Thursday, January 20, 2022

Black Lives Matter at 17th Annual Tribeca Film Festival

Ellis Haizlip - mr-soul2
Ellis Haizlip – Mr. Soul

*Black Lives Matter at the 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival is showcased in a big way. It is among the many categories that include Activism, Animation, Breakout Actors, Horror-Genre, LGBTQ, Media, Mental Health, Music, New Directors, Human Rights, Religion, SciFi & Futuristic, Sports, Technology, and Youth.

Presented by AT&T, The Tribeca Film Festive, now through April 29, list of Black & African Diaspora films spotlighted include the following:

Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story – directed by Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst, tells the story of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was stalked and killed. And his killer’s reward was exoneration. Martin’s untimely death gave rise to the #Blacklivesmatter movement. The Paramount TV series is based on the book of the same title by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and executive-produced by Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter.

Mr. Soul! – From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show SOUL!, guided by enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of black literature, poetry, music, and politics—voices that had few options for national exposure, and as a result, found an improbable place to call home. Haizlip was one of the few openly gay black men during this time period and during this time. He challenged the community and the nation at large to think and celebrate “in color,” while he also raised the awareness of the issues that were facing the nation. Directed by Melissa Hazlip and Samuel Pollard.

1000 Cut Journey – In this immersive virtual-reality experience, the viewer becomes Michael Sterling, a black man, encountering racism as a young child, adolescent, and young adult. “1,000 Cut Journey” highlights the social realities of racism, for understanding racism is the essential first step in promoting effective, collective social action and achieving racial justice. The Virtual Arcade (USA) World Premiere product creators are Courtney Cogburn, Elise Ogle, Jeremy Bailenson, Tobin Asher, and Teff Nichols.

The Gospel According to André – From the segregated South to the fashion capitals of the world, ‘The Gospel According to André’ recounts fashion editor André Leon Talley’s storied life and career with testimonials from Anna Wintour, Tom Ford, and Marc Jacobs. Directed by Kate Novack.

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes – This is the history of Blue Note Records, the label that, since 1939, has recorded jazz giants ranging from Miles Davis to Robert Glasper. With Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Don Was, Norah Jones. – Directed and written by Sophie Huber.

Charm City – Charm City takes viewers beyond the television headlines and over the front lines of violence in Baltimore; in doing so it reveals the grit and compassion of the city’s citizens, police, and government officials trying to reclaim their future. Directed by Marilyn Ness.

Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 – Through interviews this documentary tells the origin story of the Air Jordan, and the impact it had on sports, hip-hop, and the birth of sneaker culture. With Spike Lee, Anthony Anderson, Chuck D, DJ Khaled, Michael Jordan, Michael B Jordan, Jason Sudeikis, Lena Waithe, Russell Westbrook.Directed and written by Dexton Deboree.

Crossroads – Despite never having played the game before, a group of underprivileged teens emerge as a talented lacrosse team under the tutelage of Coach Bobby Selkin in this inspiring documentary. Directed by Ron Yassen.

United Skates – Credited with incubating East Coast hip-hop and West Coast rap, America’s roller rinks have long been bastions of regional African-American culture, music, and dance. As rinks shutter across the country, a few activists mount a last stand. Directed and produced by Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler.

Little Woods – In this dramatic thriller set in the fracking boomtown of Little Woods, North Dakota, two estranged sisters are driven to extremes when their mother dies, leaving them with one week to pay back her mortgage. With Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Luke Kirby, James Badge Dale, Lance Reddick Directed and written by Nia DaCosta.

It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It – Given unprecedented access to a maximum security prison, filmmaker Madeleine Sackler worked with a group of inmates to tell their own stories, giving rise to this collaborative, intimate documentary project. Directed by Madeleine Sackler.

Nigerian Prince – A troubled American teenager, sent away to his mother’s native Nigeria, finds himself entangled in a dangerous web of scams and corruption with a con-artist cousin as his guide. With Antonio J. Bell, Chinaza Uche, Tina Mba, Bimbo Manuel, Toyin Oshinaike, Craig Stott. Directed by Faraday Okoro

Phantom Cowboys – This searing documentary, which spans nearly a decade, captures the hopes and dreams of modern adolescents in the forgotten industrial towns across America. Directed by Daniel Patrick Carbone

Satan & Adam – This is a celebration of friendship and the blues comprised of documentary footage shot over the course of two decades. With Sterling Magee, Adam Gussow, The Edge, Rev. Al Sharpton, Harry Shearer, Quint Davis. Directed by V. Scott Balcerek.

Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland – Follows the two-year battle to uncover the truth behind her death. Bland was a bright, energetic activist whose life was cut short when a traffic stop resulted in a mysterious jail cell death just three days later. Directed by Kate Davis, David Heilbroner.

“Say Her Name” Sandra Bland.

Tanzania Transit – A train journey across Tanzania captures a microcosm of contemporary African society in Tribeca alum Jeroen van Velzen’s captivating and visually stunning road movie. Directed by Jeroen van Velzen.

When Lambs Become Lions – In the Kenyan bush, a crackdown on ivory poaching forces a silver-tongued second-generation poacher to seek out an unlikely ally in this fly-on-the-wall look at both sides of the conservation divide. Directed by Jon Kasbe.

The History of White People in America – This documentary Short (Curated by Whoopi G section) gets an animated, musical treatment in its telling of race in America. Directed by Jonathan Halperin, Clementine Briand, Ed Bell, Aaron Keane, Pierce Freelon, Drew Takahashi,

Let Them Die Like Lovers – A body-jumping soldier grapples with the morality of her missions in this emotionally charged sci-fi thriller. With Mustafa Shakir, Angela Lewis, Bradley Fisher. Directed and written by Jesse Atlas.

The Life of Esteban (Het Leven van Esteban) – Esteban, a future Olympic swimmer, has grown up with a single mother and doesn’t know who his father is. As he searches for his identity in this short film, he determines swimming is a metaphor for life itself. With Mavuela, Mathis Mavuela, Joshua Tassin, Tine Cartuyvels, Goua Grovogui, Lamine Diouf. Directed and written by Inès Eshun.

My Africa – In Northern Kenya, the futures of wildlife and people are intertwined. Stand in the midst of a thundering wildebeest migration in the Virtual Arcade and meet a community dedicated to saving Africa’s wildlife. The mixed-reality, companion experience puts participants in the shoes of a Reteti Elephant Sanctuary keeper caring for the newest arrival, a baby elephant named Dudu. Cast: Lupita Nyong’o (narrator), Naltwasha Leripe.

Dinner Party – Part of the Virtual Arcade tells the story of Betty and Barney Hill, a couple who made the first report of a UFO abduction in America in 1961. Having sought hypnosis to recover memories of their inexplicable experience, the Hills decide to listen to the recording of their session during a dinner party—and what they hear could change their lives forever. Cast: Malcolm Barrett, Sarah Sokolovic.

For more info, go to:       Twitter: @thefilmstrip

Marie Moore
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.



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