Two Cents About Independent Film

Like storybooks and novels, film takes you into another world weaved by a writer’s fascinating imagination, not only heightening the visual sense, but the sound as well. Ultimately, it is almost a three dimensional experience.
Independent film is my favorite genre.
There's almost always serene picture, top notch acting, and compelling story.
This year, I've watched “Beginners,” “The Guard,” “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” “The Devil’s Double,” “Take Shelter,” and just recently “Martha Marcy May Marlene” at the Neon Movies, an independent art house theater located in downtown Dayton.
On Five Dollar Tuesday, I go view something of worthy interest.
“The Descendents,” “My Weekend With Marilyn,” and “Hedgehog” will be wrapping up the end of my year hopefully.
Not a major fan of the big budget hyped film, but the “Harry Potter” series and the “Lord of The Rings” trilogy were spectacular arts and the acting was pretty terrific, especially in the latter.
Books much better preferred in their cases though.
Now lately, I have been feeling bothered.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine had me questioning myself as a filmgoer.
Do I see myself as any of these characters I see at The Neon?
Sometimes yes.
That I certainly do.
Thinking that perhaps I am much too enamored into a vastly white culture, he asked, “do you watch any other kinds of movies?”
I never thought about it until I left the theater this previous Tuesday.

There wasn’t a single minority in the "Martha Marcy May Marlene," which I supposed added to the psychologically haunting factor of that strange cult that lead character finds herself in.
I must say that Elizabeth Olsen's acting along with Sarah Paulson's was raw, touching, and honestly bittersweet as two sisters coming to terms with the brainwashed evil one of them is desperately trying to bottle within.
I highly recommend it.
Though some parts are far more disturbing than others...

As for my friend, his favorite movies are "Jason’s Lyric" and "Love Jones." Never ever watched them, but I’ve heard of their praise, especially for “Jason’s Lyric." After reading the synopsis for both my interest has peaked considerably. They both are seen as "black independent" films and have these rather idyllic, poetic described stories that speak to me.
Maybe they'll open my eyes up a bit more.
I have seen nearly every Spike Lee joint and John Singleton’s "Poetic Justice," but my friend's films are made by these two relatively unknown filmmakers, Doug McHenry ("Two Can Play That Game", "The Brothers") and Theodore Witcher ("Love Jones," "Body Count").
The thing is not only do I enjoy The Neon Movies, it also happens to be the most convenient.
On the way home, I kept thinking, “gosh, why won’t someone write a serious, poignant picture about the pains and simple joys a black woman encounters?”
I’m not talking stereotypical, demeaning, harshly wannabe comedic Tyler Perry film here.
The strong, versatile, beautiful, scarred, imperfect characters I see in these independent films are the very characters I want to see and write someday.
Hopefully someone aspires to do the same.
No more mammies, slaves, hoes, b******, and strippers.
Heck, we’re beyond singers too.
Here's my suggestion.
How about making biopics about female artists and writers?
I loved "Frida" (Salma Hayek was wonderful!), "Basquiat," "Camille Claudel," and "The Children of the Century," the biopic on George Sand.
Faith Ringgold, Elizabeth Catlett, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Augusta Savage (Alfre Woodward?), Virginia Hamilton are some of my heroes and influences.
Hell even an Oprah Winfrey movie could inspire millions.
These women have very intriguing stories that I hope gets told onscreen.

Speaking of which, I have recently donated to the Alice Walker campaign because I greatly believe in this author/poet/activist’s journey and the history that she has brought forth.
This Pulitzer Prize winner's stories, prose, and poems radiate such a powerful truth that enriches the mind like no other.
She is of the most profound voices in African American culture- intellectual, beautiful, and gifted.
This special documentary is said to be a visual treat that needs to be shown to the world and perhaps The Neon.
We truly need this rare magic on the big screen.
Because every Tuesday, I feel like a certain spark is missing.
This may be it.
If you would like to aide in the filmmakers' quest, please donate here:
There are only 19 days left and counting!

With a compelling, solid story, someone needs to get real talented black woman onscreen who know how to act and how to move an audience.
I want them to be in on those Oscar nominations.
Need us to look at Hattie McDaniel, Whoopi Goldberg, and Halle Berry and believe that another win shall be in the future.
And that's my cents!
Other than idle wishing, looking forward to seeing “The Descendents” next Tuesday.
George Clooney is always something else!
Though I'm pretty sure, judging just by the preview, that no minority will have a meaty part.
But that's okay!
I'm still going to enjoy the acting, the story, the music, and the cinematography.
Also, just pointing out that I was one of many featured guest writers for the Animated Children's Films series at Bitch Flicks, one of my favorite blogs. If you haven’t yet read it, my review of The Princess and the Frog is up!
Here’s the link:
Check out the other awesome reviews too!
I've been reading them and feel as though I'm rediscovering it all.
Through an intelligent adult woman's eyes!


  1. "strong, versatile, beautiful, scarred, imperfect characters" - so beautifully said! (So many great movies, so little time - would love to see Descendants and Weekend with Marilyn too, and you have mentioned many others that sound interesting as well!)

  2. Thanks for your thoughts!
    I enjoy independent films so much! They just have this spirit that is lacking in big budget pictures. Am looking forward to exploring different genres and as I've previously stated, I hope to maybe produce my own someday. :)


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