All Articles Tagged "film"

Times Characters In Popular Films Were “Whitewashed”

October 28th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Actor Harold Perrineau has been outspoken about critics who said his daughter, Aurora, wasn’t “Black enough” to play the character of Shana in Jem and the Holograms. But she’s not the only performer who has been criticized for playing a character they look nothing like. Did these casting choices bother you?

Ava DuVernay Kicks Off Membership Drive To Help Female Filmmakers Of Color

May 6th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Ava DuVernay, the mastermind behind Selma, is kicking off the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), a membership drive that aims to assist Black and brown female directors in an industry where filmmakers of color are marginalized, The Wrap reports.

DuVernay, the first African-American female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe (Middle of Nowhere) and Oscar (Selma), is paving the way for other filmmakers of color to follow in her footsteps. In launching AFFRM’s second annual membership drive, more Black and brown women have the chance to heighten the visibility of their work.

“It’s important that we support filmmakers who are being excluded from the traditional ways of distributing their films,” DuVernay told TheWrap.

DuVernay said that she’s financed AFFRM for the last four years, out of pocket, with her directing money. But last year, she began asking for a little help.

“We started to say, ‘Hey, does anyone want to donate to this effort?’ And we had a donor drive that we call a ‘rebel drive’…  and we had some 750 people who gave,” DuVernay said.

The news comes as a new study reveals that 70.2 percent of female-directed films that premiered at the Sundance film festival between 2002 and 2014 were picked up by independent firms. On the flip side, major studios picked up 43.1 percent of male-directed films, the Guardian reports. (DuVernay is also the first Black director to win the Best Director Prize at Sundance, in 2012 for Middle of Nowhere.)

Indie firms typically have less clout in the movie industry and smaller budgets, so with major studios giving female-created material the cold shoulder, it’s no wonder why up-and-coming female directors seem to struggle in Hollywood.

The aforementioned study, commissioned by the Female Film-makers Institute, discovered six obstacles — or hindering stereotypes — that prevented women from moving up the ranks.

“…Executives [assume that] films made by women were less appealing to audiences; that there were fewer female directors to choose from; and that women were generally less interested in directing and showed little passion for more commercial, big-budget action fare,” the Guardian added.

The study shot down some of these assumptions and found that 43.9 percent of women would want to take on a big-budget, blockbuster film.

“These assumptions about what a woman is capable of and aspires to are shutting doors before there’s even a conversation about the potential of a transaction.” Women in Film president Cathy Schulman told The Hollywood Reporter.

With only 23 percent of women directing last year’s Hollywood productions, DuVernay’s AFFRM is just what the industry needs to support more female directors of color. For details, click here.

Danny Glover? You Mean “Mister”: Actors We Just Can’t Separate From Their Iconic Roles

April 21st, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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iconic roles

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These celebrities may have moved on, but we’ll always remember them as the characters we loved (or loathed) the most. From “Mister” to “The Terminator,” these are the iconic roles of the stars that we can’t seem to let them move on from. Do you have any to add to the list?

Empire Isn’t Alone: More Movies That Have Been Accused Of Copying Their Plots

January 8th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

50 Cent isn’t the only one accusing Empire of stealing it’s plot. These shows are famous for coming under fire for copying their plots from other movies. Do you see the resemblance?

The Best Movie Soundtracks

November 11th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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From Purple Rain to Frozen, these are some of the best movie soundtracks eve made. Because movies are always better when you can sing along.

Image Source:

Image Source:

Waiting To Exhale

The only thing better than watching Waiting to Exhale is listening to the sound track.

Shoop Shoop? Let It Flow? Not Gon’ Cry? They’re all R&B classics, and Babyface wrote every last one.

Entertainment Divas: Black Women Taking Over Our TV And Movie Screens

May 8th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Shonda Rhimes 'Pissed' Over Directors Guild Diversity Award

Source: WENN

For years men have dominated the world of television and entertainment. Men have created the majority of TV shows, produced them and directed our favorite films. However despite their dominance, there have been a number women, particularly African American women, which are making major moves behind the scenes! There aren’t as many African American women as we would like, but still it’s a great shift to see! Let’s celebrate some of the black women taking over in television and movies.

WGA Diversity Reports Fewer Women Film Writers, Minorities Paid Less

April 17th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Shonda and Sandra at the 'Grey's Anatomy' 200th show party. Nikki Nelson/

Shonda and Sandra at the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ 200th show party. Nikki Nelson/

Despite the increasing presence of women and minorities in the entertainment industry, the Writer’s Guild of America reports the picture isn’t quite so rosy when you look at the number of writers working behind the scenes. Even when there have been gains, they’re small. And where money is concerned, the wage gap is real.

“Female writers accounted for 15% of feature film work in 2012, the latest year tracked in the survey, down from 17% in 2009. Minority writers remained stuck at 5% of film jobs, unchanged from 2009, but the survey shows minority writer earnings declined over the same period even as paydays for white male writers increased. In TV, minority employment reached 11% in 2012, the highest level in a decade. Female employment dipped to 27%, down 1% from 2009, while the earnings gap between male and female writers closed ever so slightly (by 1 cent in 2012 compared to 2009) to 92 cents for every dollar earned by males.”

Deadline Hollywood notes that minorities watch disproportionate amounts of television and film despite their smaller presence in the industry. The median age of an industry writer is 41 to 50 years old.

