*It’s a great year for black people in the arts, some would say.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay is yet another great to be celebrated for her wonderful contributions to film.
Saturday, she was awarded the John Cassavetes award at the Independent Spirit Awards, for her independent film, “Middle of Nowhere.”
Last year she blew audiences and judges away at the Sundance Film Festival, becoming the first African American woman to take home the U.S. Directing Award.
Since then, her work has soared to incredible heights, catching the attention of her peers across various platforms.
The John Cassavetes Award goes to the best film of the year made for less than $500,000. DuVernay wrote, directed and produced the drama, which tells the story of a young nurse (played by actress Emayatzy Corinealdi) who puts her life and career on hold due to her husband’s incarceration.
“I’m still on a high from celebrating our film, and indie film in general yesterday,” DuVernay tweeted recently.
Still from Spike Lee's controversial 'Red Hook Summer'
*Another Spike Lee joint his headed to the big screen this summer
“Red Hook Summer,” Lee’s controversial film that premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is hitting theaters soon and is expected to be a big hit since he struck up a deal with Variance Films, an independent distribution company, reports Deadline.
“From my very first joint back in 1986, ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ I have been an independent filmmaker, and even today I still am,” Lee said in a statement. “I’m elated to join forces with Variance Films for the independent distribution of my new joint Red Hook Summer. We look forward to getting this film into the marketplace, where we believe 100 percent that there is a starving audience for American independent films like Red Hook Summer.”
“Red Hook Summer” focuses on a sullen boy, Flik Royale who comes from middle-class Atlanta. He heads to Brooklyn’s Red Hook housing projects for the summer to spend time with his righteous and very religions grandpop in the housing projects.
The two never knew each other so things get off to a rocky start. But as the summer progresses, things turn around and Flik learns some things about life.
Between his grandfather’s constant preaching and the culture shock of inner-city life, the young man’s summer appears to be a total disaster–until he meets a Chazz Morningstar, a pretty girl his age, who shows Flik the brighter side of Brooklyn. Through her love and the love of his grandfather, Flik begins to realize that the world is a lot bigger, and perhaps a lot better, than he’d ever imagined.
The theatrical release of “Red Hook Summer” will begin August 10 in New York and then broaden to the top 30 markets throughout the month of August.
*Denzel has a bone to pick with the movie industry.
The dynamic award-winning actor is challenging major movie groups, telling Entertainment Wise they only seem to look at franchise films like “Twilight.” He believes the real art is in smaller productions.
“Studios are now owned by big corporations, so all the decisions are made in a completely different way. The big studios are more interested in their big tent pole movies and farm out the rest of it and take distribution deals.”
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He even went as far as to say true movie watchers can’t depend on major studios to produce good work. and being the big star he is, Washington doesn’t discriminate against small budget films. His next production, “Flight” is due out later this year; working on the film he made a small fraction of his usual salary.
He argues that studios aren’t interested in quality anymore and would rather capitalize on pop culture’s pool of popularity.
“Now they’re looking for ‘Mission Impossible 6′ or ‘Twilight 4.’ Studios will take the credit for smaller movies if they get Oscars but I get it, we’re in tough economic times. If I loan someone $50million, I want my money back, I don’t want to hear ‘We blew it but had a nice time making the movie.’”