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‘Moonlight’ Writer-Director Barry Jenkins Reflects on Making the Decade’s Best Movie

‘Moonlight’ Writer-Director Barry Jenkins Reflects on Making the Decade’s Best Movie
When “Moonlight” — which IndieWire just crowned as the best film of this decade — went from breakout festival success to cultural phenomenon in 2016, Barry Jenkins catapulted to major filmmaker and when one of the most revered black storytellers to emerge this century. That rapid ascension made up for a lot of lost time: Anyone who caught Jenkins’ insightful 2008 debut “Medicine for Melancholy,” an absorbing two-hander about gentrification and the modern African American experience, saw the potential for a singular new voice in current cinema. It took nearly 10 years for Jenkins’ followup to come together, but “Moonlight” became the ultimate catalyst for broader discussions about representations of the black experience in popular culture.

But the conversation wasn’t relegated to that sphere alone. Jenkins’ adaptation of playwright Tarell Alvin McCarney’s “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” taps into the solitary experiences of Chiron, as he struggles with his sexuality and troubled
See full article at Indiewire »

Coming Home: The Story Behind ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’

Coming Home: The Story Behind ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’
It’s pretty easy to spot Joe Talbot in a crowd. You just look for the San Francisco Giants baseball cap.

The hat is not a fairweather-fan affectation or a fashion accessory for the 28-year-old filmmaker — it’s as much a part of his wardrobe as his oversized denim jacket or old-school sneakers. You could picture him blending in with the masses outside the team’s hometown stadium, the one that was formerly known as Pac Bell Park when it opened in 2000 before being rechristened Sbc Park in 2003, then AT&T Park in 2006 and,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

The Pain of Jimmie Fails’ Eviction Fueled His Need to Make ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’

The Pain of Jimmie Fails’ Eviction Fueled His Need to Make ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’
This is the latest installment of “Breaking Black,” a weekly column focused on emerging black talent.

in A24’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” actor Jimmie Fails stars as Jimmie Fails who, like him, is a 20-something black man whose grandfather once owned a Victorian home in the rapidly gentrifying Fillmore District. Fails wrote the script with Rob Reichert and director Joe Talbot, and it’s easy to see it as a story about racism and the rapid-fire cultural displacement that has come to identify the Bay Area.

While all of that may be true, Fails said it also misses the precise point: It’s actually more a story about family, the fleeting nature of love and happiness, and fighting to find one’s place in an evolving world.

“When I lost my house, which is what happens in the movie, it wasn’t at all because of gentrification,
See full article at Indiewire »

Barry Jenkins Set to Direct Fox Searchlight’s Alvin Ailey Biopic

Barry Jenkins Set to Direct Fox Searchlight’s Alvin Ailey Biopic
Oscar winner Barry Jenkins is preparing his return to the big screen after last year’s “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Deadline reports that the “Moonlight” and “Medicine for Melancholy” filmmaker has been set to direct Fox Searchlight’s currently untitled film based on the life of celebrated choreographer Alvin Ailey.

The outlet reports that the speciality hub of Fox struck a deal with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater just last year, “which granted full cooperation from the organization that controls the rights to Ailey’s choreography.” The package also includes the rights to Jennifer Dunning’s biography “Alvin Ailey: A Life In Dance.” Searchlight and the film’s producers will reportedly work closely with Artistic Director Robert Battle and Artistic Director Emerita, Judith Jamison, “to bring Ailey’s story and choreography to the screen.”

Rising screenwriter Julian Breece will write the script for the film. The “Buppies” creator
See full article at Indiewire »

SXSW 2019: Global Highlights and Familiar Faces

  • MUBI
South MountainIn my last dispatch from Austin I pinpointed the Visions section as a shortcut to South by Southwest’s generally more adventurous programming, if only to facilitate sifting through a number of arcane plot summaries. High-profile acts are bound to the festival thanks to tradition, release date timing, and in some cases city loyalty (think Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and Terrence Malick’s Song to Song; both were shot in Austin and both ultimately premiered at SXSW). It would seem that some worthy but inconspicuous titles could easily fall between the cracks, though pioneers like Barry Jenkins prove otherwise. This year’s Global section I found particularly fertile, with titles ranging from X&Y, artist Anna Oddell’s experimental film inquisition of public personas and gender roles, to Marlén Viñayo’s Cachada: The Opportunity, a documentary about a group of working-class Salvadoran women that stage a performative re-enactment of their traumatic life stories.
See full article at MUBI »

Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas Season 2 to Focus on Education

Alec Bojalad Mar 8, 2019

For Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas Season 2, the comedian-helper will be exploring education in America...and goat yoga.

