New Voices in Black Cinema

NAME OF FESTIVAL: New Voices in Black Cinema

SINCE: 2005

WHERE: Brooklyn, New York, USA


New Voices in Black Cinema showcases narratives, documentaries, and shorts that examine the black experience in America and around the world. From international voices to films made in Brooklyn to new black classics, New Voices in Black Cinema brings together urgent stories that need to be told.

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REVIEW: Big Words

REVIEW: Big Words


BIG WORDS – 2012, Neil Drumming, USA, 97 min.

A tree grew in the Bronx, which branched out and transcended lines of color, lines of geographic limitation, and language barrier.

It’s branches as a collective spawn a culture;  root word, cult. The assembly of a devoted faithful. Its passionists, its offspring, its advocates, its lovers. The symbolism in Big Words is glaring. Satiable for the abstract thinkers, the descendants of poor righteous teachers, of B-Boys and Girls, Backpackers alike. The essence of hip hop and its impact on the lives of so many including Mr Big Words himself, James, is evident scripturally; figuratively, from something came something. Life, Art, Progress, Finance; unified by the culture stands so many, yet divided on principles. An ode to the hip hop of old. Refute it if you will, embrace if it you must. Hip Hop- the only thing that matters.

REVIEW: Sorting Out Heads: Barbering as a Profession of Identity in The Fade

REVIEW: Sorting Out Heads: Barbering as a Profession of Identity in The Fade

The Fade chronicles the lives of four Afro-American barbers in acutely different situations from Ghana to Jamaica, with London and New Jersey in-between. This documentary from Andy-Mundy Castle reveals an everyday profession as a conversation between identity, community, and commerce, all occurring in the barber’s chair, before a mirror reflecting the individuals involved. While one barber “sorts out the heads” of neighboring villagers in Ghana, supporting himself through skillful diligence, another travels wherever his services are needed in Jamaica, a third works in a local shop in London, gathering stories, gossip and street talk for his visual artwork, and the final, nicknamed ‘Hollywood,’ handles high profile clients such as Jay Sean. The clients of each barber have an individual sense of trust towards the men cutting their hair, a routine they consider even more personal than the way the hair grows.

“The fade” refers to a specific men’s haircut where the hair thins almost imperceptibly as the hairline reaches the neck. Castle’s documentary takes a commonplace profession and similarly blends it into a community of relationships, which reveal the social values of a race. Here, race means more than the constants between different Afro-American societies. Castle concentrates on the individualizations of different communities among Afro-Americans – from Ghana to Jamaica, with London and New Jersey in between. The barber from London expresses the sentiment that when he travels abroad for work, he feels dislocated. Is he English or African-American? Is this his home or someone else’s? Barbering relocates him, and Castle’s documentary uses a particular profession to relocate a race, reflecting many shades of culture in four barbers’ mirrors. 

Third New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival Returns to Brooklyn Presidents Day Weekend

Third New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival Returns to Brooklyn Presidents Day Weekend

The third annual New Voices in Black Cinema festival runs from Friday, February 15 – Monday, February 18, 2013.  The New Voices in Black Cinema festival reflects the wide spectrum of views and themes within the Black community from Brooklyn to Italy and beyond.  The four day film festival showcases 27 of the best in independent feature films, short films and documentaries from up and coming directors, producers, and talent throughout the Diaspora. All films will be shown at BAM (in the Peter Jay Sharp Building) located at 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217, which has been the festival’s home since its inception. 

The opening night film Big Words (2012, 97 min. – Friday, February 16) directed by journalist-turned-director Neil Drumming makes its New York premiere fresh off of its run at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival.  This fresh comedic drama starring Dorian Missick (“Southland”, Two Weeks Notice), Gbenga Akinnagbe (“The Wire”) and Yaya Alafia (The Kids Are All Right) takes place in Brooklyn on the eve of President Barack Obama’s history-making 2008 election as three self-absorbed friends, once members of a promising hip-hop trio, cross paths once again and discover that despite dreams deferred and the extreme changes in their lives that some things never change.