Shadow and Act

2012 ABFF Review: Conquering 'Otelo Burning' Finds Joy and Freedom Amidst Turmoil

  • By Vanessa Martinez
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  • June 26, 2012 6:43 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Sublime in its rich ocean scenery, where you will indulge in for most of the film, the majestically photographed Otelo Burning is actually set in the South African province of Lamontville in the late 1980’s, around the time when Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Review: Compelling 'Ballplayer: Pelotero' Is Exposé On MLB Training Camps In Dominican Republic

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • June 25, 2012 10:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment
A revealing portrait of one aspect of the business of baseball that may seem like relatively inconsequential business as usual for the average fan here in the USA, but is a matter or survival for those really young men (16-year-olds) who dream of multi-million dollar signing bonuses that will relieve them of the poverty they and their families live in.

Evocative Drama 'All Is Well' Takes Top Jury Prize at LAFF 2012 (Review)

  • By Nijla Mumin
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  • June 24, 2012 9:44 PM
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  • 3 Comments
There are few films that haunt me until I write about them. Some films are meant to be remembered but not necessarily reported on. Today, when I found out that filmmaker Pocas Pascoal’s film, All is Well (Por Aqui Tudo Bem), won Best Narrative Film at the Los Angeles Film Festival following it’s North American premiere last weekend, I knew I had to write about it.
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2012 ABFF Review: Must-See 'Soul Food Junkies' Is An Amusing, Enlightening, Important Doc

  • By Vanessa Martinez
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  • June 24, 2012 9:13 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Definitely a highlight at the American Black Film Festival, where it premiered and picked up the Best Documentary award, Byron Hurt's Soul Food Junkies is also a film we highlighted two months ago as a new project we’re excited about.

2012 ABFF Review: Eye-Opening 'Contradictions of Fair Hope' Gives Lesson in Identity & Dignity

  • By Vanessa Martinez
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  • June 23, 2012 11:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment
S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf’s directorial debut Contradictions of Fair Hope, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, documents the nation’s last surviving philanthropic society. Founded in Alabama by freed slaves after emancipation, the Fair Hope Benevolent Society began as Black Americans joined to fund funerals and burials; efforts to preserve human dignity and in turn lift the community’s morale by honoring the lives of ex-slaves amidst oppression.

ABFF 2012 Review: Compelling Political Drama 'Better Mus' Come' Misses A Few Chances

  • By Vanessa Martinez
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  • June 22, 2012 1:38 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Directed by Storm Saulter from a screenplay penned by Saulter, Paul Bucknor and Joshua Bratter, Better Mus’ Come –a fictionalized account based on real life events - is set during Jamaica’s 1970’s political turmoil among government’s socialism supporters and the Labor Union rebels to the 1978 Green Bay Massacre, in which the government tacked down and annihilated these opposing gangs.
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ABFF 2012 Review: Leila Djansi's Emotionally Rich, Thought-Provoking 'Ties That Bind'

  • By Vanessa Martinez
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  • June 22, 2012 9:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments
If you have seen Leila Djansi’s Sinking Sands (see my review HERE), you would know that the ambitious filmmaker doesn’t shy away from female-driven, heavy and poignant themes that elicit intense emotions.

LAFF 2012 Review: What 'LUV' Says About Manhood, or the Lack Thereof

  • By Jasmin Tiggett
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  • June 21, 2012 5:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Writer/director Sheldon Candis’ first feature is a gutsy Baltimore drama centered on 11-year-old Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.), a fatherless youth who gets a lesson in the hard-knock life from his hustler Uncle Vincent (Common).

LAFF 2012 Review - 'Middle Of Nowhere' (aka "Nothing But A Woman")

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • June 21, 2012 10:05 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Its star-studded, 800-seat West Coast premiere as a gala screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival last night, deserved a redit and repost of my review of the film after I saw it as the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. 

ABFF 2012 Review - 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' (A Striking Feature Debut On Courage & Resiliency)

  • By Tambay A. Obenson
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  • June 21, 2012 9:30 AM
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  • 6 Comments
Ultimately an ode to human resilience and self-reliance, Beasts Of The Southern Wild feels initially a little scattered, especially if you aren’t already familiar with the story; however by the second act, it all starts to come together and make sense. But what’s actually kind of interesting is that, without giving the plot away, there’s a structural chaos early on, that's accompanied by a blissful narrative; and as the film progresses into the second and third acts, there’s a reversal of that - the film’s structure seems to become much more orderly, while the narrative amplifies the tragedy.