Earlier this week, meeting him for the very first time, I had a rather enlightening conversation with veteran black British filmmaker Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion, The Story Of Lover's Rock) on the black filmmaker's experience in the UK.
We spoke for about 45 minutes, and I was sure to bring up several items we've discussed here on S&A, including the so-called talent drain as black UK actors and filmmakers leave the UK for supposed greener pastures in the USA, comparisons between the black filmmaker's experience in the UK versus the US, the reception of black American films by black UK audiences and the suggestion that black films don't travel, how Tyler Perry's films are viewed by blacks in the UK, and much more...
Of course, I videotaped the entire conversation, and plan to post it here on S&A early next week for you all to listen to; a slightly edited version, which will probably be about 30 minutes. Given that I'm still very much learning about the black British experience with regards to cinema, I found it all very informative, and I think you all will as well - especially those of you in the USA. So I hope you'll watch, listen and learn once it's posted.
Menelik's return to the world of filmmaking in 15 years, The Story Of Lover's Rock, makes its stateside debut tonight at the African Diaspora Film Festival here in NYC, and will be followed by a limited theatrical run at the Quad, also here in NYC, starting on December 2.
From what Mr Shabazz told me, the film, which already opened in the UK, has been playing quite well, and is going into its 5th week in release, which, as you'll see in our conversation video when I post it, is actually quite a feat for a film of its kind - essentially a black-themed docudrama.
And if you live in NYC, you'll have several opportunities to watch the film in theaters, and I hope you will if you can. I certainly plan to and will review it here on S&A. Tonight's African Diaspora Film Festival opening will screen not only The Story Of Lover's Rock, but also the film that Menelik is likely most known for, 1981's Burning An Illusion. So, you get a double dose of his work in one night. Take advantage!
Tickets to tonight's event, which Mr Shabazz will be present for (as well as tickets for the rest of the African Diaspora Film Festival which runs through December 13th), are available for purchase, at a variety of price points, which you can see and buy for yourselves by clicking HERE.
Watch a preview of The Story Of Lover's Rock below; and underneath, you'll find a preview of Burning An Illusion: