Monday, January 23, 2012

Diddy Launching Music Cable Network

EXCLUSIVE: Sean "Diddy" Combs Planning To Launch Music-Themed Cable Network

Aims to launch urban-skewed music and music news network by the end of 2012

By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/23/2012 12:57:18 PM

Sean Combs, the entertainment impresario known as Diddy, is planning to launch a music-themed cable network, according to three sources with knowledge of his plans. The channel is called Revolt and is aiming to launch at the end of the year--12/12/12, to be specific.

Sources with knowledge of the Revolt playbook describe it as a music and music news channel with an urban skew. One described it as the old days of MTV, but for more of the African American audience. The venture is well funded, say the sources.

Former MTV programming chief Andy Schuon is involved with Revolt, according to sources. In 2006, Schuon headed up a music channel called International Music Feed (IMF), which was acquired by Ovation TV before being discontinued.

Comcast will provide distribution as part of its commitment to the FCC to help launch minority owned networks. In April, Comcast began soliciting proposals for "independent channels," according to its press materials. It plans to launch 10 over the next eight years, including eight Hispanic or African American owned channels, and began accepting proposals for the first three last spring.

Each of the 10 will be added to "select Comcast systems as part of the D1 digital tier," said Comcast; one source believed there would be around 10 million Comcast homes on board at Revolt's launch. Comcast announced its plans to launch an "American Latino"-operated channel by July 28, and an African American-owned one by January of 2013, which would fit Diddy's 12/12 timeframe.

A Comcast rep would not confirm Diddy's involvement, saying no announcements had been made on which among the "well over 100" proposals are getting the green light. The rep said discussions with the proposals' principals are ongoing, and that Comcast hoped to have an announcement soon.

A source said Time Warner Cable (TWC) will also be involved in Revolt distribution, which the source noted would mean around 18 million households, between Comcast and TWC.

A TWC spokesperson said the subscription TV operator has had "some discussions" regarding Revolt and Diddy, but did not have a comment at this time.

Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment headquarters in New York did not respond to calls.

Diddy has had a variety of monikers throughout his successful career as a performer, producer and entrepreneur.

It's a banner time for networks targeting African Americans. The multicast network Bounce TV launched in September, while Kin TV and Soul of the South are aiming to debut in the spring.

B&C reported Jan. 19 that Charles Barkley is a co-founder at Kin TV.

James Brown, of CBS Sports, was recently named managing director at fledgling cable net Black Heritage Network.

The Other Movie about The Tuskegee Airmen

In case you didn't know there was another movie about the famous airmen appropriately titled—The Tuskegee Airmen.

 The Tuskegee Airmen is a 1995 HBO television movie based on the exploits of an actual groundbreaking unit, the first African American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Corps, that fought in World War II. The film was directed by Robert Markowitz and stars Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Lithgow, and Malcolm Jamal Warner.-Wikipedia

The film is newly released on Blu-Ray (which I’m sure has nothing to do with Red Tails. I’m sure.) with a TON of extras. Read about the Blu-Ray at USA Today by clicking their logo below

Related Links
My review on Red Tails here

The Wikipedia page on the 1995 HBO movie The Tuskegee Airmen

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Friday, January 20, 2012

So What's On Your Mind, Spike Lee?

