The third Shadow and Act Filmmaker challenge winner, And Then..., played to a packed house on Wednesday night at the Dim Mak Studios in Hollywood. In fact, the first screening was so well-attended, there was a second showing afterward. Co-written by thespian-turned filmmaker Ka'ramuu Kush and actress Aisha Hinds, and directed by Kush, the film is described as a "coming of womanhood" story that deals with one woman's confrontation of issues surrounding body image, communication, and the psychology of sex.
Film leads Diandra Lyle and Kush give memorable turns as star-crossed lovers embarking on a quest for sexual fulfillment and trust, with the assistance of friend, Baybee played by Vanessa Williams. With a sultry score, and hints of Chicago swag, the film delves into areas of black sexuality that aren't usually embraced in mainstream cinema, making it both refreshing and perhaps a bit controversial. The last scene plays up this tension well, combining sensuality with grounded performances and natural dialogue.
In attendance were several notable black filmmakers and actors including Bill Duke, who also serves as consulting producer on the project, Roger Guenveur Smith, John Singleton, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Omari Hardwick, Dorian Missick, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Alimi Ballard, Aisha Hinds, and Vanessa Williams, among many others. The film was produced by Cheryl Bedford, Sean O'Halloran, and Kush. A lively Q&A with the cast and crew followed.
The film will make its online premiere on this site in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
The S&A Films Black Filmmaker Challenge is a contest in which S&A Films (a partnership between Tambay and Rodney Parnther) funds a short film by a black filmmaker, about black people, based on a script selected from eligible entries. There have been 3 of them thus far (Nikyatu Jusu's Black Swan Theory, Rod Gailes' Soft Focus, and now Ka'ramuu Kush's And Then...), with the long-term goal being to eventually also fund feature films.
An announcement on when the next challenge will begin is forthcoming.