Black Film Festival Returns To Parrish For Fifth Year
The Fifth Annual East End Black Film Festival will take place Saturday, November 6, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Parrish Art Museum. Organized by the African-American Museum of the East End, the program, selected by Bonnie Cannon, Brenda Simmons, and Cheryl Buck, will include films for children, families, and adults. A day pass is $10; admission is free for Parrish members. There will be no admission charge for the evening’s final film, “Shoot the Messenger,” which will be screened Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
In addition to the Saturday films, the Festival will present two special programs at the Southampton Cultural Center. A screening of the 44-minute film “Men II Boys” will take place Thursday, November 4, at 7 p.m. The film will be followed by a panel discussion led by the film’s director, Janks Morton, that will address such questions as, “What is a man?” and “What is the single greatest challenge facing Black America?” The program is free, but seating is limited.
The Festival’s annual Spoken Word program, scheduled for Friday, November 5, at 7 p.m., at the Cultural Center, will feature Jazz flutist Dwayne Kerr and the R&B jazz band Touché. The festival organizers have described this event as “an evening of exploration where we voice our hopes, our lives, our loves, and our passions.” A $10 donation is suggested for Spoken Word.
The Saturday festival at the Parrish comprises a variety of films, ranging from shorts to documentaries to contemporary features. “Popous Pane and the Kids He Loves to Hate,” a short film directed by Derrick Anthony, is a poignant tale of two brothers who meet for the first time at the request of their long-absent biological father. Over drinks the two men share heartfelt revelations about their father and the effects of his absence on their lives. Starring Alfred E. Rutherford, Stephen Hill, and Jerome Preston Bates, the film was selected as a finalist in the 2009 HBO short film competition sponsored in conjunction with the American Black Film Festival. Director Anthony and producer Amelia Winfree will be present to discuss the film and answer questions from the audience.
“3 Faces of Evelyn,” a 13-minute film by Kamali Minter, is a comedy about a woman suffering from multiple personalities who seeks therapy to help her discover who she voted for in the 2008 presidential election. The film was produced and written by Kathryn J. Taylor and Stephanie M. Vaughn and stars Taylor and Brian Carpenter.
One film, “We Need to Talk” is suggested by festival organizers as for women only. Like “Men II Boys,” “We Need to Talk” is directed by Janks Morton. Known for poignant, tough-love documentaries about African-American males, Morton, as the father of an 11-year-old girl, took his camera to Chicago’s South Side, where he interviewed 10 women about their relationships with their fathers and their boyfriends. According to reporter Kam Williams, “Exhibiting an uncanny knack for both eliciting emotional responses and capturing African-American pulchritude on camera, Janks posed a series of probing questions in his trademark fashion.” Parrish audience members will be able to pose their own questions to Morton, who will be present at the Saturday screening, as well as at the Thursday showing of “Men II Boys” at the Southampton Cultural Center.
The Festival always includes a classic of African-American cinema. Based on the 1944 play by Philip Yordan, Anna Lucasta (1958) follows the trials and tribulations of a young black woman (Eartha Kitt), who turns to prostitution after her father kicks her out of the house. When Anna’s brother-in-law (Frederick O’Neal) concocts a plan to marry her off to a wealthy young man (Henry Scott) and then steal from him, Anna disappoints her greedy relative by falling in love with the young man. Sammy Davis Jr. plays a visitor from Anna’s past who almost wrecks the marriage.
“Patterns of Passion” (2008) is the story of a young woman trying to come to grips with her past in order to move forward with her life. Passion struggles to control her volatile disposition and as a result is forced into therapy by her boss as a disciplinary action. During her therapy session she explores the patterns of dysfunction that have plagued her from an early age. She plunges to unimaginable depths of self-loathing in search of happiness. When Passion reaches her limit she realizes that it is up to her to do whatever it takes to break this brutal cycle. Written and directed by Patrick L. Coleman, the 81-minute film stars Olinda Fonseca as Passion.
Produced for BBC Two television in 2006, “Shoot the Messenger” concerns a successful London IT programmer who decides to become a teacher in a city school after seeing stories in the press about black boys failing. His intentions are good, but when a minor incident gets blown out of proportion, he loses his job, his home, and his sanity. According to screenwriter Sharon Foster, “‘Shoot The Messenger’ is a reflection of debates which are ongoing within the black community, and questions some of the stuff that black communities tell themselves and their children. It’s like a fable. Some of it may be uncomfortable for people to hear, but ultimately it’s about learning to accept and love people as they are.” “Shoot the Messenger” is directed by Ngozi Onwurah and stars David Oyelowo.
The Museum’s programs are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties, and the property taxpayers from the Southampton School District and the Tuckahoe Common School District.
For more information go to www.parrishart.org.