Photo by Wesley Mann

by Stacey Wilson
Hollywood Reporter
9:00 AM EST 1/17/2012
After a long hiatus and on the eve of "Red Hook Summer's" festival debut, the director talks about "The Help," "Inside Man's (nonstarter) sequel and the state of blacks in Hollywood.
It's hard to imagine that Spike Lee, one of his generation's earliest embodiments of do-or-die indie filmmaking, has never debuted a film at Sundance as a feature director. That will change when his new drama, Red Hook Summer, in which a young man from Atlanta spends a summer with his preacher grandfather in Brooklyn, bows Jan. 22 at the festival. THR sat down with the New Yorker on his recent trip to L.A. (wearing, of course, his Knicks regalia) to talk about Red Hook, a chat that also had Lee, 54, sounding off about what he sees as a dearth of influence among African-Americans in Hollywood, how working with Eddie Murphy for the first time is "going to be a motherf--er" and why you can't "bitch and moan" when making independent films.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: So this is your first trip to Sundance as a feature director but not your first time with a film in the festival?
Spike Lee: Yes. I came for the first time with the Broadway musical film Passing Strange in 2009. I had a really good conversation with Robert Redford that year. He was 100 percent cool.
THR: What was the genesis of Red Hook?
Lee: [Co-writer and novelist] James McBride and I are dear friends. We worked together on Miracle at St. Anna. And we had breakfast one morning at Viand, the best coffee shop in New York, at 61st and Madison, across from Barneys. We were talking about the state of cinema, the state of black cinema, how frustrated I was that I couldn't get the sequel to Inside Man made -- my biggest hit ever.
THR: Why couldn't you get the sequel made?
Lee: You'd have to speak to some other people about that. Anyway, I'd just bought this Sony camera, an F3, and I said, "We've got the means and ways and have to make do. We have to make it happen." We just started talking about stories we wanted to tell. He's from Brooklyn too -- Red Hook, in fact -- so we co-wrote the script.
THR: Is the film autobiographical for either of you?
Lee: A little. The church where we filmed is the one James' parents founded, the New Brown Memorial Baptist Church.
THR: Aside from Clarke Peters, who has appeared on The Wire and Treme, the cast is made up of mostly unknowns. How did you go about assembling the talent?
Lee: I got the best people I could find. I auditioned all over New York City. Also, there is a school in my old Fort Green neighborhood called Ronald Edmonds. I went there, same junior high, but the name has  been changed. And there is an acting teacher there, Edward Robinson, a great teacher -- they always have great kids. I started hanging out in the class. That's where I first saw Jules Brown, who plays Flick, and Toni Lysaith, who plays Chaz.
THR: In terms of the budget, you're revealing only that it was "SAG Low Budget Agreement" (which per 2011 standards  puts it between $625,000 and 937,500). What was the most difficult part of making the film?
Lee: I financed it myself, so we had to do it for a price.  I just went to the bank, made some draws and wrote some checks! It was very hard, but we made the movie we wanted to make.
THR: Is the film, as many are saying, a return to your roots after more commercial projects like Inside Man and St. Anna?
Lee: I am trying to stay away from this position of me "returning to my roots." As if my roots are that I'm only comfortable working on low-budget, small films. That's not the case at all. I think if people looked at my body of work, they'd see a great breadth of work. (Long pause.) But the fact remains that Hollywood does sequels and prequels. What was it, Mission: Impossible 5 just now?
THR: Four.
Lee: Right, four. So it was inconceivable to me that we couldn't get a sequel made to Inside Man. I don't blame Hollywood -- I was naive. Forgive me, I was naive. It was my biggest hit. And we couldn't get a sequel made? I was f--ing naive. It was like it didn't even happen.
THR: But who specifically made the decision not to move forward with a sequel?
Lee: Brian Grazer at Imagine? Donna Langley at Universal? You'd have to do some research. Look, I'm not crying over spilt milk or pointing fingers or playing the blame game. We are all grown-ups here. You asked me questions, and I can't speak for other people. [Editor's note: Calls placed to Grazer's office were referred to Universal, which did not immediately return a request for comment.]
THR: OK, on to another topic. There have been a few standout offerings from black filmmakers in the past year, Dee Rees' Pariah and Steve McQueen's Shame among them. Do you think opportunities for black directors have improved or worsened since you started making movies in the 1980s?
Lee: Shame is a great film; it's my favorite film of the year. And Dee was a student of mine at NYU graduate film school. I'm an executive producer of Pariah. Anyway, I think there have been some improvements and some steps taken back. But overall, the variety of films being offered to African-American audiences is not where it was 10, 15 years ago. It's very narrow.
THR: But doesn't Tyler Perry's huge commercial success suggest that at least a good portion of that audience is being served?
Lee: It's not the same. I just feel the audience doesn't have as many choices as it did back in the day.
THR: Do you think it's more that the content is not being written, or it's simply not being greenlighted, or both?
Lee: Look, take away the big stars -- Will Smith and Denzel -- and look at the people who have a greenlight vote. Where are the people of color? That's what it comes down to. How many people, when they have those meetings and vote on what movies get made, how many people of color are in those meetings? That's not to say that's the only way to get a film made, but you're talking about Hollywood specifically here. And if you want to get a Hollywood film made, it has to get greenlit. And I want someone to tell me: Who is a person of color who has a greenlight vote in this industry today? Some can argue, "Will Smith doesn't need the vote." Well, if Will wants to do the phone book, they still have to vote on it! He's not writing the check. Someone still has to write the check for what Will wants to do. I'm talking about the people sitting in the room who have read the script -- looking at the full package, who's in it, how much is it going to cost, how much is it going to make. The people who have that vote, there are no people of color who have that. And people are going to be in trouble. The U.S. Census has said white Americans are going to be a minority in this country by 2040. I just think it's good business sense to plan for that! The country is changing, and some people just don't want to understand that. I don't know how you can't take that into account. The smart people are going to take that number into account of how they do business.
