All Articles Tagged "Toronto Film Festival"

Toronto Film Festival Attendees Walk Out On “12 Years A Slave” Due To Slave Beating Scenes

September 12th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Source; 12 Years A Slave

Source; 12 Years A Slave

Last week at the Toronto Film Festival,  scenes from the premiere of “12 Years A Slave” caused audience members to walk out of the theater due to torturous beating scenes. Despite the backlash, the star of the movie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, defended its violence. He told The Independent it was vital for the film’s viewers to see a clear depiction of  Solomon Northup’s  autobiography, which shares the same title, on the big screen.

“Solomon’s story is full of [violence] but also full of beauty and hope and human respect and dignity. With Steve [McQueen, the director] there to guide it, we weren’t afraid to explore all that, and go to those dark places.”

“12 Years A Slave” tells the tale of a born-freed man, Solomon Northup, who was a  musician in Saratoga Springs, New York. Northup was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. The movie opens up with Northup being beaten 15 times with a bat and then whipped by his kidnappers. The film also features slave lynchings, and most notoriously, a gruesome scene featuring a plantation owner who strung a slave to a post to beat her a total of 41 times.

Although some audience members left the Toronto premiere, “12 Years A Slave” still received a 10-minute standing ovation. Based on that response, many expect the film to receive numerous Oscar nominations. Director Steve McQueen told the audience the reason he wanted to adapt Northup’s story into a motion picture:

“I wanted to see that story on film, It’s that simple.”

Actor Brad Pitt who had a role in the film also served as a producer and said:

 “Steve was the first to ask why there have not been more films on the US history of slavery. It’s a question it took a Brit to ask.”

Though we doubt Steve McQueen was the first person who thought the narratives of slaves needed to be heard and served justice, we do know he had the access to provide a platform for the terrifying experience Northup endured.  McQueen is a black British director, his nation —  England — had a different relationship with slavery than the United States.  England abolished slavery in their colonies before America and implemented colonialism instead.  Perhaps if a black American filmmaker had a similar  approach,  media outlets in the States would have viewed “12 Years A Slave”  as an exaggeration of the slave experience.

Below is a trailer of “12 Year A Slave.” What do you think about the film?

’12 Years A Slave’  will be in theaters October 18! Will you go watch the film? 

Angela Davis Documentary Coming to Select Theaters in April

February 4th, 2013 - By CAP
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Angela Davis (left) and her niece, actress Eisa Davis, at a Toronto Film Festival event. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Angela Davis (left) and her niece, actress Eisa Davis, at a Toronto Film Festival event. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Just in time for Black History Month, Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate company, has announced that it is releasing Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, presented by BET Networks at select AMC locations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Oakland, Philadelphia and Atlanta on April 5, 2013.

This documentary of Angela Davis was directed and written by Shola Lynch, whose previous work includes Chisholm ’72- Unbought & Unbossed.  According to a press release for this film, Davis was inspired by Chisholm ’72 to “speak to young people in the 21st century and to give them a sense of what it means to feel collectively powerful and capable of changing the world.”

Jada Pinkett Smith also worked on Free Angela as an executive producer, with Overbrook Entertainment and Jay Z for Roc Nation and a number of other names in the entertainment industry. The film was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival a few months ago.

Angela Davis has been hailed as a political symbol and prominent activist in the 1960s for her involvement in the Civil Rights movement and affiliation with the Black Panthers. This film features Angela Davis’ own personal account of what led to her imprisonment. The story focuses on Davis as a young professor and social justice activist who is somehow implicated in a kidnapping attempt and a shootout that leaves four people dead. Davis ultimately lands on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. She also became a global cause, with people around the world calling her a “political prisoner” and demanding her release. The documentary coincides with the 40th anniversary of Davis’ acquittal on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy.

Fun fact: Davis became such a celebrated cause that she was the inspiration for a song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono — “Angela” — and another by The Rolling Stones — “Sweet Black Angel.” IMDB also reminds us that Davis ran for VP of the US in 1980 and 1984 under the Communist Party umbrella.

After the jump, we’ve got the trailer. Will you watch this movie?