Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora



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#48 - Announcing Film Screening Series; Bloggers Roundtable No. 2

Recorded Monday, April 6th, 2009
TRT: 60 Minutes.

- Aaron Ingram and Curtis John of ActNow Foundation and writer/director talked about the upcoming quarterly film screening series at BAM Cinemas.

- And, another bloggers roundtable. I was joined by
Daryle Lockhart of, Karen G. of, Jo-Issa of, and Sergio Mims (Ebony/Jet film columnist).

Topics we discussed:

- "She's Gotta Have It" 23 years later. Would it still impress as it did the year it was released?
- Cuba Gooding Jr and Terence Howard lead ensemble cast in George Lucas's Tuskeegee Airmen film.
- Angela Bassett gets behind the camera for the first time, adapting Percival Everett's novel, Erasure.
- Taraji P Henson, Kerry Washington, Angela Bassett, and other black actresses. Who's getting steady work? Why/why not?
- "Medicine For Melancholy" VS "A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy;" distribution and box office compare/contrast.

Listen below, or download via the iTunes store. Just search for "Obenson Report."

PODCAST - Episode 47 - Bloggers Roundtable

W/ guest hosts:

Invisible Woman (, Daryle Lockhart, Karen G. (, and Sergio Mims (Ebony/Jet columnist).

Show notes:

0:00 to 10:00 - Introductions
10:00 to 20:00 - Tyler Perry Incorporated?
20:00 to 35:00 - More on the plight of Indie black filmmakers
35:00 to 40:00 - Lionsgate's acquisition of a script based on Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf
40:00 to 46:00 - Jill Scott solves crime in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
46:00 to 50:00 - Queen Latifah is Just Wright for a romantic comedy
50:00 to 60:00 - Mos Def battles Christopher Hitchens on Bill Maher's show

Listen below, or download via the iTunes store. Just search for "Obenson Report."

SHORT SHOT - New Short From “Waltz with Bashir" Animation Director

As the international community debates the closure policy in the Gaza Strip, the director of animation of the Oscar-nominated Waltz with Bashir has some harsh messages to convey in his new animated short about Gaza.

During the past 2 years, Israel tightened its grip on Gaza, almost completely restricting the passage of goods and people both to and from the Strip.

PRINT - All-Negro Comics!


Hmmm... this is very interesting. I wasn't aware of All-Negro Comics, until I read the below article about its auction.

All-Negro Comics was America’s first-ever comic book, written, illustrated and published entirely by African-Americans, aimed primarily at African American readers. This was in the late 1940s, by the way.

My brief research revealed that there have been relatively few mainstream comic books published by and intended primarily for black audiences. These include Negro Romance (1950) Negro Heroes (1947 - 1948), the venereal disease educational Little Willie (1949), Fast Willie Jackson (1976 – 1977), and a line of comics published by DC Comics in the 1990s (including Blood Syndicate, Hardware, Icon, Kobalt, Shadow Cabinet and others).

According to the AP, the single issue of All-Negro Comics is up for auction.

A copy of All-Negro Comics No. 1, as it was called, is up for sale by comics entrepreneur Stephen Fishler. He says the comic is very rare - lasting one issue in 1947.

All-Negro Comics sold for 15 cents and was the brainchild of a black Philadelphia journalist, Orrin C. Evans.

The comic book, featuring such characters as detective Ace Harlem and Hep Chicks on Parade, is for sale as part of the online ComicConnect Event Auction. It began Feb. 27 and continues March 13, 14 and 15.

Apparently, within the pages of this single issue you'll find: a violent detective story; followed by a fairytale for little children; then an adventure about a Tarzan-like African hero; and finally, a sex-comedy about two opportunistic tramps.

I'd love to get my hands on this!

Anyone familiar? Read the comic book? I'd love to get some first-hand opinions.

Check out more images from its pages below... including the inside-front-cover which details the career of publisher, writer and president of All-Negro Comics, Inc., Orrin. C. Evans: “Former reporter and editor in the Negro newspaper field. Over a period of more than 25 years, he served with the Afro-American newspapers, the Chicago Defender, the Philadelphia Tribune, the Philadelphia Independent, the Public Journal and the American and Musician and Sportsman’s Magazine. He also has been a contributor to the Crisis, official organ of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”

(click to enlarge)


PODCAST - # 46: W/ Aaron Ingram (ActNow Foundation) & Pete Chatmon (Premium)

Podcast #46

TRT: 60 Minutes

Episode Notes:

- Tambay briefly waxes on the economy and Rush Limbaugh's recent comments.

- Guest, Aaron Ingram, founder and operator of ActNow Foundation, a Brooklyn-based, black-owned and operated non-profit film and theatre company.

- Guest, Pete Chatmon, writer/director of Premium, and founder and operator of the Double 7 Film family of ventures, as well as the 2008 Tribeca All Access award winner for his upcoming film, $Free.99.

Listen below, or subscribe and download for FREE via iTunes. Just open up iTunes on your computer and search for "Obenson Report" in the iTunes store, where you will also find archives of previous shows.


MONDAY FUNNIES - Have You Seen Jesus?

What's even more humorous about this compilation is that the Jesus they all claim to have seen is the conventional, western, man-made depiction we've all seen in various pieces of artistic renditions of the man. How convenient...

SHORT SHOT - Evangeleo


Figured I'd start taking a closer look at short films by black filmmakers, since worthwhile features are severely lacking!

I've highlighted a few already - most recently Hug, by Khary Jones, which was a Sundance 2009 selection, and will also be at South By Southwest this month.

I just watched an atmospheric 20-minute horror short called Evangeleo by Brandon Harris.