THR: Hollywood has a tough time looking more than a few years out.
Lee: Yeah, it does. Look, I'm not using this interview to slam Hollywood. I'm just saying, I want to know: Who is a black person in Hollywood who has that vote? If you ask a studio, they aren't going to tell you.
THR: The only black executive I can think of offhand with definitive power in the film business is Vanessa Murchison at Fox Animation.
Lee: Let's leave animation out of it. (Laughs.) Let's stick to live action. Forgive me, I do know her, and she does have great power at Fox, though. But I'm talking about live-action features.
THR: George Lucas appeared Jan. 9 on The Daily Show to promote his Tuskegee Airmen action-drama Red Tails and said the studios he approached had no clue how to market a "black action movie." How do you feel about this?
Lee: Yeah, I was at the premiere. Here's the thing: One of the reasons the studios don't know how to market the film is that they have no black people in the marketing departments! At least any people with say-so. Again, this is bigger than just a marketing problem. What about the greenlight committee? That's the bigger issue. That's the heart of the matter. This is not a revelation; this is truth.
THR: Well, it was certainly novel that a white person in Hollywood, especially someone of Lucas' stature, would be so public on this particular topic.
Lee: Well, George Lucas got "f-- you" money. (Laughs.) They're not going to mess with him. In any case, I watch football, and the Red Tails commercials are hot. The commercials are definitely running on TV.
THR: Looking at the most successful movie of the year to feature black talent, The Help, why do you think the film was able to transcend racial boundaries and be both a commercial and critical hit?
Lee: OK, let me ask you a question: Why did Driving Miss Daisy win best picture in 1989? That's my answer.
THR: So you're saying they're both period films in which the black actors portray servants?
Lee: Stacey, Stacey, Stacey. That's my answer [above]. I don't need to elaborate.
THR: Besides Shame, are there other movies or TV shows you've seen recently that blew you away?
Lee: Yeah, I loved Attack the Block; it's a British indie film starring John Boyega, who is also the lead in this pilot I shot for HBO: The Brick, with Doug Ellin from Entourage.
THR: You're also slated to direct HBO's film about former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry with Eddie Murphy. How is it that you and Eddie have never worked together?
Lee: I know. Never! We've talked about it for many years. We were never able to come up with something we both could agree on. Hanging out together is going to be a motherf--er! (Laughs.)
THR: You've never shied away from politics in your films. How does the current landscape make you feel about being black in America?
Lee: Look, I support the president. In fact, my wife [attorney Tonya Lewis Lee] and I are having a fund-raising dinner [on Jan. 19] for Obama at our house on the Upper East Side. We got the call directly from the White House.
THR: Back to Red Hook Summer. How long was your shoot?
Lee: Nineteen days. Roughly three six-day weeks.
THR: That's fast. Was the schedule the toughest part of the production?
Lee: She's Gotta Have It was 12 days. (Laughs.) So, no.
THR: Do you prefer that guerrilla pace of filmmaking?
Lee: One of the great things about African-Americans is that we've always had this attitude: We make do with what we got. It comes from our ancestors being slaves. You can't bitch and moan about what you don't got. It's, "What can you do with what you got?" I've got a minimum amount of money; that dictates the shooting days. And James and I wrote the script. It takes place in Red Hook, and we shot everything within a 10-block radius. We gotta make do with what we got.
THR: Is it true that you reprise your role of Mookie from Do the Right Thing in Red Hook?
Lee: Yeah, but he's not the focus.
THR: So it's present-day Mookie as an older man?
Lee: Yes, much older. (Laughs.) 
THR: How has your storytelling style changed since you made Do the Right Thing?
Lee: Hopefully I'm better.
THR: What do you think is your signature as a filmmaker?
Lee: Well, I have a signature shot. I like people to look like they're floating. But as a filmmaker? I think it's easy to look at Do the Right ThingMalcolm XJungle Fever and say, "Spike only deals with themes of race." And I think that's just from someone who's lazy, who hasn't seen the films or gone to IMDb to look at the body of work! It takes 10 seconds.
THR: On the subject of the Web, how much, if at all, do you use social media to promote yourself?
Lee: I'm on Twitter. It's fun.
THR: What have you learned about your fans from being on the site?
Lee: They're waiting for the next movie. I have 150,000 followers. I started tweeting on my birthday last year, March 20.
THR: Do you find you get criticized as much as praised?
Lee: Oh yeah. "Spike! The Knicks f--ing suck! Yankees suck! New York sucks! You suck the big one, Spike!" But I just block those people.
THR: You're now working on an English-language version of the Korean thriller Oldboy, starring Josh Brolin and Clive Owen. Is there another project you're hoping to tackle someday?
Lee: I'd love to do a musical with Prince, Stevie Wonder or Kanye [West]. That wouldn't all be one movie! They're my dream collaborators.
THR: Is there anything else you'd like to add about Red Hook Summer before Sundance?
Lee: We're looking forward to sharing something with the world. And if God is willing and the creek don't rise, we'll have a distributor and a summer release. As the great Jets linebacker Bart Scott has been quoted as saying, "Can't wait."
Do the Right Thing (1989): His audacious day-in-the-life portrait of a melting-pot Brooklyn neighborhood affirmed Lee as his generation's Martin Scorsese, a fearless documentarian of NYC culture. The film earned Lee, also a co-star, an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay.
Malcolm X (1992): One of four collaborations with star Denzel Washington, Lee's searing portrayal of slain activist Malcolm X, based largely on Alex Haley's 1965 biography, earned its star an Oscar nomination for best actor and brought in more than $48 million at the domestic box office.
Inside Man (2006): Ron Howard originally was slated to direct this New York heist drama headlined by Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen. The film earned rave reviews and became Lee's biggest commercial hit with its domestic box-office haul of more than $88 million.
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006): Lee's somber HBO eulogy to victims of Hurricane Katrina melded moving testimonials from the Lower 9th Ward with his open disdain for the government's handling of the disaster. The series earned three Emmys.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Was it Like to Show 'Red Tails' at the White House

