot more attractive to the boys in the school!) My best friend saw me on stage and didn’t recognize it was me, and asked my mum when I was going to come on stage after I had been on for a while. After playing this role, I was one hundred percent certain that acting was going to be my life.

Francesca, you are most well known for being in the cult film Orpheus and Eurydice playing a lead role opposite Oliver Reed. What was it like working with him?
Amazing! I couldn’t believe that I would be acting opposite him, an actor I had admired hugely as I was growing up. He was a very lovely genuine man, very humble and passionate about his role. He was so accomplished that in filming he was able to do perfect first takes.

You played the sorceress Algeoniki in this film, In both this and The Voice, which we will get to a bit later, you kill people! You seem to be quite the chameleon, from sorceress to secret agent… I won’t say anymore because that would be spoilers, but what do you find enjoyable about those roles? What do you feel they give women?  Do you enjoy playing baddies?
Ha ha! Yes, I love playing baddies! Much more fun. I see it that I am so nice in real life and have a chance to play at being bad in films and explore a part of myself that I wouldn’t otherwise! Although I like contrasts in characters, so they are not one dimensional. I like it when you don’t expect the character to do what they do, like killing someone and what drives them to do that; how they feel after and so on. I like strong, interesting women in film and especially baddies, for instance Kill Bill and Monster, both films I love with strong female leads.

Joseph Gatt, also an English actor, who played Charon in the film has gone on to major stardom starring in Star Trek Into Darkness and The Game Of Thrones. Perhaps you are Hollywood bound?

I hope I am! I love the States. Yes, it was great working with Joseph on the film and he was a genuine and talented guy then too. It’s wonderful to see his success. Hollywood can definitely give me a call too!

How do you feel about the international film community? Do you find it easy to access? Inclusive?  It seems to be changing a bit; how do you feel about that?
Yes it is much easier to access now especially with twitter. I was seen on twitter by the director Magda Olchawska who saw my show-reel and cast me as a lead in her feature film which was shooting in Poland fairly recently.  It is easier to interact with directors, producers, casting, actors etc and it really feels like a huge global community of sharing and helping and supporting. So many films are made now because of Indiegogo and Kickstarter crowd funding platforms and it is the filmmaking community on twitter that are often the people who support each other in these projects.

How does one become and remain active in the acting community?

I think it is important to continually train and go to acting classes, film acting classes, sight reading etc. Through that you meet like minded actors and can share information and support each other. I have been a member of London’s The Actor’s Centre for many years now, and they also hold events which I have been part of. And I was recently on a panel there to help advise younger actors just out of drama school. I have also been training the past year and a half at Anthony Meindl’s acting studio in London and when when he has been in London for masterclasses, which has been wonderful and an important part of my life.

Now, 
let’s talk about your film The Voice, which was part of the 48 hour Film Festival and shown at The Prince Charles Cinema Leicester Square on the 6th of October of 2012. It was directed by Verster de Plessis and produced by Nic Holman. 
Tell me about that. Sounds fascinating.
Ah! It was lovely to see the film at The Prince Charles Cinema. It is one of my favorite cinemas in London. I enjoyed  working with Verster and Nic and my co star Jason Wing. And yes I was pretty creepy in this if I do say so myself! Not a happy ending! The organizer of the festival complimented me on my acting which was nice.

What do you think of today’s entertainment trends?
I see now that tv is becoming better quality than many films. With HBO and AMC and so on producing such high quality shows people are watching more tv and A list actors are wanting to be acting in them like Matthew McConnaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective.
The writing in these types of shows is so high and the acting, directing and cinematography is top level too. I love how HBO has often taken risks on casting  and newer actors are given chances to show what they can bring to a role.  Web series are a newer trend which is starting to take off and gives many actors work they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Netflix is proving that most people don’t want to wait a week to watch the next episode of a series and prefer to binge-watch episodes like The House Of Cards.

Tell me about the best part of your work


I love creating true characters who live and breath moment to moment, and delve into aspects of myself. To play a role truthfully I must face myself and let my emotions release freely whether it is drama or comedy. I love people and working with talented people as a team to create something magical that will captivate audiences around the world. I love to be a mirror to people and help them understand themselves or people they know better, through film or tv and to expand their consciousness in some way. I love the live aspect of theatre, however I love that tv and film can reach more people of all cultures.  I also love to entertain and give people respite or escapism from their lives or simply lift their spirits.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead, or alive, who would it be, and what would you say to them?


Wow. Where do I start?! It has to be these two! Forgive me for wanting two!
To meet my favorite filmmaker Martin Scorsese and ask him to audition me for a role in his next film.  I would want to earn the chance of working with him and all I ask is a chance to show what I can do!

To meet myself at the age of two and hug me and tell me that, despite my father abandoning me, that it is not my fault and that my grandfather will be the best ‘father’ I could ever have. (That’s why I changed my acting name from Agati to De Luca, after my grandfather’s name, as I felt he was more of a father to me and I feel proud to have his surname)

Who is your inspiration/role model?
Charlize Theron, especially for her role in Monster.

What are your passions?
I love listening to all types of music and I play electric guitar and some bass and drums. But I need to practice more! I love nature and the ocean. I love dancing and I love laughing with my friends!

Photo by Matt Harquail - © Matt Harquail

Photo by Matt Harquail – © Matt Harquail


How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate. Determined. Fun.

What are your next projects?



I will be playing a quirky lead role in a fun comedy film called Perfect directed by John Trigonis. We will be filming in the States, in New Jersey, in September of this year, and before that, working on the final script and rehearsing. I am really looking forward to that as love New York too and look forward to seeing my American cousins who live there.

Also, a film called “Anna and Modern Day Slavery” directed by Magda Olchawska is soon going to be sent to many film festivals around the world, so I am keen to see the reaction to the film. It is about human trafficking, so is an important subject. I play a lead role, the Russian secret agent in the film.

There are other productions in the pipeline too, including a film to be directed by Anthony Meindl who saw me act at his London masterclasses over the last year and a half. He is an inspiration to me, so it will be an honor to work with him. And I will be playing a French woman in a WW2 drama in another film directed by Rebecca Mac for Charmed Life films.

 

Actors Studio Redux


What is your favorite word?
Love

What is your least favorite word?
Hate

What turns you on?
Happiness in someone’s eyes

What turns you off?
Injustice

What sound or noise do you love?
Gentle waves on an ocean

What sound or noise do you hate?
Gunfire

What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck

What profession other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Musician

What profession would you not like to do?
A soldier

If Heaven exists, and there is a God, what would you like to hear Him say to you, when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Fancy seeing you here!!

 

Francesca, it has been both an honor and pleasure speaking with you. 

I wish you the very best.

Love

BCM