As I noted in an entry towards the end of last year, 2013 should be an interesting year for black cinema (at the studio level, indie, and across the disapora). Looking down my continuously-growing list of black films scheduled for release (theatrical, TV, or home video), as well as those that will debut on the film festival circuit this year, it's quite long, and, as noted, is still growing.
In fact, I'd say that we might find ourselves in one of those rare years, when there's a fuller than usual slate of studio-backed black films, to complement the indies - an indie slate that, given what we know so far, should be strong - and foreign (to the USA) titles from Africa, Europe, South America, Canada, etc.
As I usually do at the start of every year, I take a long, hard look at everything we should look forward to for the year; but given how lenghy my list is, and the fact that it continues to grow the more research I do, I'm going to take a different approace this year.
Instead of compiling a single list into one lengthy post, I'm going to highlight each film individually, 1 per day, until I've listed them all. No worries, there won't be 365 titles; I'm still going to be somewhat selective in deciding which titles to highlight. But not too strict, so as to include as many as possible. We'll just see how it goes, and take it a day at a time, as the database is built.
First I should note that Bow Wow's military thriller, Allegiance, opened (last week), so consider it already entered into the database, as entry #1; and yesterday, second on the list, given that it opens this weekend, is Marlon Wayans' found-footage horor-comedy, A Haunted House.
Entry #3 is Tina Gordon Chism's We The Peeples, which stars Craig Robinson, David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington, S. Epatha Merkerson,Melvin Van Peebles, Diahann Carroll, and Kali Hawk.
Finally, we'll get to see this, after more than 2 years since we first reported in on the old S&A site. We thought it would be released in 2012, but Lionsgate eventually, in late 2011, that the film wouldn't be released until March 29th, 2013, which took all of us by surprise.
About 4 months after that announcement, it was pushed back to another 2 months to May 10, 2013, which is where it currently stands. Let's hope Lionsgate doesn't change the release date again.
Produced by Tyler Perry, Stephanie Allain and Paul Hall, the film centers on Robinson's character, a young man enduring the weekend from hell when he surprises his girlfriend by showing up to meet her parents.
The full synopsis for We The Peeples reads:
Wade Walker is eager to propose to his girlfriend, Grace Peeples. But after a year of living together, the beautiful, successful Grace is still cagey about introducing average guy Wade to her ambitious, upper crust family. So when Grace leaves for an annual reunion at her parents’ swanky Sag Harbor compound, Wade decides to crash the gathering, charm his soon-to-be in-laws and slip a ring on Grace’s finger. However Wade's plans go hilariously awry when he meets the high-powered, seemingly picture-perfect family who’ll do whatever it takes to keep up appearances. Wade soon finds himself caught in a web of white lies and comic dysfunction, and realizes that his only hope of ever marrying Grace means a take-no-prisoners face-off with Judge Peeples, Grace’s disapproving dad who won’t accept anything less than the very best for his favorite daughter.
Somewhat similar class struggles we saw in Jumping the Broom.
Chism, who both wrote and directed the film, makes her feature directorial debut with this movie, although it looks like Lionsgate will be releasing it with the title Tyler Perry Presents We The Peeples.
I understand why; I suppose the hope is that his stamp on it will drive box office. Although, it could also keep some away who aren't fans of his brand, who see the title with his name on it, and assume that it's a Tyler Perry film, even though it's not, and Chism's name (as well as those of the other 2 producers) will get buried.
But with May not-so far away, we should see a first trailer for the film very soon.