Director Anthony Hemingway recalls the diplomatically seasoned snacks and lack of cup holders at the film's once-in-a-lifetime viewing party.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

On Jan. 13, Red Tails director Anthony Hemingway joined his cast, producers George Lucas and Rick McCallum and 15 surviving members of World War II's Tuskegee Airmen for a screening of the film with President Obama at the White House. Hemingway gives THR's Andy Lewis a detailed description of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There was an extensive background check. Once that was through, I received an official e-mail invitation from the White House: The screening would start at 5 p.m., but we could arrive at the White House around 3:30 for a private tour. We even got to peek into the Oval Office.
After the tour, the president and first lady greeted us in the East Room. He took a moment to thank us for what we had done for the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. Then we all posed for photos with the president. I gave him a soundtrack and a signed boxed set ofTreme, which I produce and direct — he said it's his new favorite show. For his daughters, I brought Red Tail pendants that I had made as gifts for the cast and crew.
There was a whole table of refreshments, including cookies shaped like Red Tail fighter planes. They also had popcorn and drinks laid out for us to take into the theater, but none of those little M&M boxes with the White House seal. I was looking for something like that to take as a souvenir.
When they escort you into the theater, you definitely feel like you're in a very comfy, intimate space. But it doesn't have cup holders, which made me nervous because I was afraid of spilling my drink. It was just us, a few Secret Service agents, the Tuskegee Airmen and a few staffers. The Obama girls weren't there because they were at a sporting event. I didn't see the president take any popcorn, which I jokingly called "political popcorn" because it had just the right amount of salt and butter. It was some of the best popcorn I've ever tasted.
Before the movie started, the president gave a little talk. He knows the story of the Tuskegee Airmen really well and was excited to champion the message of the movie. I actually got choked up when he paid homage to the Airmen. There was electricity in the room as we listened to the president make these heartfelt remarks. Then he took time to thank all of us by name. He said, "We are basically here to host you, so if you need more popcorn, just ask; or if you need a drink, let us know, and we'll get it for you." He made it really comfortable and friendly.
The president and first lady have special seats up front. The president stayed for the whole movie. I could see the staff checking their BlackBerrys, but the president watched the film uninterrupted.
The theater isn't set up that well. The sound could be better. The projector needs to be upgraded. It needs a Hollywood pro to go in there and redesign it.
When the movie was over, Obama thanked us again and said he was excited to show it to the rest of his family. I actually ran to the bathroom because I drank too much during the movie, and by the time I got back, the president had left for another engagement.
Red Tails was released by Fox on Jan. 20.

