Documentary Filmmakers Open House in Pittsburgh PA! June 25th to 26th 2017

Finally some cool news! I have been working as the new Documentary Film Strategist at the Center for Documentary Production & Study at Robert Morris University and my good friend Hebert Peck is coming to participate in a conference for documentary filmmakers. We are showing I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO on Sunday June 25th at 8pm at the Tull Family Theater. Tickets for the entire conference and the screening are $25. More details to follow!

 

DocCenterRMU June 2017 11x17 Poster

Next WAVE CINEMA Event: Wednesday February 18th at Impact Hub Philly~ Excerpts from BLACK BALLERINA

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Director Frances McElroy & Editor Meg Sarachan

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Raven Wilkinson & Virginia Johnson

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Ashley Murphy at Dance Theatre of Harlem

 

Fresh from a packed screening at Dance on Camera, Film at Lincoln Center, we are pleased to present a 20 minute excerpt from the documentary-in-progress Black Ballerina. The screening will be at Impact Hub Philly, 1227 N. 4th Street, between Girard Avenue & Thompson Street in Northern Liberties. The event starts a 6pm and is FREE. We will also include new work from Carmella Vassor-Johnson, former chief videographer at Jacob’s Pillow.

The documentary Black Ballerina uses the overwhelmingly white world of ballet to stimulate a fresh dialogue about race, diversity and inclusion. It’s told by six black women of different generations, united in their passion for ballet. Six decades ago, three women confronted racial barriers in pursuit of ballet careers. Today, three young black women also pursue ballet careers. Has anything changed? 

FRANCES McELROY, producer/director, is a 2009 Pew Fellow in the Arts. She is founder of Shirley Road Productions, a 501(c)(3) organization. For 25 years, she has produced documentaries for PBS and videos for non-profit cultural, educational, community and advocacy organizations. Her focus is to give voice to the overlooked, raise questions about injustice and demonstrate the transformative power of art and place.  Her awards include the Emmy, Gabriel, CINE Golden Eagle, Latin American Studies Association Award of Merit in Film, IMAGEN, Society of Professional Journalists and the New York Festivals. 

impact-hub-logoWAVE is a program of HipCinema & Impact Hub Philly. It is co-sponsored by: Philadelphia Women in Film & Television and Griot Works.

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WAVE CINEMA is a meeting place for film and media enthusiasts to experience work rarely seen in local venues by filmmakers and media artists from the PA-DE-NJ region and beyond. Each screening will feature audience Q&A with the makers. Works selected will have major creative input by women. We will meet every 3rd Wednesday of each month. Mark your calendar 6pm to 8:00pm every third Wedneday until April 2015. Events are FREE and open to the public. Impact Hub Philadelphia is at 1227 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122.
IMG_20141031_145510Directions to Impact Hub Philadelphia are here. It is north on 1227 4th Street between Girard Avenue and Thompson Street. The 57 Bus, 15 Trolley and Market Frankfurt El Line are within walking distance.

 

 

Map to Impact Hub Philly

BLACK BALLERINA Work-In-Progress Screening ~ Dance on Camera Festival @ Lincoln Center NYC February 3rd!

Black Ballerina directed by Fran McElroy will screen at 4:30pm Tuesday February 3rd, 2015 at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street

Black Ballerina (free event, limited seated, first come/first serve)
A 55 minute cut of Black Ballerina will screen at the prestigious Dance on Camera Festival in New York City. This documentary-in-progress uses the overwhelmingly white world of classical ballet to take a fresh look at race, diversity, and inclusion. Narrated by black women of different generations but united in their passion for ballet, the film asks if anything has changed and why diversity in dance matters.

The screening will be followed by a panel featuring producer/director Frances McElroy, Dance Theater of Harlem artistic director Virginia Johnson, and former Ballets Russes ballerina Raven Wilkinson. For more information on the film please go to http://blackballerinadocumentary.org/.

Synopsis: Six decades ago, while pursuing their dreams of careers in classical dance, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity. In 2014, three young black women also pursue careers as ballerinas. Do they find that the color of ballet has changed? If so, how? If not, why?

Catch the WAVE Wednesday Jan. 21st 6pm @ Impact Hub Philly: See TANGO MACBETH

Our next WAVE screening is TANGO MACBETH Wednesday January 21st 6pm. Admission is FREE and we supply the popcorn. Impact Hub Philadelphia is at 1227 N. 4th Street in Northern Liberties, between Girard Avenue and Thompson Street. The director Nadine Patterson and editor Sharon Mullally will be present for a Q&A after the film. This is the first and probably only time they will speak in public about the process of editing this unusual film.

