All Articles Tagged "documentaries"
If you’re expecting or considering having a baby soon then like most moms-to-be you’re probably doing a lot of research, flipping through informational magazines while bursting at the seam with questions. Will you have a home birth? If so, what are the advantages? What physical and emotional changes should you expect? Luckily, there are a myriad of documentaries that answer all of these questions and when you click continue you’ll find 17 helpful films (The Business of Being Born, 9 Magical Months, Pregnant in America, Nova – The Miracle of Life) about pregnancy and childbirth. So, snuggle up with your partner and tune in.
Expecting?: 17 Documentaries About Pregnancy And Childbirth
These celebrity plastic surgeries (some, allegedly) are such a game changer that they are physically disturbing…maybe not for the stars themselves but surely for us the fans and the viewers.
Say It Ain’t So: 15 Disturbing Celebrity Plastic Surgeries
Amid the protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown and the Moral Monday demonstrations throughout the South to fight against voter ID laws aimed at preventing people of color from hitting the polls, filmmaker Whitney Dow has kicked off a contentious debate with his new film The Whiteness Project.
In The Whiteness Project, Dow aims to interview 1,000 people about what it means to be white in America. This summer he interviewed 24 white folks in Buffalo, NY and the videos are as cringe-worthy as you thought they’d be.
In one clip, a woman talks about being harassed and followed by Black men she’s smiled at, and in another a man named “Jason” wonders “Should slavery be something that because it happened we owe black people more?” One young woman admitted she didn’t have any Black acquaintances, but had gay friends, and concludes “that’s kind of a similar construct” before going on to complain that “you can’t even talk about fried chicken or Kool-Aid without wondering if someone’s going to get offended.”
Despite coming off as white people complaining about their waning numbers and influence as America becomes more diverse, Dow says he hopes The Whiteness Project will be a serious exploration of white Americans’ ideas about race, something that many whites rarely discuss.
“What I think people of color don’t necessarily understand is that whites are deeply conflicted and confused and don’t really know how to grapple with these things,” Dow told Vice in an interview. “They have never known how to talk about it, they don’t know how to process it, they feel like they’re not really part of this thing, and so it’s a really, really complicated situation.”
Many have been extremely critical of The Whiteness Project. Salon called it “endlessly mortifying,” and The Guardian said, “It will make you wince. Because white people can be rather awful.” While most people would wager Conservative whites would be more uptight when it comes to talking about race, Dow says some of his biggest critics have been Liberals.
“The other thing that I’ve learned a lot is that white liberals have been some of the most vicious critics of this project,” Dow said. “I mean, I’ve gotten a lot of hate from people of color who are like, ‘A white guy talking about white people, what the f–k?’ and I’ve gotten people on the left saying, ‘Oh, yeah, we need another white guy giving white people a platform to talk about whiteness. That’s basically the world.’”
Once completed, The Whiteness Project will air on PBS. Will you be watching?
“Black Church, Inc.” is the latest documentary from Moguldom Studios and it’s sure to ruffle plenty of feathers. Black mega churches have come under plenty of scrutiny from everyone from atheists to parishioners to the government regarding their collection of tithes and other monies and whether those funds actually fund the church or their pastors’ bank accounts, and now this docutainment film is taking a look at the controversial topic of financial abuse at the hands of so-called prophets for profit.
As a press release puts it, the hour-long feature “investigates and examines the sensationalism of the black church and its present day relationship with serving the community:”
“The film compares the black church’s origins to its modern day cultural relevance, and focuses on modern mega-churches and asks hard-hitting questions about service vs. the extravagant lifestyles of its multi-million dollar ministers and ministries. As the nation attempts to bounce back from a recession, mega-churches continue to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund their pastors’ exorbitant lifestyles.
“Through interviews with clergy members, politicians, community leaders and journalists, Black Church, Inc. explores whether the preachers, parishioners or communities are the benefactors of the millions of tax-free revenue generated by religious organizations.