Inside Jay-Z's Boys’ Night Out, His First Appearance Since Blue Ivy’s Birth

Jay-Z attends the grand re-opening of his 40/40 Club on January 18, 2012 in New York City.
Click the link below for the article

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Creator of 'The Boondocks' on Co-writing 'Red Tails'

Aaron McGruder, 'Boondocks' Creator, on Writing 'Red Tails' and Working With George Lucas After Making Fun of Him
Eric Larnick-Moviefone
Posted Jan 19th 2012 04:32PM 

George Lucas' "Red Tails," his action adventure about the Tuskegee Airmen, opens this weekend after twenty years in development. Featuring a cast and crew of black talent, one of the names on the project that has drawn the most eyebrows is co-writer Aaron McGruder, creator of the popular cartoon "The Boondocks." 

Throughout the print and television installments of "The Boondocks," McGruder courted acclaim and controversy equally. His biting satires and blunt opinions on everything from Ronald Reagan to corporate media to Tyler Perry, propelled him to forefront of liberal politics and African-American culture. One of his favorite targets was none other than George Lucas and the "Star Wars" franchise, a property he repeatedly took to task for becoming soullessly corporate and racially insensitive. In spite of his critiques, McGruder grew up as a die-hard fan of the film series, so he jumped at the chance to work on a project as important as "Red Tails." His complicated relationship with Lucas made their creative team-up a unique pairing, especially because Lucas personally courted him. 

Moviefone spoke with McGruder about the entire process of working with George Lucas, why the Tuskegee Airmen should be comic book heroes, and what he's learned from his years as a pop culture lightning rod. 

I had no idea you were involved in "Red Tails" until your name came up in the credits and it took me by surprise, honestly.
A lot of people didn't know. I came on to the project kind of late so it really wasn't public knowledge until the trailer and posters started coming out.

It's interesting that it was actually George Lucas who personally reached out to you.
Yeah, this was after principal photography; [director] Anthony [Hemingway] was already done with all his duties, and I was brought in during 2010 to initially to do some minor tweaking and punch-ups, but I started working with George and I had some ideas, he liked those ideas, so we ended up doing more. It was very cool.

How crazy was that experience of working one-on-one with George Lucas?
It was a big deal. I followed this project, pretty much for the twenty years that it existed. I first heard of the Tuskegee Airmen when I was ten years old, and I was probably a teenager, when I first read that George was doing it. You never think you're going to work on it, you just think, "Oh, this will be cool." You look forward to seeing it, and be happy that somebody is going to tell the story on that scale. Then they called and a week later I was there at the ranch. What I did a lot of was listen to George in terms of what he wanted out of the movie, and I think the more he talked about it, it was not exactly the movie he had. The movie he had was a very serious historical drama, and I had always envisioned it more like "Star Wars" -- particularly the old "Star Wars," the first one. I think that's what George wanted to. It was a question of "How do you get there while still respecting the weight of the subject matter?" 

You're a huge "Star Wars" fan, but you're also someone who parodied "Star Wars," calling Lucas out for the racial stereotyping of Jar Jar Binks. In the NY Times profile on George, they asked if Jar Jar ever came up and you said "no." But did you get any indication of his sense of humor regarding "Star Wars" parodies and criticisms?

No, I really didn't. It's obviously the elephant in the room, and I get why you're asking, but I went there with: "He's the boss, he's giving me this huge opportunity, and he's the studio." He's the actual studio. They didn't need me on this project; I was asked to show up and I genuinely wanted to do the best job I could for the movie. I really appreciated the opportunity. I was really happy that George and I clicked creatively, and I had that experience. He allowed more changes to be made than originally intended. I went there with the idea: "I am not going to deviate from the plan at all, not go into fanboy mode, I'm not going to go there." [Laughs] 

The movie is bigger than George because it is about the Tuskegee Airmen who were heroes to me most of my life. This is going to be their movie, and I wanted to do the best job I could. Being a "Star Wars" fan -- I mean come on. I got plenty of "Star Wars" fans to talk to about "Star Wars." 

