THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

ROUNDUP - Fela Bio-Pic, Slamdance Gems, Festival Blues, Idris On TV, Oxford Over NFL, Nona Gaye Returns



What's happening?

-
FELA KUTI BIOPIC IN THE WORKS. Focus Features is developing a biopic about Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician and political maverick who gained fame in the U.S. for his fusion style of music known as Afrobeat. It's about time! If we can get biopics about Biggie and Aaliyah, surely, Fela deserves the same treatment. I just hope they get an unknown to play the part; an actor from his home country would be wonderful, but, I doubt that'll happen.

- indieWIRE spotlights 5 films to see at Slamdance (not Sundance), and Tina Mabry's Mississippi Damned, which I wrote about previously on this blog, is one of them. Erick Kohn writes,
This lusciously photographed period piece, set in a lower class southern community in 1986 and 1998, showcases writer-director Tina Mabry’s ability to handle the complexities of an ensemble drama with her very first feature. An impoverished black family (including David Malcolm Kelley, who plays Walt on ABC’s “Lost”) cope with dreams of greater ambitions. Whether confronting sexual tensions (in one case, a latent homosexual relationship) or monetary woes, the characters in “Mississippi Damned” represent the voice of a discontented people, which comes through loud and clear.
Black dramas are tough sells, so I'd expect Mabry's film to face some challenges in finding a distributor. I hope to have her, and/or her producers on my podcast some time soon.

- The Hollywood Reporter says Film festivals are prepping for a year of "downsized aspirations," stating,
Many organizers believe the healthy economy of the past decade created a bubble of film festivals, and that a retrenchment was inevitable... Right now times are tough for a lot of people, and some companies and festivals will go under... But those that survive are going to be the ones able to get really lean, focus on basics, identify what really matters and get stronger.
There are far too many film festivals, I think, so, I consider this a good thing.

- IDRIS ELBA TO JOIN NBC'S 'OFFICE': As I stated in a post yesterday, more minority performers seem to be finding better opportunities for steady employment in television, and more are migrating in that direction - and rightfully so! Stringer Bell himself, aka Idris Elba, is following the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett and others, to star as a new rival to Steve Carell's character in the NBC hit, The Office. While details are being kept under wraps, NBC did say the actor will play a no-nonsense hire who rankles star Steve Carell's character. I've actually never watched an episode of The Office, despite its wealth of accolades; but I might tune in to see how Elba meshes.

- COLLEGE FOOTBALL STAR PASSES ON NFL TO GO TO OXFORD: How often does something like this happen? Rarely! According to draft experts and analysts, Florida State University football player Myron Rolle would be among the top 50 players selected in the 2009 NFL draft, meaning instant fame and fortune. However, Rolle, who won a Rhodes scholarship in November, has decided to instead take advantage of the opportunity and head overseas, to Oxford, to earn a one-year Master's degree in medical anthropology. Smart move! However, he told the New York Times that he would enter the 2010 NFL draft. So, fame and fortune will likely still come, but it's a risky move for anyone hoping for a pro-sports career. He could get hurt in the next 13 months, and he'll have to kiss the NFL goodbye. Still a bold, smart move...

- AND LASTLY, Sony Pictures has acquired rights to the underground fighting drama Blood and Bone, an out of competition Sundance selection, which stars Michael Jai White as an ex-con who takes the underground fighting world by storm, in his quest to fulfill a promise to a dead friend. The deal was struck on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival, reports Variety.

Nona Gaye (where the heck has she been?), Eamonn Walker, Julian Sands, and UFC contender Kimbo Slice round out the cast.

The trailer is below, and from the looks of it, I think I'll pass! I'm guessing Sony will release it on DVD, i.e., no theatrical.

3 comments:

  1. The Wendilicious Wonder said...
     

    It'd be really cool if they got Femi to play his dad (Fela) in the biopic. He looks a lot like him and, I would imagine, knows him to be more than the drugged-up musical genius political agitator that many might see him as.

    Plus, while their music differs slightly, he also knows his Dad's music. I first saw Fela play at Unilag in the 80s and Femi was already in the band then.

    I think it would be good casting, but I doubt that'll happen either...

    And as to Idris joining the office, I find it interesting that a British expat (Idris) should be joining the cast of the American version of a British import (The Office).

    He might not even have had a part in the original if he'd stayed back home in Blighty instead of casting his net further afield. I still don't get that show's appeal... but then I've never watched a complete episode, so I guess I should reserve judgement.

  2. Sergio said...
     

    Speaking for myself, judging just from the trailer I really want to see Blood and Bone. Yeah sure it's no doubt totally predictable and corny but at least for the first time in years I get to see macho black men acting like men beating the hell outta people. THANK GOD! I've had it up to here with this sickening "feminzation" of black men on the screen with people like Tyler Perry. I want to see hard core black men (like the good old days with Jim brown) back on the big screen.

    And as for where Noya Gaye has been, it's been no secret that she had been having a really rough time with certain "substance abuse" issues and I'll leave it at that. Though I have to admit she was totally unrecognizable in the trailer. She's obviously been through a hard time

  3. SolShine7 said...
     

    Oh, you gotta watch The Office! It's great. But somehow I don't see Idris Elba fitting in the cast, he's too good-looking. Most of the people on the show have plain looks and that's part of the humor. I just hope Elba speaks with his British accent, that would make things interesting.

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