“Black Church, Inc. attempts to justify the dichotomy of the profits of prophets. It takes a look at pastors who are seen as activists including Rev. Taharka Robinson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Pastor Raphael Warnock, as well as other pastors such as Rev. Eddie Long, Rev. Creflo Dollar and Rev. T.D. Jakes. The documentary takes a deep dive into controversial issues clouding the church including “love offerings” (cash payments given to ministers), financial abuse and the deification of the mega-church pastor all while asking… is prayer-for-profit moral?”
Despite the backlash the film may receive, Brett Dismuke, President of Moguldom Entertainment, assures this documentary doesn’t serve to bash the church or Christianity, saying:
“The purpose of our films is to provoke thought…to spark debate. Here at Moguldom, we accept the challenge of initiating difficult conversations. Black Church, Inc. is another example of presenting a question that many people within our community have been wondering.”
Check out the trailer below and see for yourself. “Black Church, Inc.” will be released on Google Play and iTunes June 30. What do you think?
Looking to demystify those heinous stereotypes that allowed folks like Justin Bieber to make racist jokes, filmmaker Mya B’s latest project aims to wake up the masses around the world. Afraid of Dark explores the history of masculinity within the Black consciousness by breaking down two of the most ambivalent stereotypes used in mass media: the “Mandingo” and the “Brute.”
After successfully funding her project through Kickstarter, this Brooklyn-based creativist has circumvented the major hurdle that stalls most projects from hitting the big screen. Luckily, we were able to get some of her time to talk about Afraid of Dark, her origins as a filmmaker, and what advice parents can take away from this project to use with their own children.
What was the first film that you saw that inspired you to become a filmmaker?
The first film I saw that made me want to be a filmmaker is Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. At the time, I was already in film school, but it inspired me to want to do it foreal-foreal.
What did you believe were your options when you first graduated from college?
I graduated from Columbia College Chicago and, of course, like every other filmmaker, I wanted to go to Hollywood and conquer the world with films. However, I went off to the Peace Corps as a Producer in the East Caribbean right after I graduated. I started thinking more about changing the world with films — exposing cultures, truths, and Black experiences.
Your work has profiled the rigors of being a quote-unquote minority in America. What were the lessons you learned from projects such as Warrior Queens and Silence: In Search of Black Female Sexuality in America that you applied to your Afraid of Dark project?
I learned lessons in terms of tightening up my production and finding a team to work with. As a filmmaker, the more films you make, the better you become. In all these films, they are my personal journeys in some way. From trodding Rastafari, to being a Black woman, to having a Black son, I learned through making these films that everyone is different whether based on their upbringing or their own personal discovery.
I love interviewing people because I am able to uncover truths and share honest dialogue between people. I learned the lessons of integrity and how important that is as a documentary filmmaker.
The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and others within the Black community re-ignited the discussion about how much a Black life is worth. When it comes to Black masculinity does your film tackle how much the community itself values its own life?
My film does tackle how much the community itself values its own life by discussing how some people buy into those stereotypes about themselves, which is why there is Black-on-Black crime. Some Black men believe that they are “angry” or “violent” and glorify that in rap music, in gangs, and with gun violence, etc. These things stem from men who don’t see their own light. This part saddens me the most because we are killing up each other and it’s because no one is taking us seriously or even seeing that what’s happening to Black men is a problem.
Black parents are especially stressed with having to raise their children in America where there are so many distractions. Are there any specific examples in Afraid of Dark that highlight solutions for parents?
Personally, I share my feelings about having a Black son and how at times I worry about him because of his skin color. However, my son counters that by saying he is going to live a long and prosperous life. That was a special moment to me as a parent because oftentimes we put fear on our children and want to protect them from the world, but we end up scaring them, shielding them too much, or just straight-up numbing them.
We have to not let our fears become their fears. We have to allow them to live life to the fullest un-afraid. I don’t want to raise my son to be scared of anything except God. We have too many good men in the trenches, trying to fight the good fight. I encourage any parent who loves their child or just loves children to “get up and stand up” for their rights.
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an in-depth piece for The Atlantic arguing the case of reparations which caused a lot of discussion. Do you believe closing that wealth gap within the Black household could change the direction of how Black men interact with the world?
I think that closing the wealth gap within Black households could change the direction of how Black men interact with the world for sure. One can witness this by looking at Black male celebrities like Jay Z or Kanye West. Why do you think so many of our youth want to be a “rapper” or “entertainer” when they grow up? It’s because those examples are seen as world travelers and are able to interact with it from a different place.
