Women of the Lens Film Festival

News : Commentary

News  I  Commentary

Viola Davis for an Oscar?

Viola Davis is a powerhouse in 2020’s, George C. wolfe directed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. A Netflix original, the adapted production also stars Chadwick Boseman in his last peformance.

Davis has been nominated in this year’s Academy Awards for a Best Actress nod. Additionally, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson are the first Black women to be nominated in the make up and hairstyling category in the Awards for Ma Rainey.

The outcomes of these nominations and more can be seen in the ceremony to be held on 26th April.

 

(image credit: Netflix)

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Netfilx Film Poster

Lara Croft’s Posh-ness To Be Examined By A Black American Eye

Misha Green (Lovecraft Country/Underground) is slated to direct another extension of the movie franchise, Tomb Raider.

Fashioned after a video game, the original films starred Angelina Jolie in 2001 and a sequel in 2003. In 2018 the  role was reprised by Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl/Ex Machina) in the titular role of ‘posh-totty’ Lara Croft.

One of the reasons we think that the films thus far have a tongue-in-cheek feel about them, are their inability (or the directors’ inability) to interpret ‘Britishness’ – even at that level of landed gentry (from which the character Croft hails).

The distance between the so-called ‘upper crust’ of society and the public, has been narrowed by media which means that they seem all too…familar. Indeed many of them have courted familiarity in order to remain relevant, which explains some of the behaviour of some of the younger members of the British royal family. We know them, or at least we think we do. Our perceptions of them in film then, requires familiarity.

With Misha Green at the helm of this new vehicle, we’ll get to see an African American  vision of ‘Britishness’. It’ll be interesting to see how accurate this vision is.

Small Axe Series by

Steve McQueen

Director Steve McQueen’s ability to bring his Small Axe series of films to the BBC screen is no small feat.

The series title can take some credit from legendary reggae artist Bob Marley’s song of the same name. The song’s lyrics tells those in power that it doesn’t matter how big they get little by little, using a small axe and chipping away at iniquity, they can be cut down.

The Small Axe series contains Mangrove, Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue and Alex Wheatle. They are like little love letters to the first generation of Windrush settlers who, upon finding that they were having a hard time being accepted as British by the establishment and the white population as a whole, found ways to push back at the Mother Country’s inequality in employment, education, the judiciary and housing, to name a few.

It was a time where those children carved out their own sense of style, fashion, music, art and filmmaking. The Lovers Rock genre for example was created in the UK by Windrush children. How special is that?!

A film series reflecting the life of that generation has been a long time coming…on mainstream platforms anyway. Here’s hoping that it sparks more productions – big and not so big, that celebrate a galvanising period in British history.

Small Axe now available on BBC iplayer

(image credit: BBC)

Diverse industry discussions continue

So, the perennial challenge of providing opportunity that creates a more diverse film and media UK industry is mapped out in an article by Screen Daily.
Titled; “…How can the industry develop a more inclusive workforce?…” the piece includes an initiative created to include training courses on BAME hair and make up. 
It’s difficult not to reign in our frustrations here. A scratch on the surface of research will show that Black women spend significant amounts on hair and beauty. The accompanying Black beauty influencers and online make up tutorials reveals a plethora of more than capable candidates to approach as prospective employs in this field of the industry. Granted they may need support in the ways of on-screen techniques, but there should be no shortage of candidates. 
Read the full article in the link below. 

(image credit: Jess Hurd)

credit JessHurd

Cheaper By The Dozen Gets Mixed

(image credit: Getty)

A much-loved 2003 film starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt is set for a Disney remake. Cheaper By The Dozen, a comedy about a father…taking care of his 12 children whilst his wife pursues her own goals (for a change) will star Zach Braff and Gabielle Union. 

Gabrielle as you remember is an African American woman and Zach of course is white. The film’s script is being penned by Kenya Barris. This may or may not be a good thing for you, depending on your reception of tv shows Black-ish, Mixed-ish, Grown-ish and any other ish Barris seems keen to throw in.

We wonder though if amongst other things, this film won’t be pandering to trendy ‘woke-isms’ as we see more and more blendings of inter-racial relationships in the media. What seems to be getting tongue’s wagging are the romantic parings of Black women with any other kind of mate than black – usually a white man.

There are sooo many little traps that this production has to avoid. We wish it well in dosing so.  

One of the reasons this platform exists is to showcase and show off under represented  women who get limited, if any form of exposure. What Nina Simone experienced should not happen again.

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Our 2020 Festival returns online. We’ll be interviewing industry professionals through Zoom calls. Watch out for the updates on our social media. 

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