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2013 S&A Black Cinema Database Entry #8 - 'Go For Sisters'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 16, 2013 4:19 PM
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Yolonda-LisaGay

First, the usual recap of the series (feel free to skip ahead, if you'll already read it)... 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 lengthy my list is, and the fact that it continues to grow the more research I do, I'm taking a different approach 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.

To see all the films that make up the database (at least those that have been profiled thus far) just click on the "2013 Black Cinema Database" tag at the bottom of this post).

Entry #8 is indie film maestro John Sayles' Go For Sisters, which Yolonda RossLisaGay Hamilton, Isaiah WashingtonEdward James Olmos, and Hector Elizondo all star in

First, a description of the project from Sayles' website read:

The plot concerns two friends, Bernice and Fontayne, who grow up so close they ‘go for sisters’, but then lose track of each other for twenty years. They are reunited when Bernice is assigned as the parole officer for Fontayne, who is fresh out of prison and fighting heroin addiction. But Bernice has an even more threatening problem. With a budget well under a million dollars and four weeks to shoot, this will be a return to the guerilla style of filmmaking familiar to Sayles from his early 80’s films Return of the Secaucus Seven, Lianna and Brother from Another Planet. Production will begin in mid-July.

As I said before, with this cast, Go For Sisters should be a well-acted drama (as Sayles films tend to be). 

I've been a fan of John Sayles since Brother From Another Planet. I haven't loved every film, but I dig his unwavering indie spirit. He came from the same *school* as directors like Martin Scorcese and James Cameron - working early in their careers with Roger Corman.

Sayles penned a few screenplays for Corman in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and it's primarily through screenwriting that Sayles has been able to survive - writing scripts (or sometimes rewriting) for higher-budgeted studios pictures, and using the money earned from those gigs to help fund his low-budget directorial efforts - films that often tell stories centered around the *under-represented* and marginalized, from all walks of life - as is the case with Go For Sisters - which centers around 2 black women played by Ross and Hamilton.

And I should say that it'll be nice to see LisaGay Hamilton on screen in a starring role. She also worked with Sayles in 2007's Honeydripper

The film wrapped principal photography in August, and has been in post-production since then. I suspect it'll debut on the film festival circuit this year. His last 2 films premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, so this could as well.

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