Ice Cube

*lf you are on the east coast during the month of April, you’re in for a cinematic treat. The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) recently announced that the ESPN Films “30 for 30” production, Ice Cube’s “Straight Outta L.A.,” will have its world premiere at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, and will take place on April 23.  The 2010 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival wilto l run during TFF (April 21 – May 2) in lower Manhattan.

“We are thrilled to launch this year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival with a film that shows how sports are intertwined in so many other cultural arenas,” stated Keith Clinkscales, senior vice president, ESPN content development and enterprises.  “All of the sports documentaries in this year’s Festival truly illustrate that the reach of sports in society extends far past solely athletics and into such disciplines as music, language, art and of course, film.”

In “Straight Outta L.A.,” director Ice Cube explores the unlikely marriage between the NFL’s rebel franchise, the Raiders, and America’s glamour city, Los Angeles.  In 1982, Raiders owner Al Davis beat the NFL in court and moved his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. With a squad as colorful as its owner, the Raiders captivated a large number of Black and Hispanic fans in L.A. at a time when gang warfare, immigration and the real estate boom were rapidly changing the city. The L.A. Raiders morphed into a worldwide brand as the team’s colors, swagger and anti-establishment ethos became linked with the hip-hop scene that was permeating South Central Los Angeles. Rapper-turned-filmmaker Ice Cube was not only witness to this revolution, he was also a part of it. As a member of the rap group N.W.A., Ice Cube helped make the silver and black culturally significant to a new generation and demographic.

The TFF and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. will open the Festival “Shrek Forever After,” presented in 3D. “Shrek Forever After” is the final chapter in the adventures of the ogre and the story’s other animated characters. All its endearing characters return-Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas.  The premiere will take place on  April 21. All information on the Festival and all of its entries, which will run through May 2 can be gotten at www.tribecafilm.com/festival.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) present “Independent Africa,” the 17th annual New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of 17 African nations’ independence from colonial rule as well as the freedom that the rise in technology has given African filmmakers to tell their own stories. Among the 13 features and 25 short films from emerging and veteran filmmakers from 18 countries are four soccer films in honor of the World Cup’s first games in Africa opening in June 2010, an animated short program, Focus Features’ Africa First short program and an environmental film. The festival runs from April 7 through 13 at The Film Society of Lincoln Center and continues at Columbia University’s Institute for African Studies, 3ten Lounge, New Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek with dates in April and May.

“Fifty years ago these newly minted countries were creating film units and radio programming to engage their populations, and similarly this current crop of young African filmmakers see that the entire continent is an untapped market and are determined to get their work shown there and around the world,” said Mahen Bonetti, founder of AFF, www.africanfilmny.org. “With one foot in the Diaspora and one foot on the continent, and empowered by new technologies, they can effortlessly speak not only to local viewers but to the broader universe of film-going audiences.”

In honor of the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup coming for the first time to African soil in June 2010, four films on soccer will be presented, two of which are documentaries on World Cup soccer; “Between the Cup and the Election,” a film by Monique Mbeka Phoba and Guy Kabeya Muya, tells the story of the Leopards of Zaire, the first sub-Saharan soccer team to qualify for the World Cup, in 1974. Demetrius Wren’s “Streetball” follows the Homeless World Cup, an annual soccer tournament of 56 countries with teams comprised of homeless, ex-convicts, orphans and other dispossessed people.

“The Absence,” directed by Mama Keita, will be the U.S. premiere and opening night film.

Tyler Perry and his crew were in town partying and promoting “Why Did I Get Married Too?” So I asked them, “Why get married?” and you can read about their interesting answers here week.