Once I saw your name in the credits, I had a different ear to the movie, trying to hear your trademark voice.
[Laughs] I know that, yes I know; you can't find it. With most movies this scale, all of us only knew the part we did, until we saw the finished product. The opening scene is one that George and I came up with. I wanted to open with that segment. 

It's definitely a hero's intro.
Exactly. I wanted it to be like, "Holy shit, these are the stakes of the war ...

. Kids are dying." When we cut to the next scene and it's our guys flying the border of Italy, that's how we see there are real stakes here. This is the tragedy of racism and segregation. They could be saving lives and they're back flying around shooting at trucks. It was those kinds of things -- turning it into a pure action adventure movie as opposed to a historical drama. I think it worked!

In the Times profile, you're quoted as saying the black audience hasn't had "the John Wayne treatment." And this movie very much feels like a John Wayne throwback. The challenge to me is how you can get a modern audience -- especially a young audience -- to buy that sincerity without rolling their eyes and laughing at it. Is America too cynical to accept clear heroism like that at the movies?
It is a very serious tonal choice that George had made. I was the cheerleader to that. "Yes, go in that direction, do that." Nobody's more cynical than me. About everything.

But my first memory in life was three years old: my dad took me to see "Star Wars" and it's not just the first movie I remember, it's my first memory. If you ever watch "Boondocks," a lot of times it does become more of an action comedy than just a pure comedy. I've always had a passion for that, and it was a big deal to get the call. In terms of the tone, coming from the comic book world, that's what I wanted to see. That part of me weighed over the cynical satirist. When it came to these guys, you had the opportunity to tell a clean story with over-the-top heroes and a simple "Star Wars" good vs. bad thing. The more comic book-y the better.

The big challenge with George knowing so much about the history and having a very ...personal relationship with these pilots for so long, was I think he just got overwhelmed trying to do right by these guys. I came in with fresh eyes and ears, as someone who still loves the first movies and I wanted to do anything I could to get George back into that place of capturing that charm. I feel there's a charm to "Red Tails" that I haven't experienced in a long time at the movies. I'm hoping that kids go to this movie without that grown-up cynicism. If you're my age, just enjoy the ride and have the experience that we had when we first saw "Star Wars" and "Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." That would be 100% the goal. I feel like the history is easy to put out there, there's already a familiarity with it, or at least the broad strokes of racism and segregation. Some people are going to like this tonal choice and some people are going to say, "Oh it should've been heavier and it should've been more dramatic." But there's a version of this that doesn't have to be "Saving Private Ryan." We can be "Star Wars," as crazy as it is.

Talking about the broader idea of geek culture: I feel like it's predominantly driven by white older males. It's marketed to them first, and then it trickles down to every other demographic. The white older male is the stereotype of geek culture. Do you see that evolving?
I don't think the word is "stereotype." I think you're more referring to a center of gravity. Just look at the epicenter of what that world is, between George Lucas and Marvel and DC comics, that whole world is predominantly white men. But the truth is, now, particularly because of the last decade where it became very profitable in Hollywood, geek culture is so all-encompassing. It has become this pervasive thing through American pop culture as a whole. Everyone has ... their different versions on it.

You go to Comic-Con and see a cross section of everybody. It used to be niche, and now it's so enormous that it's hard to categorize. But ultimately, the epicenter of who's creating this stuff still ends up being the comic book companies, the Hollywood movies or whatever. All of that is very much white male-centered. That's what it is. I don't look at it as a bad thing. Most of Hollywood is like that. I don't trip on it.

What makes "Red Tails" so remarkable is that it's an all-black movie. That's unique in this world. "Boondocks" is the same thing. It's our attempt at anime, but it's very, very black. [Laughs] I think it's a world that cultivates people's imagination, allows people to be themselves even if it falls outside of what can be sometimes a very narrow definition of what is hip and cool. It's a world that accepts people more for who they are. Whoever you are, at this point, you can find your thing.

In an interview you did with HardKnocksTV in the summer of '08, you were asked about the upcoming election and why you pulled away from critiquing the Bush administration. You said, "We're no longer at a point where people don't know what the problem is." In the last year, looking at the Wisconsin labor protests, Occupy Wall Street, the changing cultural discussion about class warfare with corporate control, how would Huey Freeman respond to these changes?
Well the only way for you to know would be through "The Boondocks." I decided a long time ago to stop engaging in the conversation. If I had anything worthwhile to say, I should say it in the work. I stopped running around and arguing on Bill Maher. I lost an appetite for it. I feel like my personal passions are elsewhere. What happens to ...this crazy world is going to happen. 

