Tag Archives: Movies

Kubo and the Two Strings coming to Theaters

Photos used with the permission of Focus Features.

Photos used with the permission of Focus Features.

In the world of animation another wonderful tale bout the adventures of a young boy.  The story is called Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny. Kubo’s quest begins nationwide August 19, 2016 from animation studio LAIKA and Focus Features.  Director: Travis Knight, Writers: Marc Haimes and Chris Butler (“ParaNorman”)

The Voice Cast is as follows: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, Rooney Mara, and Matthew McConaughey

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‘Fruitvale Station’ Co-Creator Ephraim Walker Tapped as President of Production at D Street Pictures

Ephraim-WalkerMore strides are being made in film and it is very exciting.  The independent production and distribution company D Street Media Group, has tapped Ephraim Walker to be the President of Production of D Street Pictures.  He will oversee the company’s film projects and oversee its production unit.

Walker worked closely with Fruitvale Station scribe and director Ryan Coogler, to develop the successful indie film based on the 2008 killing of Oscar Grant by an Oakland Bart police officer. Since Fruitvale, Walker has worked on various television shows and produced a behind-the-scenes look at the scoring of the 2015 Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone hit Creed, also directed by Ryan Coogler.

“We’re excited to have Ephraim join our team to oversee D Street’s exciting slate of films and work closely with the development department. His appointment comes at a time when the company continues to expand our international reach,” says D Street Media Group’s CEO, Dexter Davis.

Walker will report directly to Davis and oversee several upcoming productions including the international heist film, The Blue Mauritius, starring Eric Dane, Brian Cox, Augustus Prew, John Rhys-Davies and several other notable global stars. Filming begins on location in Cape Town, South Africa in August. Walker will then finish out the year with Irish comedy, Death Inc., a Brazilian motorcycle gang movie, Moto Anjos and a New York City style rom-com, Heaven Hath No Fury.

“I’ve been looking for a place to call home and couldn’t be more thrilled to join an organization like D Street Media,” said Walker. “I’m looking forward to working closely with Dexter to achieve our very ambitious goal of becoming a global leader in the creative content business and equally excited to set up our West Coast division in the great city of Oakland.”

The company has chosen Oakland, California over Los Angeles to be in close proximity to the Silicon Valley. D Street wants to develop more strategic alliances with tech companies who are producing new distribution models for film and television and who seek to partner with smart, creative, content producers such as D Street. The company is based in New York City, with offices in Berlin, Buenos Aires and Cape Town.
For more information about D Street Media Group, go to  http://www.dstreetmediagroup.com/.

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The 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival from February 4- 15 in LA

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Photo used with permission from Pan African Film Festival. Actor Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead.

This year’s 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) is filled with various interesting films and documentaries for all to enjoy. The festival began on Thursday, February 4th and has highlighted film selections for opening, centerpiece and closing night films. From director Patrick Gilles, “America is Still the Place” made its worldwide premiere as the Opening Night film selection on February 4, 2016. “Agents of Change” is to be highlighted as the Centerpiece selection on Thursday, February 11th and closing the Festival on Sunday, February 14th is a special screening of “Miles Ahead”, directed by and starring Don Cheadle. All films will screen at RAVE Cinemas 15, located within the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at 4200 Marlton Avenue in Los Angeles, CA 90008.

PAFF  always selects and showcases films that entertain and address current topics surrounding political and socioeconomic issues, as well as subject matters which include arts & culture which affect and tell the stories about people of African descent.

 About the 3 Films:

“America is Still the Place” uncovers a story about a giant oil spill on the beaches of northern California and the institutional racism that Charlie Walker has to overcome in order to finally achieve the “American Dream.” Based on a true story of one Black man’s courage and perseverance to provide for his family, the film takes us on a journey during the Black Power and civil rights era in San Francisco in 1971. This seemed like a good place for a Black Korean War veteran and his family to realize their dream of economic and cultural independence and his chance to be his own boss. In the pursuit of his dream, Charlie Walker finds himself in a city full of impostors and naysayers. He refused to take “no” for an answer. When a catastrophic oil spill opened a door that had never been open to a black man before, he decides to step through the door with both feet and claim the “American Dream.”

