Local artists/filmmakers present free series featuring ‘The New Black Cinema’

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Still image from ‘An Oversimplification of Her Beauty’ courtesy Variance Films

It’ll be a rainy Memorial Day Weekend in South Florida. What better excuse to head to the movies? Even better? They’re free — not to mention intelligently curated — movies. “The New Black Cinema Showcase” will offer a chance to see rarely screened films by black filmmakers whose concerns go beyond definitions of racially-based history.

“There is a groundswell of black quotidian art unlike we’ve ever seen before,” says Keisha Rae Witherspoon, a Miami-based filmmaker and co-founder of the Third Horizon Film Festival who helped curate the event. “Whereas in the past we’ve been limited to extreme storytelling, that of slavery, oppression, stereotypes and magical negro concepts, we are now seeing love stories, nerdy episodic content, science fiction and art films, to name a few.”

This Friday, the Coral Gables Art Cinema will kick off the series of free screenings with An Oversimplification of Her Beauty by Terence Nance, a talented New York-based filmmaker we interviewed several years ago (Multi-hyphante filmmaker Terence Nance on An Oversimplification of Her Beauty). Jason Jeffers, Witherspoon’s collaborator in this series as well as Third Horizon, will introduce the film essay about a young black man exploring his feelings for an ultimately unknowable woman.

Still image from “Hair Wolf” courtesy Valerie Steinberg Productions

The series continues and concludes at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, with a presentation of short films directed by emerging female black voices in film and art. The films range from narratives, documentary and experimental works. The night will feature a post-screening discussion with visiting filmmakers Naima Ramos-Chapman, Faren Humes. and Ruqayyah Albaari. Witherspoon will lead the Q&A.

Though she is leading the female side of the films, Witherspoon says just as much emotional intelligence can be found in Nance’s film. Speaking of his film and the “New Black Cinema” in gerneral, she says, “Delicate and soft portrayals aren’t common, particularly for male identifying people. And I’d be remiss to not include fury and resentment as emotions we’re now exploring in film as well.”

Torrance Gettrell of Ad Hoc Cinema and Ronald Baez, an independent filmmaker, also helped curate the screenings.

By the way, the Third Horizon Film Festival returns to Miami for its third year Sept. 27 – 30, and they are taking submissions. The deadline is June 15. More information can be found at filmfreeway.com/ThirdHorizonFilmFestival.

Hans Morgenstern

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty screens at 9 p.m., at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, tonight, Friday. An Evening with Female Filmmakers happens Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at the Sandrell Rivers Theater. Once again, the screenings are free.

(Copyright 2018 by Independent Ethos. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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