The Harlem International Film Festival countdown has come to a close. The festival took place September 14th – 18th at Mist Harlem showcasing 99 films in four days! The films and shorts presented this year were so diverse and inspiring. Reel Reality had the privilege of working at the festival taking pictures and recording a few interviews with great directors. Check out some pictures from HIFF below:
For over two decades Waiting to Exhale fans have wondered if they would ever see a sequel to the 1995 hit movie! Well you can finally exhale because actress Loretta Devine spills a little tea about the Waiting to Exhale sequel.
Now if you are too young to remember this iconic movie, Waiting To Exhale, told the story of a group of friends and their struggles to balance their love life, family, and career. Savannah (Whitney Houston) and Robin (Lela Rochon) find themselves in relationships with married men believing these men will make them a priority by leaving their wives. While Bernadine (Angela Bassett) deals with a messy divorce after her husband leaves her for his younger mistress. Luckily, someone finds a bit of romance, Gloria (Loretta Devine) finds love with handyman and neighbor Marvin (Gregory Hines).
This movie sounds a bit dramatic and heartbreaking, which it is, but in the end love and friendship continue to prevail and help these women transition into a better season in their lives.
What should the fans expect from the sequel? Starlet Devine speaks about the Waiting to Exhale sequel in an interview with Hollywood Today Live stating, “They’re still writing on it for all we know…Everything happened so quick because Gregory passed and then Whitney passed and it’s like you can’t start a movie with two funerals and they were like the key characters and so everything just sort of got scattered after that but I think Terry McMillan is still trying to make it happen.”
Director Forrest Whitaker and writer Terry McMillian can go so many ways with this storyline and I know Reel Reality is excited to see what happens to Robin, Bernadine and Gloria’s characters, and what escapades they will get into in the sequel.
Watch the full interview to hear Devine discuss more about Waiting To Exhale and her new role on The Carmichael Show and how she had to audition for the role.
Counting all the men you know that played football, either recreationally or professionally at some point in their life, it would not be a fun task. Well after watching “Concussion” I did exactly that, sat down, and started to think about those men and young boys. The fact that playing football as a child may cause mental health issues later in life is a chilling thought. Even though it is not too surprising considering the physicality of football. The results of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s research are very disturbing and the exact reason the National Football League had a frenzy when they heard about his findings over ten years ago.
Concussion starring Will Smith dissects how professional football players are affected mentally, physically, and emotionally by hard hits and an excessive amount of games. The movie beautifully shows the tragic stories of Pittsburg Steelers hall of famer Mike Webster, Andre Waters, Dave Duerson and others, and how pathologist Bennet Omalu discovered that these athletes had the crippling disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
I had the privilege of attending a prescreening of the movie (thank you Blogxilla and Global Grind) and for me the experience of seeing how these athletes’ entire lives was centered around football to only have the center of their world be the cause of their demise was heart breaking. The movie so gracefully shows the dirty truths of CTE and how the disease not only kills these athletes mentally, spiritually and emotionally, but also affects their families and friends. Concussion had clever and strategically placed humor, which made the movie feel less somber. Ultimately, it was the drive for survival through Omalu and the players that made the biggest impact for me. Not only was Omalu fighting for his career he was fighting for the players and the voice they lost from CTE. It is interesting to see how football caused all these men including the coaches, players and Omalu to fight for something bigger than themselves. Unfortunately, that same drive caused some athletes their lives, but their need to succeed and support their families was powerful. Concussion is definitely one of the most groundbreaking and impactful sports movies to date. I strongly encourage you to see the movie Concussion hits theaters on Christmas Day!
The thought provoking and controversial director, Spike Lee, has done it again with his newest movie Da Sweet Blood of Jesus! This thriller centers around Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams) who becomes cursed by an ancient African artifact that he finds through an art curator Lafayette Hightower (Elvis Nolasco). This cursed artifact makes Hess obsessed with blood. No, Hess does not become a vampire, and he does not have super powers or have eternal life! In fact, the movie becomes a twisted love story once Lafayette’s wife, Ganja Hightower (Zaraah Abrahams), comes looking for him but becomes involved in a dangerous romance with Hess.
Last week I had the privilege of attending Spike Lee’s event, In Conversation: Brooklyn Renaissance at the Brooklyn Museum. This was my first time hearing Spike Lee speak in person and I really enjoyed the conversation that was had with painter Kehinde Wiley and graphic illustrator Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
The conversation touched on a lot of different topics about art, film, women’s rights, racial discrimination, and travel but what I loved most about the conversation was when Spike Lee was asked what made him want to have this event and Lee’s answer was “I like working with artists.” So simple but so profound, that it takes a village of great minds and creativity to create profound work.
Wiley and Fazlalizadeh’s work is presented throughout Lee’s movie Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. To see more of Kehinde Wiley work you can catch shows like Empire every Wednesday night at 9pm on FOX or visit the Brooklyn Museum to see his exhibit “A New Republic.” For more of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh work you can walk the streets of New York City and see several of her posters from her street art project called “Stop Telling Women To Smile.” Check out both of these artists work they are both making such a profound change in America’s perceptions of women and race.
Make sure you check out Spike Lee’s newest movie Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus in theaters now!
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