Wyatt Cenac just wants to help. The first season of Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas on HBO covered things like space travel, police apologies, and automation. For Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas Season 2, the comedian is getting a little more specific.

Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas Season 2 will focus chiefly on the American education system per an HBO release. The 10-episode season, which debuts on Friday, April 5 at 11 p.m. Et on HBO, will tackle education from a variety of angles. These will cover teacher pay, student mental health, the school-to-prison pipeline, among other things. In his pursuit of understanding and improving American education, Cenac will visit West Virginia, Oregon, California, Minnesota and other areas around the country.

Here is a trailer of what exactly that will look like. 

Video of Wyatt
See full article at Den of Geek »

Sundance 2019: The 13 Best Movies of This Year’s Festival

  • Indiewire
Sundance 2019: The 13 Best Movies of This Year’s Festival
As this year’s Sundance Film Festival comes to a close, a familiar question has come up: What happens now? In a record-breaking year for both diversity and deals at the festival, Sundance didn’t lack for plenty of exciting new works from veterans and newcomers alike, and across every section. Now comes the hard part, as many of these movies will trickle into the marketplace in the months to come, without the context of a film festival to celebrate them. One can only hope that future audiences remember where the buzz started.

Here are the highlights from this year’s lineup.

American Factory

The Office” meets “The World is Flat” in Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert’s probing look at the efforts of Chinese billionaire Cao Dewang to run a glass factory in an old Gm plant in Dayton, Ohio. The chairman may have good intentions, but there’s
See full article at Indiewire »

‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ Review: Joe Talbot’s Bittersweet, Unforgettable Debut — Sundance

‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ Review: Joe Talbot’s Bittersweet, Unforgettable Debut — Sundance
San Francisco has always been a city with a short memory. The fog rolls over the hills during the late afternoon, wiping the slate clean as it sweeps over the bay. The Earth shakes every so often, dislodging anything that got too comfortable where it was. The Japanese used to be the most visible immigrant population until the U.S. government decided to forcibly relocate them to internment camps that were scattered across the western seaboard. “Vertigo” is set there, because no American city is more attuned to the fear of rotational movement. So is Philip Kaufman’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” a horror movie about a health inspector who slowly discovers that he’s being surrounded by alien duplicates. Today, the city is home to a diverse cross-section of American people, many of whom are being forced to move elsewhere due to one of the worst housing crises in the country.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Beale Street’s Brian Tyree Henry Talks Being “Represented Fully”, Bringing Flavor To His Work And Savoring The Moment

  • Deadline
‘Beale Street’s Brian Tyree Henry Talks Being “Represented Fully”, Bringing Flavor To His Work And Savoring The Moment
For 12 minutes in Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, Brian Tyree Henry appears as a character by the name of Daniel Carty. His character is fresh out of jail and runs into his good friend Fonny (Stephan James) on the streets of New York. The two go back to Fonny’s apartment and share a moment that is not only an emotional touchstone in the film but an exchange of words that speaks volumes for the narrative and the current social landscape. It’s two black men being vulnerable as they have a poignant conversation about Daniel’s time in jail and the oppression and pain that comes with incarceration — specifically for black men. Henry’s sequence is essentially a short film within Jenkins’s breathtaking and socially relevant award season favorite, marking a watershed moment for the actor showcasing the impact he is capable of…
See full article at Deadline »

Watch Rivers Cuomo’s Quirky Video for New Solo Song ‘Two Broken Hearts’

Watch Rivers Cuomo’s Quirky Video for New Solo Song ‘Two Broken Hearts’
Rivers Cuomo has unveiled the quirky new video for “Two Broken Hearts,” the latest solo track from the Weezer frontman. The acoustic ditty tells the story of two people forming a relationship after exiting breakups; “You bring Häagen-Dazs, I got HBO / Laughing through our tears, that’s what friends are for,” Cuomo sings.

The Diy visual takes a literal approach to the song’s lyrics, using Bitmoji figures and candid video footage of Cuomo drinking water bottles and dancing to bring the lyrics to life.