Films about rehearsals rarely have the intensity of TANGO MACBETH. The blood, sweat and tears of the creation process are on full display. The work is an intricate puzzle: a play, within a documentary, within a narrative framework. During the two hottest weeks of the year, the cast and crew endure 100 degree heat while rehearsing and shooting Macbeth in the 100 year old Plays and Players Theater. An upscale reality television format mixed with surreal black and white interpretations of dramatic action, cause the viewer to rethink their notions of ‘play’, ‘documentary’, ‘casting’ and the filmmaking process. This film is great for lovers of Shakespeare and for people unfamiliar with his work. The multi-ethnic cast and crew create an earthy visceral interpretation of the text, which opens up the work for all audiences.

questions for the director Nadine Patterson

Q: Did the rehearsal really happen like that, or was it scripted?

A: Initially in the early drafts of the script, the moments in between scenes of dramatic action in Macbeth were written. But when we shot those scenes they felt very fake and untrue. So I called the cast and crew together and explained how things would proceed. I told them to think of it like jazz. The tune is Macbeth and everyone gets their chance to riff on it. Three cameras were going at all times to capture the action on stage and in the dressing rooms. All of the witty repartee is unscripted, and all of the angst is real.

3ShotArcadia_1920 copy***Q: Why did you choose to film the actors during rehearsal and make that a part of the film?

A: Economics! We could not afford to mount the entire film in the lavish style of the scenes at Arcadia, so we used those scenes as the actors’ imagining how the scene would unfold. We cut between the gritty rehearsal and the idealized way of how the actors imagine the scenes happening.

Q: I don’t do Shakespeare. Why should I see the film?

A: Shakespeare is for everyone! He is one of the greatest dramatist in the English language. Reading and experiencing Shakespeare enables us to learn about being human.

Q: How can I get past the language?

A: The actors are so good, it won’t matter. As long as you get the emotional intent of each scene, you will be fine.

Q: Did you know you would be in the film at such a key moment?

A: No. As the director I knew I would be caught on camera, but I did not think my role would be so dramatic.

Q: How can I see the film?

A: Come to the screening at Impact Hub Philly on Wednesday January 21st at 6pm. If you can’t make it you can buy the film  online for $7.99 at http://tangomacbeth.vhx.tv/. Thank you for your time.

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WAVE is a program of HipCinema & Impact Hub Philly. It is co-sponsored by: Philadelphia Women in Film & Television and Griot Works.

WAVE Cinema is a meeting place for film and media enthusiasts to experience work rarely seen in local venues by filmmakers and media artists from the PA-DE-NJ region and beyond. Each screening will feature audience Q&A with the makers. Works selected will have major creative input by women. We will meet every 3rd Wednesday of each month. Mark your calendar 6pm to 8:00pm every third Wedneday until April 2015. Events are FREE and open to the public.  Impact Hub Philadelphia is at 1227 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122.
IMG_20141031_145510Directions to Impact Hub Philadelphia are here. It is north on 1227 4th Street between Girard Avenue and Thompson Street. The 57 Bus, 15 Trolley and Market Frankfurt El Line are within walking distance.

 

 

Map to Impact Hub Philly

“Book of Negroes” Star Aunjanue Ellis on the 6-Part Series and Acting

We may be at a watershed moment in the history of representation of black women in television. On January 7th, 2015 to new series debuted, one in the US on FOX TV called EMPIRE starring Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon; and the other in Canada THE BOOK OF NEGROES on CBC starring Aunjanue Ellis as Aminata Diallo. Each character is a resilient Black woman who is secure in her identify as a Black woman– fierce, intelligent, and caring. Watch the interview to learn more about THE BOOK OF NEGROES and the talented and insightful Aunjanue Ellis.

WAVE Re-cap with Alison Bagnall ~ Next WAVE Screening Wednesday January 21st 2015: TANGO MACBETH!

A good time was had by all at the Impact Hub Philly screening of Alison Bagnall’s THE DISH & THE SPOON. Local filmmakers Mike Dennis, Marlene Patterson and Suzanne Landau were in attendance. The after screening discussion lasted over an hour. AFI classmate Mike Dennis asked Alison what she learned the most from her American Film Institute training. She said how to work with actors. To paraphrase Alison: “People think actors are just being difficult prima-donas, they are not. My job is to protect them while they exist in this bubble of the film. They embody the film [in a way that other members of the crew do not]. Actors need their space [to create credible, complex characters].”

IMG_20141217_195025 IMG_20141217_195046Our next WAVE screening is TANGO MACBETH Wednesday January 21st 6pm. Admission is FREE and we supply the popcorn. Impact Hub Philadelphia is at 1227 N. 4th Street in Northern Liberties, between Girard Avenue and Thompson Street.

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WAVE is a program of HipCinema & Impact Hub Philly. It is co-sponsored by: Philadelphia Women in Film & Television and Griot Works.

From Left Suzanne Landau, director Alison Bagnall, and Mike Dennis

From Top: Mike Dennis, Destin, and Marlene Patterson;  Suzanne Landau, director Alison Bagnall; Suzanne Landau, Alison Bagnall and Mike Dennis. Photos by Nadine Patterson.