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2012 New Projects We're Excited About #1 - Andrew Dosunmu's "Ma'George"

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by Tambay A. Obenson
April 24, 2012 7:08 PM
7 Comments
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Andrew Dosunmu

All the chatter about Restless City opening this Friday (courtesy of AFFRM), got me wondering and looking ahead to director Andrew Dosunmu's next film, which in turn inspired what is going to be a series of posts highlighting upcoming films that haven't debuted anywhere yet (not even on the film festival circuit), that we here at S&A are excited about; at least I, Tambay Obenson, am excited about.

So... we already alerted you to the fact that Monsieur Dosunmu, director of the lauded Sundance 2011 selection Restless City, is currently wrapping up on his next feature film, titled Ma'George - a project previously workshopped at the Sundance Labs in 2005, and was a recipient of a major grant from the Ford Foundation.

Why am I excited about Ma'George?

First, have you seen Restless City?

And even if you haven't, the talent alone that's involved in Ma'George, both in front of and behing the camera, should excite you: there's cinematographer extraordinaire Bradford Young, who also shot Andrew's Restless City (easily one of the most beautiful pictures I've seen in recent years), and Dee Rees' Pariah, who returned to collab mode with Andrew, shooting Ma'George as well; having not seen a single frame of this, I can only imagine what they've cooked up for the film in terms of its visual style. 

Of course there's the stylish Mr Dosunmu himself, in the director's chair. To think that Restless City was born out of his frustration with unsuccessfully trying to get Ma'George financed, and his insistence on not sitting around waiting for the money to come... the man, as he's stated, just got tired of waiting for things to happen, and made something happen; and that something was Restless City; it's almost as if he said, let me just throw something together in the meantime while I wait for the funds to make the film that I really want to make.

Not many artists can simply throw something together *in the meantime*, and that something turn out even close to the splendor that is Restless City.

And then there's the film's starring cast; I'll give you 3 names to start: Danai Gurira plays the lead character (a woman torn between her African culture and new life in America, struggling to please her husband and give him the son that will carry on his family’s legacy). Now if that name sounds familiar to you, it should! Many of you danced on table tops when you read (right here on S&A) that she'd been cast as Michonne in the upcoming season 3 of AMC's hit zombie series The Walking Dead. She might be a relatively unfamiliar face and name to most, but if you've seen any of her past work (Treme, most recently; she's also in Restless City) you'll know that she's got the goods; frequent Jim Jarmusch collaborator Isaach De Bankole - a man with a face that's its own character; it speaks volumes, and is perfect for cinema; we've written about him several times on this site, and I hope most of you recognize him. And last, but certainly not least, Yaya Dacosta (I doubt she needs an intro here).

I predicted that the somewhat secretive project would make its premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, but with that festival's lineup already announced, it doesn't look like that'll be the case. I had it pegged as a potential International Critics Week selection (a category that showcases first and second feature films by directors); but negative on that.

Worth noting, I've always felt that Restless City was very much a Cannes film; it fits their aesthetic, I'd say. 

So when will Ma'George debut? I'm looking out towards late summer, early fall - Venice or Toronto. Although the Los Angeles Film Festival will be announcing its lineup in a week or two, so who knows.

But no matter where it debuts, it's, without a doubt, a film I'm really curious about, and excited to see some early pre-release media, which will hopefully make me even more excited for it!

I'd like to say I already know what to expect, but I'm also counting on being surprised.

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7 Comments

  • Segunaspiringfilmmaker | May 17, 2012 9:24 AMReply

    I'm really excited about this one 'cause 1.) I feel this is going to be so epic; I've been following Mr. Dosunmu's progress for a while and I must say this Photographer/Music Video Director/Filmmaker of Nigerian descent is really trying. 2) When you're working with other top players like De Bankole (another filmmaker of Nigerian heritage) who has enjoyed a lot of recognition at Cannes, Movie gotta be on point and there is no doubt that 'Ma'George' is going to be premiered at this years' Cannes Film Festival #period.

  • madu | May 15, 2012 10:58 PMReply

    Restless City. Stagnant story.

  • David | April 30, 2012 11:09 PMReply

    Restless City was moody, rhythmic, lush. No arguments there. But it may not have hit Cannes because there was a razor thin narrative that sucked out any of the emotional life created by the visual frame. The characters, the performances, the elements that really mattered --- no story with any kind of believable conflict and momentum.

  • Micah | April 25, 2012 12:12 AMReply

    While I understand Nana's concern about taking control of our on representation I'm still excited about this film. There is a lot of great black talent behind the camera that I'm sure will create thoughtful portrayals on screen. Also it is possible for people to write interesting, complex and respectful portrayals of other ethnicities.

  • Kia | April 28, 2012 12:36 PM

    Those stories are being written, just not produced. I have a story about a Chinese male/black female marriage that I'm hitting the pavement with, so we'll see.

  • Nana | April 24, 2012 7:48 PMReply

    This film was written by a white woman...don't be fooled by the black face. I met them while they were filming in Brooklyn.

  • Yomi | April 26, 2012 3:00 AM

    @Nana,
    So what if the film was written by white woman. Good job Wale.

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