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The Revolution Will Be Hashtagged! Get Ready To #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda & #OccupyTheatersPariah In December!

by Tambay A. Obenson
November 16, 2011 9:53 PM
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While others are apparently hanging the future of black cinema on upcoming mega-budgeted blockbusters like George Lucas' Red Tails (out next January), and Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Black Basterds... uhh... sorry... wrong movie... I meant, Django Unchained, I'm much more interested in the successes of 2 far less expensive upcoming films with stories centered on the experiences of black people across the diaspora - Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda (AFFRM's second release, in theaters beginning December 2nd), and Dee Rees' Pariah (to be released by Focus Features on December 28th). 

I should say that I'm certainly not placing that particular burden (black cinema's future) on those 2 films. After all, they're just 2 films, and it'll be unfair to both the films and the filmmakers. 

However, your support of them is crucial - arguably even more-so than your support of Red Tails and Django Unchained. The revolution starts from the bottom, with us; with the indies, where you're likely to see far more rich, complex and varied representations of the so-called *black experience* globally; the revolution won't start with the studio pictures.

This is present-day independent black cinema at its highest level, as so few actually receive the kind of attention both of these indie films already have, and will continue to reeceive, leading up to their theatrical releases, and even quite possibly long thereafter, with an Oscar campaign already in full swing for Pariah.

These are the films we should be discussing and debating as unrelentingly as we have the other 2; and if you're not already familiar with either, you really should become familiar. 

During the black cinema townhall meeting I participated in over the weekend (organized by Warrington Hudlin), Dr Sheril D. Antonio, the Associate Dean for Film, Television, and New Media in the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television and the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, said she was ready to "occupy theaters" in response to quesitons posed about black cinema's future. In short, the implication there was that she would support (financially, at a minimum) those films that she sees value in, speaking with her dollars, turning the conversation into action - something I've long encouraged here on S&A since its humble beginnings.

I'd like to appropriate Dean Antonio's personal call to action and insist that we all "occupy theaters" next month, when both Kinyarwanda and Pariah are released. So, from here on, and through each film's release in December, whenever I mention either film in a post, on Twitter, Facebook, etc, I'll include either or both of these hashtags: #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda and #OccupyTheatersPariah.

Let's see if we can get enough folks using each hashtag in mentions of both films, especially on Twitter.

The rules aren't strict; feel free to co-opt and come up with your method of recognition; but let's try to keep the hashtag consistent.

Got it? Good! Now go do me proud :)

#OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda; #OccupyTheatersPariah

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  • Clnmike | November 19, 2011 4:50 PMReply

    Thanks for defanging the name Occupy.

  • colored | November 18, 2011 7:22 PMReply

    #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda!!!! #OccupyTheatersPariah!!!!

  • Tommy Oliver, Producer Kinyarwanda | November 17, 2011 9:38 PMReply

    Tambay - From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the whole Kinyarwanda team, I want to tell how much we appreciate your constant support. It is very much appreciated and certainly helps us to get the word out.

    #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda; #OccupyTheatersPariah; #OccupyShadowandAct

  • Xi | November 17, 2011 5:15 PMReply

    I'm down!

  • Neziah | November 17, 2011 4:27 PMReply

    Agreed, these films need our, and dare I say EVERYONE'S support. I will be seeing both on opening day and will be using both of those hash tags repeatedly, starting......NOW! #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda; #OccupyTheatersPariah

  • Vanessa | November 17, 2011 8:20 AMReply

    Can't wait to #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda and #OccupyTheatersPariah! Too bad I will have to wait to see them in my area. Hopefully not.

  • Sell Out | November 17, 2011 7:52 AMReply

    I would far rather see #OccupyTheatersShame than #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda and/or Pariah. Having seen both of those films on the fest circuit I can say that Steve McQueen has far more cinematic acumen than both of the afore mentioned directors combined.

    Kinyarwanda is sloppy, lazy and a seemingly naive film. It tries to mask it's faults by employing an elliptical, cliche editing style. And I have about as much respect for the emotional grandstanding in Pariah as I do for Stephen Daldry's new saccharin turd: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. #barf

    Not defending Red Tails or Durango Unchained for a second - but if there's going to be a revolution - let's pick some leaders worth getting behind. Let's SELL OUT every single Shame screening on December 2nd!!!

  • Support | November 18, 2011 9:14 AM

    Shame had a budget of 6.5 million dollars and a union crew and a 2nd time director. Both Pariah and Kinyarwanda had budgets in the low six figures (200k or less). Those are 1st time directors battling against tremendous odds in limited time, money, equipment, and manpower in order to get their stories told. You can't make such a direct correlation between the works without understanding how much the production methods affect the finished product. It's a minor miracle Dee and Alrick got their films made. If you look at the first efforts of Christopher Nolan (Following) or even Martin Scorcese (Who's that knocking at my door), you'll also find promising and flawed 1st films. But you also never know what one will grow into with genuine support. So let's occupy all three of these films from these exciting talents.

  • Q&A | November 17, 2011 6:25 PM

    Sell Out? Your name says it ALL!

  • Neziah | November 17, 2011 4:26 PM

    I'll be seeing all three, which is the right approach.

  • Reg | November 17, 2011 8:45 AM

    You miss the point entirely. Regardless of what you feel about Pariah or Kinyarwanda, Shame doesn't exactly need the help in getting people to come out and see it. Shame will probably do very well, with all the buzz it's got going for it, without any #OccupyTheater hashtags promoting it, and also the fact that it stars actors who are far more recognizable (and are also white, meaning they'll draw audiences across all racial/ethnic boundaries) than what we have in Pariah and Kinyarwanda.

    You can have your #OccupyTheatersShame. But I'm rolling with #OccupyTheatersKinyarwanda and #OccupyTheatersPariah. Let's give others a chance to see the films fresh, as you once did, going into both films, not knowing what to expect, and make up their own minds.

  • AVA | November 17, 2011 1:33 AMReply

    Amen to that!!!!! Thanks, Tambay! Oh... And let's make Black Friday really stand for something. Instead of spending in the malls with the masses, please consider buying an advance ticket to an upcoming Black Film. Pre-ticketing to all AFFRM theaters for opening week of KINYARWANDA will be open by Black Friday. #OccupyKinyarwanda! #OccupyPariah!

  • colored | November 17, 2011 9:13 PM

    miss duvernay: thank you for making kinyarwanda available to us all. if it weren't for affrm, this film would not reach me or my family on the big screen. this is a big deal. i give you kudos and wish you and all affrm'ers much success.

  • Donna Wright | November 17, 2011 12:24 PM

    Good idea.

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