“Standing on stage and being
See full article at Rolling Stone »

How Barry Jenkins Planted The Seed For Adapting ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Long Before ‘Moonlight’ Oscar Victory

  • Deadline
How Barry Jenkins Planted The Seed For Adapting ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Long Before ‘Moonlight’ Oscar Victory
“Love cannot be taken from your heart,” says Barry Jenkins. “Love is too important.”

It is a lesson the director of Medicine for Melancholy and Moonlight—both films about love’s survival in spite of challenging circumstances—has finally learned. “You’ve made me sound like a f*cking romantic,” he told me two years ago, when we discussed Moonlight. “And I’m a craftsman. I am a craftsman, I am a craftsman.” he declared.

“That’s out the window with this film,” he reluctantly admits now, of his new project If Beale Street Could Talk. “Oh man, is that out the window.”

It’s easy to understand why he might have fooled himself out of a romantic response to his own work. Melancholy dealt with a rare connection between two people in a city in which minorities are firmly in the minority. Moonlight dealt with a young boy tortured
See full article at Deadline »

Jonathan Sehring Leaves an Indie Film Legacy, and IFC Films’ Uncertain Future

Jonathan Sehring Leaves an Indie Film Legacy, and IFC Films’ Uncertain Future
After the release of “Boyhood,” IFC Films co-president Jonathan Sehring reached a turning point. He agreed to finance Richard Linklater’s ambitious 12-year filmmaking project in 2002, just two years after he began overseeing the independent film production label at AMC Networks. With “Boyhood” completed in 2014 and nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars the next year, Sehring began to consider a new chapter.

“I couldn’t figure out what to do that could surpass that,” Sehring said. “‘Boyhood’ was the pinnacle.” On November 28, it was announced that Sehring would depart IFC after 18 years — and a career that included more four decades at the parent company, where he also helped launch the Independent Film Channel in 1994.

Sehring’s legacy features many key moments for independent film in the 21st century. Under his guidance, the company pivoted from production to distribution; pioneered a day-and-date VOD release strategy that saved the business; and
See full article at Indiewire »

Beguiling Final Trailer for Barry Jenkins' 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

"These are our children... and we gotta set them free." Annapurna Pictures has released one final trailer for If Beale Street Could Talk, the latest exquisite film made by very talented filmmaker Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight and Medicine for Melancholy). Opening in theaters in December. Based on James Baldwin's 1974 novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is about a woman in Harlem desperately trying to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while she is carrying their first child. Kiki Layne stars as Tish, along with Stephan James as her fiancé "Fonny", and the exceptional full ensemble cast includes Teyonah Parris, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Dave Franco, Ed Skrein, Michael Beach, Finn Wittrock, Aunjanue Ellis, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal, and Emily Rios. Hands down one of the best films about love and romance this year, I highly recommend seeing this as soon as it's playing near you.
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

Listen: Barry Jenkins Details the Craft of ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ and Reflects on #EnvelopeGate

  • Variety
Listen: Barry Jenkins Details the Craft of ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ and Reflects on #EnvelopeGate
Playback is a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. New episodes air every Thursday.

After the soaring success of “Moonlight,” writer-director Barry Jenkins is back this year with the lush, penetrating James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.” It’s very much an extension of Jenkins’ work to date, and following Oscar glory, that’s not always a given. Who knows what direction that kind of acclaim might take an artist. But Jenkins hunkered down with his creative team and answered back with a beautiful piece of work that deepened his voice and served as a more-than-worthy follow-up to a film many consider to be one of the best of the 21st century. We catch up to him in New York, following the U.S. premiere of the film at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater.

Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below.
See full article at Variety »

Extended Featurette with Barry Jenkins for 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

"Baldwin's legacy is very important, very rich." Annapurna Pictures has released this extended, 5-minute making of featurette for If Beale Street Could Talk, the latest exquisite film made by the very talented Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight and Medicine for Melancholy). This video is called the "Baldwin" featurette and focuses on Jenkins discussing James Baldwin's 1974 book and turning it into this feature film. If Beale Street Could Talk is about a woman in Harlem desperately trying to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while she is carrying their first child. Kiki Layne stars as Tish, along with Stephan James as her fiancé "Fonny", and the full ensemble cast includes Teyonah Parris, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Brian Tyree Henry, Dave Franco, Ed Skrein, Michael Beach, Finn Wittrock, Aunjanue Ellis, Diego Luna, Pedro Pascal, and Emily Rios. This is hands down one of the best films of the year, a must watch.
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

Black Films and the Oscars: Despair Must Not Be the Only Route to Prestige

  • Indiewire
Black Films and the Oscars: Despair Must Not Be the Only Route to Prestige
In 2015, April Reign’s viral hashtag campaign #OscarsSoWhite indicted the Academy for its lack of recognition of contributions made by creatives of color. Since then, on-screen representation has become a cause célèbre, with inclusivity initiatives that aim to navigate culture toward more gender and racial equality. However, numbers don’t tell the full story: How much freedom do black creators have when the storytelling expectations remain mired in variations of the black struggle?