Violence against African Americans has been at the forefront of national media headlines and the subject of debates and conversations around the world. “Agents of Change” is a ‘movement’ film which follows young men and women who were at the forefront of the student union takeover at Cornell University in 1969, as well as highlighting the graphic footage of student demonstrators at San Francisco State in 1968 being beaten and arrested by police. Directed by Abby Ginzberg and Frank Dawson, Agents of Change introduces a cast of largely unrecognized but remarkable people, whose commitment to justice and equality paved the way for the opportunities that followed, while also reminding viewers about the work yet to be done to achieve full equity and dignity on campus and in society. Stars of the film include: Danny Glover (a leader of the Black Student movement at San Francisco State), Harry Edwards, Irene Smalls and more. Music composed by Patrice Rushen.

The closing night film is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Oscar nominated actor Don Cheadle does double duty as director and star in Miles Ahead, a film based on a chronological arc of events inspired by the life of the great jazz musician Miles Davis. This is a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds barred portrait of one of 20th century music’s creative geniuses. In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, The film focuses on a period of five years in the late 1970s. While away from the public light and celebrity, Davis was stifled with personal challenges. During this time, Davis meets a wily music reporter, Dave Braden, who forces his way into Davis’ house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on a wild and sometimes harrowing adventure to recover a stolen tape of the musician’s latest composition. By the late 70s, plagued by years of regret and loss, Davis flirts with annihilation until he once again finds salvation in his art. Working from a script he co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Cheadle makes his directorial debut with co-stars Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Ewan McGregor and Michael Stuhlbarg. Miles Ahead will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in theaters on April 1, 2016.

For more than two decades, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival has premiered a host of top black films over the years. Each year, PAFF presents awards of recognition to key industry players and rising stars who have soared in the film industry. This year’s filmmaker awards will be held on Monday, February 15th and will recognize films in the categories of Best Feature Narrative, Best Director-First Feature, Best Documentary Feature and Best Short Narrative. This intimate awards breakfast will also present the Audience Awards, Programmers’Awards and Founders’ Awards.

PAFF also collaborates with festivals from around the world, expanding their influence and audience globally. Not only is PAFF the largest and most prestigious Black film festival in America, but PAFF is the largest Black History Month event in the United States, during the month of February. The Pan African Film & Arts Festival is the quintessential Black festival, celebrating films, actors, filmmakers and fine artists.

Sponsors for the 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival are: HBO, WRD, Film LA, UMC, Sony Pictures, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airlines. Festival passes and tickets are on sale now. For more information on PAFF, including screening schedule and events, please visit www.PAFF.org. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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The NYWIFT Muse Awards in NY on December 10, 2015

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Photo used with permission for New York Women in Film & Television

Women in the film and television industry is a continuously growing thing and organizations like New York Women in Film and Television exists to keep the goals of these women of all ages empowered. As more young people enter film schools, there is a demand for professionals and mentors to be available to provide the resources needed to go to the next level.

On December 10, 2015, NYWIFT, which stands for New York Women in Film and Television led their annual Muse Awards. This year marked the 35th year for the annual event which is normally held at the NY Hilton hotel in their gran ballroom on 6th Avenue in Manhattan. Each year, the awards show honors women known for their outstanding vision and achievement in the film world.

 The Muse Awards 2015 honorees included actors Gabourey Sidibe, Blythe Danner and Patricia Clarkson, as well television executive Sarah Barnett, (President and General Manager, BBC America) and film executive Victoria Alonso, (Executive Vice President of Physical Production, Marvel Studios). In addition to these 5 awards, there was additional award to be given called Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award. This award was presented to Actress Lizz Winstead by Loreen Arbus.

CBS Commentator Nancy Giles was the emcee the afternoon events and each recipient delivered a hopeful and empowering speech to women in film and television. The 2015 awards ceremony was indeed a success as with previous years so there is no doubt that the 2016 programs will be on quite a few calendars s one of the must-attend events of the season. For more information about NYWIFT, visit their website.

 

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