You have some White families with old money that have been handed down from generation-to-generation in this country as a result of owning slaves. There is a huge disparity of money in our communities. There are people who aren’t able to afford college or even think about it when you are trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents. A lot of Black men cannot get jobs even though they followed the rules of going to college or because of having a felony for doing something stupid one time. Black men have to be able to provide for their families and make money.
For the parents reading this article wanting advice on how to raise their own children, what takeaway from Afraid of Dark can be applied to parenthood?
I would say when parents watch the film they can takeaway a few things as a parent. 1) Raise your child to not fear anything. We most definitely need those next-generation Malcolm X’s and Marcus Garvey’s in the world. 2) Give them room to grow. 3) Pass down a business to them. This way, we are able to keep our future generations employed and independent from working for anyone. Allowing your young to create their own income from your hard work is a great advantage. 4) Teach them their history. They should be proud about being Black. That power that they feel can not only empower them to accomplish anything, but they will value the life of others who look just like them.
Afraid of Dark will make its premiere on June 13 during the 2014 Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival at Brooklyn’s Long Island University.
I found my dad’s gun when I was ten years old. I remember a few months before, him and my mother did a massive clean out of their closet and among platform shoes, tie- dye blouses and bell bottoms – unearthed was an early Smith and Wesson shotgun. There was a brief story about the good old days of Black Panthers and sticking it to the man, but besides that I didn’t pay it any mind. I assumed they had gotten rid of it, but being the nosy, bored child I was, I found myself staring down its black barrel when I discovered it lying hidden on their dramatically high headboard. I left my fingerprints in the dust that coated it, but assumed it was heavy, so I never lifted it. In fact, I gladly hopped off the bed feeling not anymore curious, but a little more safe. Although my parents never talked to me about gun safety, I didn’t feel the need to pick the burner up, play with the trigger or search for bullets. Maybe it’s because I was a girl more into Cabbage Patches than Cops and Robbers. Besides, I saw what guns did to people on TV and it wasn’t glamorous; I wasn’t taking any chances. Guns and children don’t mix, and when they do the results can be tragic.
The Sandy Hook tragedy has raised many issues about gun control and the access children have to them. My partner has a license to carry and carries his gun regularly. The sight of it makes me slightly uncomfortable, but the safety I feel cancels out my discomfort any day. I look at guns like insurance: you hope you never actually have to use it, but in the event that your family’s safety is in jeopardy, knowing that you can protect yourself can make the difference between being victims and being survivors. Although statistics have shown that most unintentional firearm-related deaths among children occur in or around the home, I still firmly believe that when kids are educated and parents take the appropriate safety measures, this risk decreases dramatically.
As much as I feel the events of December 14 were brutal and senseless, my opinion on guns remains the same: they make me feel safe and it is the responsibility of any legal gun owner to abide by the law and make sure that they are the only ones who have access to them. In the wake of the tragedy, many people would disagree with me. Gun ownership doesn’t automatically equal an unsafe environment for your children and there are plenty of owners that keep their children safe and educate them about gun safety. But could tragedies like Sandy Hook be avoided if guns were restricted from homes where children live entirely?
President Obama recently revealed that he was determined to get a gun control law passed early in his second term. The President has a mixed record on gun control dating back to his first term when the only gun law he signed was one that allowed guns on National Park lands and Amtrak trains. His presidency has been a challenging one with five of the nation’s twelve deadliest shootings occurring during his first term. He has expressed his opposition to assault-weapons being available to the public, “I … believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,” but he ultimately didn’t push for the renewal of the assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004.
Even in the event that citizens were ever legally denied their right to own firearms, I don’t think world peace would break out and innocent people would stop being murdered. My point is that most often when we hear about shootings in schools, malls and movie theaters, it’s not by the citizens who are licensed to carry. It’s people who obviously have no respect for the law in the first place. Gun control in America isn’t perfect, however. James Holmes, the man responsible for the Colorado movie-theater shooting was carrying four different guns in his car when he arrived at the Aurora theater. Although he was rejected from membership to a Colorado gun range from what the owner said was a “bizarre message” on his voicemail greeting, the weapons were obtained legally within a four-month period as well as body armor and various explosive devices used to booby-trap his apartment. Maybe if gun distributors were required to report questionable purchases or had stricter background checks we could avoid them falling into the wrong hands. I don’t think guns should be eliminated from the public entirely, but it shouldn’t be easier to get a gun than a driver’s license.