But I think there's as much impact doing movies like "Red Tails" that are not controversial in any real sense, but can still have a real effect on the audience and affect people's perceptions of themselves. I try to imagine what it would be like if I was six going to see this movie, and I tried to keep that in mind as I was working on it. That's the really cool thing that "Boondocks" can't inspire. "The Boondocks" can be a rough education of satire, politics and social issues; it's hardcore and brutal. This is a sweet, charming movie. That also has it's place in society.

What would you like to see change in movies and television that are geared towards kids?
The process of getting anything made is very, very difficult. It never stops being the biggest obstacle. How do you get it made and how do you see your visions through to the end? And nobody can counter that. I don't know if I can stand back and say, "Oh I wish they made more black films" or, "I wish they would let me make more movies." As an artist, you have to believe in something enough to overcome these enormous obstacles and hope at the end of the day it's what you wanted it to be. But I don't know if there's a prescription I can write for Hollywood. Obviously integration and the massive amounts of corporate input makes studios very risk adverse. There's not a lot of people who want to take chances but it's a universal struggle. It's very, very tough now. But if it were easy, I guess everybody would do it.

Will "Boondocks" ever return to TV in some kind of format?
I'm just going to have to pass on that question. [Laughs]

Have you ever thought about ...

mounting -- directing and designing -- an animated feature? Making an American anime for American audiences?
All I can say, um [Laughs] All I can say is, I can't say anything.

Did I stumble on something?
What did you say: "interview's over"? Interview's over!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Common's New Film LUV

Common is one awesome-dangerous uncle in Sundance crime saga ‘LUV’ 
Anthony Breznican |
January 13, 2012

LUV 180

In the crime drama LUV, one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the Sundance Film Festival, Common (pictured above) stars as Uncle Vincent, an ex-con trying to go straight who takes his young nephew with him on a business trip that inadvertently leads him back down the deadly path he’s been trying to avoid.

Along the way, the kid (played by Michael Rainey Jr.) learns some basic survival skills — like how to drive a car (scary) and, in a scene not shown here, how to shoot a gun (“scary” doesn’t cover it).
Watch the exclusive clip after the jump, and check out a first look at the poster for LUV.
Every kid wants an uncle like the one Common plays, someone who will treat them like adults — even if they’re not. On the flip side,no parents want their kids to have an uncle like this. If he thought hard about it, Uncle Vincent, whose fearsome qualities are tinged with a kind of mournfulness about the person he has become, is more than likely on the parent’s side.

For better or worse, the only thing he knows for sure — the only thing he can share — is how to survive. There’s actually a lot of tenderness in the clip above. The darkness comes later.

“It begins with love, love coming from someone whose been through a lot of pain and struggle,” Common tells EW. “He doesn’t automatically see putting somebody in a situation like that to be as detrimental as it could be.”
Common also recently released his ninth studio album The Dreamer/The Believer, which EW music critic Kyle Anderson rates an A-. (It IS a really good album -Cool Black)


Sheldon Candis' Sundance 2012 Entry "LUV" (Starring Common) To be Acquired By Indomina
TAMBAY | Shadow & Act 

FEBRUARY 8, 2012 10:00 PM

Indomina Entertainment is reportedly close to a deal to acquire Sheldon Candis' Sundance Film Festival 2012 drama LUV (starring Common) - the one film that was on my short list of films to see at the festival that I wasn't able to (hence no review of it from me).

The ink hasn't dried yet, but Deadline says the deal will likely be in the "low seven-figures," and includes "a TV component."

Indomina is the same company that also acquired Ice-T's directorial debut, the rapumentary, Something For Nothing: The Art Of Rap.

As a quick recap, the official synopsis for LUV reads:

An orphaned 11-year-old boy is forced to face the unpleasant truth about his beloved uncle during one harrowing day in the streets of Baltimore. 

Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, and Charles S. Dutton also co-star.

Congrats to Candis, producer Datari Turner and the rest of the LUV crew, assuming the deal is eventually signed, sealed and delivered!

Read my review of LUV EXCLUSIVELY at the 'Nother Brother Entertainment Facebook page here 

Read extensive details on how this independent film was put together via our parent blog 'Nother Brother Entertainment here

Check out the article for exclusive video here

Shadow & Act has the short film that the feature film was based on here