The Writer’s Guild of America, West is a labor union that represents writers in film, television, radio and in internet programming.

“Before we are likely to realize meaningful, sustained change…other industry players – the networks, studios, and agents – will have to go well beyond what they have routinely done in the past to address the troubling shortfalls evident on the diversity front among writers,” said Darnell M. Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, the author of the study.

The WGA full study, “Turning Missed Opportunities Into Realized Ones: The 2014 Hollywood Writers Report,” will be made available in June.

Roll Camera: Usher Set To Executive Produce ‘Undroppable’ Documentary

October 23rd, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Usher Raymond is making some Hollywood moves. The singer is doing double movie duty with his credit as executive producer of the upcoming education documentary Undroppable. And he’s got a role in Hands of Stone as legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

Undroppable is about the dropout epidemic in the U.S. educational system, which will include direct feedback from American students. Written and directed by Jason Pollock, the film will be supported by a social media/video campaign that will allow students to discuss the issues they face in school reports Uptown magazine.

Raymond has signed on as executive producer with Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber‘s manager) who introduced him to the project. Adam McKay, Sharon Chang, Alex Soros and John Powers Middleton are also listed as executive producers on the project.

“I knew Usher was very passionate about the issue of education, so I felt this was a great project to bring him into,” said Braun. “His expertise will be invaluable as we continue this film and movement.”

Undroppable will be a 2014 release.

Usher has executive produced or produced other film projects, including the 2011 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never documentary (producer); 2005’s In the Mix (executive producer); and  the TV movie documentary One Night One Star: Usher Live in 2005 (producer).

Hands of Stone is about Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran who fought Sugar Ray Leonard and other big name pugilists during his heyday, winning 103 out of 119 fights. Duran’s rivalry with Sugar Ray was legendary.

The movie will also star Edgar Ramirez as Duran and Robert De Niro as Duran’s coach Ray Arcel.

‘Black Movies May Alienate Others:’ Shemar Moore On How All-Black Casts Can Be Bad For Movie Marketing

August 7th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Shemar Moore recently reached his fundraising goal for his upcoming film project, The Bounce Back, which is somewhat of romantic dramady about finding love. He recently sat down to chat with Shadow and Act about the project, color casting and why all-black casts can sometimes be a detrimental marketing decision. Check out some highlights below.

On reaching his fundraising goal:

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool. This whole process has been new to me, so I didn’t really know if we had a shot or how it worked. I’m not one to ask for money so that was a little foreign to me. But then I started to understand the concept, that this is the way Hollywood is now progressing, and I could control of my own content and create stories that I want to tell. It’s kind of fun not to be a puppet anymore, where you take the strings off and you’re not saying someone else’s words. I can come up with the projects that Hollywood might not necessarily be making.”

On the plot:

“Sex sells, drama sells, love stories sell. We never get enough of falling in love and believing in love. I did a movie called Diary of a Mad Black Woman which was about finding true love. So yeah it’s going to be similar, but not exactly the same. It’s more of a dramedy. This guy writes a book because he lost the love of his life in a car accident, so there’s going to be an element of drama and heartache. But then it’s about trying to find love and giving women the rules and tips to outthink a man and keep a man”

On casting a Latina actress as his love interest:

“Nadine Velazquez is just very talented and she showed support. She was a friend of a friend who said, “I like this story, I’d love to be a part of it.” She did me a favor and we were able to shoot a little teaser. It’s not to say that my love interest couldn’t be black. We haven’t shot the movie yet. I just know that Nadine is very passionate about it and I would love to have her in the movie. But I think love is blind. I’m half black, half white. So are we going to be mad at my mother and father for being together? I wouldn’t have life without it.”

On being pegged as a “black actor:”

“I don’t see myself as a “black actor,” I’m just Shemar Moore the actor.  I’m very proud to be black but I’m just as much black as I am white. But I want tell stories that everybody can relate to, so I don’t care who’s opposite me. If Halle Berry or Jada Pinkett Smith called and said, “I want to do a movie with you,” I’d be right there because I believe in their talent.”

On why a diverse cast is a wise marketing decision:

“If every character in the movie is black, it’s going to be looked at as a black movie and that might alienate other people from going to see it. But we’re very sensitive to representing all demographics and it’s going to be a very mixed cast. Whoever fits the bill and can bring the noise.”


Would you agree? Do all-black casts promote the alienation of potential viewers from other races?

Watch This: HBO Releases A Quick Clip of Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” Film!

July 28th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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If you recall, two weeks ago, Jay Z popped into New York City’s Pace Gallery to create a “performance art” piece for his song “Picasso Baby” from Magna Carta Holy Grail.

Well, that piece has turned into a bit of a project that will now premiere on HBO.

In the clip, you can see Jay Z doing what he does best: being quite charismatic when around his fans.  For whatever opinions people have about them – and there are a lot, especially lately – he seems to instantly make people feel comfortable around him.

The recording of the performance piece took about six hours and the media went crazy, as many thought this was extremely creative and innovative.

It may not, however, come as a surprise to some that Jay would venture into something like this because if you’ve paid any attention to his music over the last three years or so, you know he can barely recite lyrics that don’t mention Andy Warhol or Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film will premiere on HBO, Friday, August 2nd at 11pm.

Will you be watching?