It’s a personal decision that every parent has to make for his household, but if you do choose to keep guns in your home it’s your responsibility to limit children’s access and educate them about gun safety. It all comes down to what risk you choose to take: the risk of an accidental shooting stemming from your kid’s curiosity or risking the inability to defend your home and family in the event of an assault. Remember that statistic from earlier? Fifty percent of accidental shootings take place at the home of the victim, and 40 percent at the home of a friend or relative. Guns and disturbed people have been around for a long time and there is only so much you can do to shield your child from the violence that occurs because of them. You can’t always control your child getting caught in the crossfire, but you can educate them on responsibility and respect for human life.
For more on guns, check out Moguldom Studios second ‘docutainment’: Gunland, which shows Chicago’s chilling gun culture.
Toya Sharee is a program associate for a Philadelphia non-profit that focuses on parenting education and building healthy relationships between parents, children and co-parents. She also has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog BulletsandBlessings.
Firearm Safety, Boston Children’s Hospital www.childrenshospital.org
Are you curious about the psyche of a man, who friends and former associates consider to be a calculated hustler willing to sacrifice just about everything to make his name iconic? Want to get a closer look into the mind frame of a Brooklyn native, whose been spending money since ’88? If so, Moguldom Studios brings to you their first epic documentary release; A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z.
According to press reports that have reviewed both iTunes and Google Play trends, A Genius Leaves The Hood, the ‘docutainment’ has been steadily climbing to the top since its release.
Steadily climbing the sales charts since its debut, A Genius Leaves the Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z eschews a traditional theatrical release for a straight-to-digital approach, and is now the fifth best-selling documentary in the iTunes digital beating out big-budget documentaries from the silver screen, including the national sensation, Justin Bieber’s Believe, and the heartbreaking exposé, Blackfish.
At the Google Play digital movie store, it is currently the second best-selling documentary, sitting alongside world-renowned works, such as More than a Game and The Armstrong Lie, and classic documentaries, including Bowling for Columbine and Earth.
Have you bought your copy yet?
iTunes and Google Play: The Unauthorized Story Of Jay-Z Climbs Charts
According to Island of Lemurs narrator Morgan Freeman, “lemurs are the most ancient primate alive today!” Another fun fact: “Madagascar is the only place on earth where they live.”
Those amazing truths make Warner Brother Studios latest family film a must-see, asap. Mommynoire was on hand at the Island of Lemurs press junket at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in sunny Los Angeles a few weeks ago to catch up with the stars of the educational and inspirational documentary. At the once in a lifetime junket, Mommynoire was able to capture snapshots of the vivid film, which follows the interests of primatologist and anthropologist Dr. Patricia C. Wright, whose life mission is to preserve the cute and cuddly lemurs, who are also endangered.
Armed with cameras and world renowned scientists, the film takes families on a journey through Madagascar’s ancient rain forests. What’s super special about the film, other than Dr. Wright’s passion for lemurs is actor Morgan Freeman’s witty narration, which is truly engaging.
Blown by the energy and the excitement of the press – we were even more surprised by two special visitors who showed up! Yes, on hand with their handlers were two adorable lemurs – one by the name of Felix, who is 10 years-old, and the other, Taj, who is 7 years old.
In summary, the Island of Lemurs is an ideal educational documentary for children and adults. The film teaches about conservation and why its so important to protect these adorable lemurs from extinction. After hearing Dr. Wright chronicle the successes and challenges of the film, she noticeably mentioned something that sums up the flow of Island of Lemurs – “I think we love lemurs because they take life in a very kind of relaxed, easy way.”
We can all appreciate that.
Take a look at some of our favorite images of lemurs after the flip!
Popcorn Love: Island of Lemurs 2014, Documentary In Theaters Now
“Jay Z’s Legacy Will Be A NI**A In Paris”– First Look At “A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story Of Jay Z”
A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play and VHX now!