Brandon is a Brooklyn neighbor of mine, and writes for several outlets, notably Filmmaker magazine, Spout Blog, and Hammer To Nail, amongst others. He's also one of the other bloggers featured in a documentary that I was also in - Indie Film Blogger Road Trip, by Sujewa Ekanayake. Riding the bus on my way home this evening, I ran into Brandon, and, amongst other things, asked him where I could see his short film (something I'd been asking him since we first met last summer). And he let me know that the entire film was available for screening on its IMDB page. Once I got home, I got on my laptop, headed for and checked it out. And you could do the same.

By the way, during the film's shoot, the male lead, Irungu Mutu, lived a floor above me in my apartment building. And his sister, an artist with growing fame, Wangechi Mutu, is my landlord.

So, it feels like a family affair :o)

Here's a direct link to Evangeleo, a horror film, which Brandon states was inspired by Bill Gunn's 1973 classic Ganja & Hess, a film I've mentioned previously on this blog.

WARNING - it's not for the squeamish.

I would embed it here, but IMDB foolishly doesn't allow for that, so here ya go:

SUNDAY FUNNIES - Don't Make Barack Obama Angry... You Won't Like Him When He's Angry...

The Rock Obama lives! Haha - this was funny! Fans of the Incredible Hulk will appreciate!

From last night's Saturday Night Live episode:


The first studio film directed by a black woman can now be screened for free via - Martinique-born Euzhan Palcy's A Dry White Season, which she also co-wrote.

The 1989 film stars Donald Sutherland as a white South African schoolteacher, ignorant about racism in his country, who becomes involved when his black gardener is killed. Marlon Brando and Susan Sarandon co-star.

Certainly not Palcy's best work - for that see her debut, Sugar Cane Alley - but, still worth a look, if only for its above significance.

Watch it in full below.

WHAT I'M WATCHING - The Game & The Killing

As I stated in a previous post, I've been consuming a lot of cinema lately -
specifically films that I think can be of some inspiration on whatever script I'm working on. I tend to do that while I'm writing; it all helps tremendously, as I'm sure many of you writers would agree!

As I jogged this morning, my mind continuously working as usual, I reached an epiphany! Why not share what I'm watching on my blog?!

Brilliant, right? :o)

Anywho... so, instead of writing full-length reviews of each film, I'll instead keep each to succinct paragraphs.

Call them my 5 cent reviews!

In the last 2 days, I've seen The Game and The Killing, in that order. Here we go with my 5 cent reviews of each:

The Game -

David Fincher is undeniably very good with mood and atmosphere - camera work, lighting, production design, sound design, soundtrack, etc. And those elements made
The Game far more watchable for me than it would have been, without them. It's an interesting premise - one that we've seen in many films before and after (you'll find similarities with films like Fight Club (also a Fincher work), and even Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life). And, billed as a thriller, I certainly was riveted for a significant portion of the film; however, it's one of those films that, as I thought more about it after I saw it, the more preposterous the entire story seemed. I was willing to buy what Fincher and company were selling for some of the movie, but whatever anticipation is built up in the first hour, gradually dies in the second hour, leading up to the twist ending, with scene after scene demanding more and more of the viewer's suspension of disbelief/belief. In the end, it felt like much ado about very little - a pretty picture with something genuine to say, but just not very well thought through and executed. Not a bad film - I'd certainly take The Game over countless other studio pictures. This is my second time seeing it by the way. The first time was the year it was released - 1997.

The Killing -

Stanley Kubrick's 3rd feature, made in 1956. He was just 28 when he produced it. I mention his age, because, it's quite an impressive piece of work that any filmmaker, aged or novice, would gladly have on their resume; and to think that it was written and directed by a 28-year old is simply awesome! The film is a detailed account of a heist gone bad. Sound familiar?
Resevoir Dogs, maybe? And others I can't think of at the moment. Also, it's told in a somewhat non-linear fashion. Again, sound familiar? Resevoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, et al. Not that Tarantino was directly influenced by Kubrick's film - in fact, I can't say, since I haven't read anything stating the affirmative - but the similarities can't be ignored. At around 90 minutes in length, the film feels much shorter, which is a good thing in this case. It moves along quite briskly, forcing you to keep up, which isn't all that difficult to do; and it's just plain FUN to watch! I had a wonderful time taking it all in and was engaged for the entire 90 minutes. The cinematography is excellent - a Kubrick staple as we would see in his later works - including what we could call trademark lengthy dolly shots that follow the motion of an actor in a scene, as well as some unconventional camera angles. I love black & white film stock, especially when it's so rich and contrasty as it is here. The urgency in the soundtrack overwhelms slightly, but it worked throughout. I would strongly recommend The Killing for anyone interested in Kubrick's earlier films, or anyone who loves a good heist movie. Given the advances in techonology we've seen since its day, the film feels dated in some sequences; but, that can be resolved quickly by simply placing the characters and story in context. This was my first time seeing it by the way. I ordered the DVD immediately after.


I'll be catching at least 2 more before the end of the weekend, and I'll share my thoughts after.

Have a good day!

FILM REVIEW - Watchmen


No, not from me... I haven't seen it, and I've already expressed some ambivalence in seeing it. Maybe when it's on DVD.

For now, check out fellow blogger V-Knowledge's full review of it; his thoughts reaffirm many of my preconceived concerns.

Here's a snippet:

Like the super-powered Dr. Manhattan, Watchmen is a lifeless, unfeeling & emotion-devoid film that ironically suffers from what many fans desired in the first place: being too faithful and reverent to its source material.

'Nuff said! :o)

By the way, he gives it a 3.5 stars out of 10!

Read the rest of his thoughtful analysis HERE.