This year, there are more Best Picture Oscar contenders centered on black lives than ever, but themes largely center on the complications of race and/or racism in films like “Green Book,” “BlacKkKlansman,” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And while the concerns of “Black Panther” are more intraracial, it’s a conflict rooted in the notion of a united global black liberation in response to white supremacy. The exception that proves the rule is Steve McQueen
See full article at Indiewire »

Will Gotham Awards predict the Best Picture Oscar for the 4th time in 5 years?

  • Gold Derby
The Gotham Awards for independent film aren’t traditionally known as a strong Oscar bellwether, but that has changed somewhat in recent years. In the last four years all of their winners for Best Feature have been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and three of them won. Will this be the fourth time in five years that the awards line up?

These prizes are presented by the Independent Film Project, and winners are decided by juries of writers, directors, actors, producers, editors and others directly involved in making films. From 2014-2016 they anticipated three straight Oscar champs: “Birdman” (2014), “Spotlight” (2015) and “Moonlight” (2016). In 2017 the top Gotham Award went to “Call Me by Your Name,” which subsequently earned a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars and won Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Of the five nominees for Best Feature at this year’s Gotham Awards,
See full article at Gold Derby »

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Editors Grapple With Structure, Narrative Expectations & The Weight Of History

  • Deadline
‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Editors Grapple With Structure, Narrative Expectations & The Weight Of History
Spoiler Alert: This story alludes to crucial plot details from Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk.

On Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk—the Oscar winner’s follow-up to Moonlight—editors Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon came up against an age-old question. With a narrative based on existing material—spoiled by awareness or historical fact—what is the best approach? How can a story be brought to life with such emotional vitality that facts become an afterthought?

An adaptation of a classic James Baldwin novel, Beale Street tells the story of 19-year-old Tish, an African-American woman in ’70s Harlem, who is forced to grow up fast, with a child on the way and a fiancé in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

For Jenkins’ editors, contemplating the director’s longtime passion project, there were a number of factors with which to contend, shaping the story and its final moments.
See full article at Deadline »

Barry Jenkins Signs First-Look TV Deal at Amazon

  • Variety
Barry Jenkins Signs First-Look TV Deal at Amazon
Oscar winner Barry Jenkins and his Pastel production banner have set a first-look television deal at Amazon.

Jenkins is slated to direct the entire limited series “Underground Railroad” at Amazon, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel of the same name. Under the deal, he will exclusively develop television series for Amazon Studios.

“Barry is clearly a master of groundbreaking, authentically emotional storytelling and we are so proud to have him share that gift with us,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “We are incredibly fortunate to have also secured his directorial vision for the entire limited series The Underground Railroad.”

Jenkins became the first African-American filmmaker in Oscar history to be nominated for best director, best adapted screenplay, and best picture for “Moonlight.”

“We at Pastel are excited to continue our Amazon relationship begun on ‘Underground Railroad’ and look forward to growing that
See full article at Variety »

Barry Jenkins Inks First-Look Deal With Amazon Studios

  • Deadline
Barry Jenkins Inks First-Look Deal With Amazon Studios
Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) is expanding his relationship with Amazon Studios, signing a first-look deal via his Pastel banner to develop television series for premiere on Amazon Prime Video. Jenkins is slated to direct all eleven episodes of limited series The Underground Railroad, which received a script-to-series commitment from Amazon Studios in June. Pastel, founded by Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy and Mark Ceryak, as a home for artists to create provocative, boundary-pushing work in film, television and beyond, is executive producing The Underground Railroad with Brad Pitt’s Plan B.

“Barry is clearly a master of groundbreaking, authentically emotional storytelling and we are so proud to have him share that gift with us,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “We are incredibly fortunate to have also secured his directorial vision for the entire limited series The Underground Railroad.”

“We at Pastel are excited to continue our Amazon
See full article at Deadline »
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