Though rapper Jay Z may be a man of many words on the mic, the Brooklyn Native is most definitely one to let his money talk for him when it comes to his legacy. Over the course of 20 some years we’ve seen Sean Carter go from selling on the corner to having a number of corner offices, but just how this genius managed to leave the hood has mostly been shrouded in mystery. Sure we can add up the business deals, the album sales, the lyrics, and the tour earnings to create a pretty good picture, but if you want to know the real story behind the man we know as Jay Z, you’re going to have to do some digging.
That’s precisely what Moguldom Films did for their debut documentary on the rap mogul, A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z. Featuring commentary from veterans in the hip-hop industry like Editor-in-Chief of The Source Kim Osorio and Hip-Hop Wired’s Deputy Editor Alvin Blanco, as well as harsh critics like Dr. Boyce Watkins, the documentary
“[U]ncovers the price Mr. Carter paid for his success through recent controversies including the racial debate of the Barneys deal, feud with Harry Belafonte and clashes with community activists over the construction of the Barclay Center. The film also explores rumors of association with the Illuminati, a highly publicized separation from the Roc-A-Fella crew, his estranged relationship with rapping mentor Jaz-O and break up with business partner Damon Dash.”
Divulging “the savvy and cunning business acumen of a mogul who decided that being at the top of the charts wasn’t enough” is the focus of the 60-minute unauthorized story which finally paints the full picture of who exactly Mr. Carter is and the documentary is officially available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play, and VHX now.
Check out the trailer for A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z below and purchase the new documentary here. What do you think?
Five African-American ladies have made a game-changing presence in the film industry this year with critically-acclaimed documentaries that may just get them the coveted Academy Award.
Shola Lynch directed Free Angela Davis And All Political Prisoners, a film that revisits Angela Davis’ revolutionist days as she joined the Communist Party and became a Black Panther. Angela Davis herself saw the film and noted that the documentary made her “uncomfortable.”
Lynch wasn’t offended by Davis’ comment, though. “[A]s a filmmaker and a journalist, [this] is a compliment. It clearly is not the story she would tell. She would tell a strictly political, deeply kind of philosophical piece. But for me, the interesting question is: Who is the person behind the iconography?” Reviewers praised Lynch for making Davis’ story accessible to a new generation. “[Lynch does a] sufficient job of giving the audience a sense of the setting, the era, the key figures,” IndieWire writes.
Another applaud-worthy Black filmmaker is Marta Cunningham whose documentary Valentine Road focuses on a student who fatally shot an eighth-grade transgender classmate. Cunningham says that she wanted to switch the audience’s perspective of Brandon, the accused murderer, from “monster” to a deeper point of understanding. The New York Times said the film was moving and “shows how intricate even the more horribly straightforward moments in life can be.”
Gideon’s Army, directed by Dawn Porter, follows three public defenders in the Deep South. “The only thing that stands between anybody and prison is a lawyer,” Porter said. “And if you’re poor, that person’s a public defender.” The documentary essentially details the trials and tribulations that public defenders face as they hold another person’s fate in their hands. The film was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and also won the Editing Award at the Sundance Festival.
Michele Stephenson’s film American Promise turns the camera on her own children and chronicles their educational growth from kindergarten all the way to high school. Winning the Documentary Special Jury Prize for Achievement in Filmmaking at Sundance, Stephenson may strike Oscar gold with her admired film.
Lastly, Yoruba Richen’s film, New Black, chronicles the Black church’s campaign to fight against gay marriage — a topic that MN has reported on recently. “Regardless what law they may write, God designed the family,” one preacher proclaimed in the documentary. So far, the documentary earned Richen the Best Documentary award at Urbanworld Film Festival.
IndieWire notes that while these films are getting attention within the film festival circuit, black film directors seem to have trouble getting support for Oscar consideration. “As we see a noteworthy number of black female doc directors qualifying for Oscars this year, it makes sense to highlight these films, if only in hopes that more voting members will be watching and taking note.”
All of this is happening in a year when films by and about African Americans are being praised by critics and support at the box office. Have you seen any of these films?