As a host for the 2012 Couch Fest Film Festival, I met several strangers who shared their thoughts on indie films while also learning valuable lessons about the rewards and challenges that come with trying to support the arts.
Now that the 2012 Urbanworld Film Festival treated audiences to the World Premiere of BET's Original Film "Being Mary Jane," it's clear that stories about single black women can revolve around more than dating pitfalls and recreational sex.
The 12th Annual deadCenter Film Festival boasts a list of short film programs that each explore little slices of life that audiences rarely discuss. Amir Motlah's '35 Year Old Man' is one of the ridiculously awesome shorts that stand out among them all.
The challenges that the actress faces in “My Tehran for Sale” speaks to a long line of films portraying women whose loved ones create a stifling environment where these ladies have trouble reaching their full potential.
Movie plots featuring maids scored a combined nine Oscar nominations and two wins at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. What makes their impressive achievement more refreshing, however, is the diverse forms of servitude represented among these films.
Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s 'Saving Face' took the entertainment industry by storm after winning an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film.The back stories of fellow Oscar contenders also brought attention to an often overlooked category.
Actress Tatum O’Neal set the bar of greatness pretty high for young performers in Hollywood when she won an Oscar for her role in the 1973 comedy 'Paper Moon.' Keira Knightley and other young actresses later proved that they can compete with the best.
As the 84th Academy Awards honor the very best in cinema, Dakota Fanning continues to be snubbed while her fellow youngest members of the Academy are at least given one chance at competing for Oscar gold.
Critics who slammed Katherine Heigl's comedy 'One For the Money' may have been affirmed in their position after the film opened in third place at the box office. As Heigl probably realizes, the television to film transition may not be a good move to make.
The stellar year actor Ryan Gosling wrapped up in 2011, complete with leading roles in films across genres, seems to have gone unnoticed during the 2012 Oscar nominations. History seems to repeat itself as the Academy snubs this fine actor, yet again.
In 'The Sitter,' Jonah Hill plays a college student named Noah who is suspended from school and then coaxed into babysitting his neighbor’s kids. Noah could benefit from following in the footsteps of last-minute babysitters in other comedies.
In ‘Coriolanus,’ Gerard Butler plays an ancient army leader named Tullus Aufidius who helps an exiled Roman hero fight for revenge on the city. Film fans never know what Butler is going to do next, anticipating his next move across many genres.
If 'All Things Fall Apart' is any indication of what's to come of his acting roles, Curtis Jackson appears to be continuing a trend of rappers-turned-actors whose dramatic performances make audiences view them in a new light.
As Alrick Brown’s 'Kinyarwanda' gears up for a much-anticipated theatrical release just in time for the fall 2011 holiday season, audiences can rejoice in experiencing a year full of well-balanced African-American dramas.
The struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy amid a chaotic home environment in 'Yelling to the Sky' is an example of how drama films portray the complexities of dysfunctional father-daughter relationships by exploring the results of neglect and abuse.
Films such as 'Like Water for Chocolate' and 'Soul Food' may be Hollywood’s way of showing audiences the joys of cooking. However, other movies reveal a side of the kitchen that is not so fun when it comes to serving or eating a good meal.
Moviegoers have many reasons to give thanks for life lessons learned from popular films about food on any holiday. Some titles offer a new meaning to the dynamics of sharing a meal at the dinner table or enjoying sweets without shame.
Family seems to be the go-to motivator in Hollywood when dealing with various aspects of psychology on film. These films tend to involve situations where the characters’ own sanity is challenged, especially when those in their inner circle are in danger.
'The Muppets' star Kermit the Frog was very cozy with actress Sofia Vergara from the action film “Four Brothers” while attending the 2011 Latin Grammys. It is business as usual, as the Muppets tend to receive a lot of support from film industry veterans.
In addition to their own films, the Muppets and their signature tunes have been depicted in movies where audiences may least expect them to make an appearance. Based on the variety of their work and popularity, it is clear they are here to stay.
Movie posters for 'The Muppets' are taking no prisoners in spoofing popular Hollywood films.These little puppet characters are no stranger to a good parody, regardless of whether they are targeting movies or being spoofed themselves.
Known for writing short fiction, the late and noble author Andre Dubus also left an imprint on dramatic motion picture works. Academy Award-winning director Todd Field introduced movie-going audiences to Dubus’s work in his 1993 short film 'Delivering.'
There seems to be a theme of limited access in Philadelphia this week, at least where avante-garde films are concerned. Venues in the city are showing movies that are not yet released, giving audiences a first-look advantage over their fellow film fans.
Edward Cullen’s love for Bella Swan in 'The Twilight Saga' has continued to trump his natural instincts to drink her blood. The willingness to disregard one’s biological cravings is a rather peculiar characteristic that he shares with other movie vampires.
Fans of 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1' should be no stranger to the heartbreaking love triangle that has ensued between Edward, Bella, and Jacob throughout the series. Jacob lost more in this deal since Bella married a vampire.
Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar’ biopic created a heavier and older side of Leonardo DiCaprio than audiences are used to seeing from this actor. As many other films have proved, physical transformations of actors can be rather extreme for viewers.
With a baby on the way in 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1,' Bella and Edward seem to be adjusting to their new life as a married couple very well. Bella is another married woman in film whose relationship managed to survive a love affair.
The documentary 'Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life,' directed by Werner Herzog, gives audiences a glimpse of the repercussions of murder. Herzog is just one of many directors who compel viewers to question the practices of their legal system.
As 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn' unfolds, moviegoers are reminded of the extremes that one goes to for love. Bella's threesome of varied species may have been easier for characters in other films to handle than their own relationships.
The film festival circuit is no stranger to salacious debates surrounding movie premieres that offend and anger audiences. Negative gossip at these events tends to label films in ways that may cause audiences to judge them unfairly upon release.
The struggles Ryan Gosling goes through in 'Drive' are an example of how relationships in film cause difficulty for criminals to separate their illegal dealings from the drama-free existence they are trying to keep intact.
Many characters in film appear to face a lot of inner conflict during home invasions if they have children. The level of these parents’ tenacity in finding a way out is tested beyond their wildest expectations by the criminals in the house, among other factors.
The speed at which 'The Zone' director Joe Swanberg has been working seems to be a rare undertaking in an industry where many independent films take several years to go into production before hitting the big screen.
As Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy set a crime in motion as amateur thieves who are out for revenge in 'Tower Heist,' their characters in this film could benefit from learning useful strategies of more seasoned criminals.
Pop music star Justin Timberlake put his microphone away to take the lead in the sci-fi thriller 'In Time.' The singer-turned-actor seems to spend a lot of time in Hollywood when he is not performing live concerts or working on albums.
The portrayal of dark themes such as black magic, an obsession that almost crosses those “Fatal Attraction” lines and journeys into the underworld in some songs, takes film fanatics out of their comfort zone where real life is concerned.
Paying more attention to the wardrobe department of popular cop movies can help film fanatics create last-minute costumes for Halloween and related occasions. Here are last-minute movie detective costumes for men that stand out at the police precinct.
On Halloween weekend, Sean Riley plans to take moviegoers on an emotionally and psychologically tormenting ride as he gambles with his own life in '13.' It reminds me of films that show how we relate to one another regarding the value of a human life.
Independent film premieres, movie parties, and live music from the silent film era kick this week up a notch to help locals get in gear for an entertaining fall season after winding down from the 20th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival.
As movie piracy accounts for a portion of loss in box office revenue for Hollywood studios, the marketing and distribution decisions made for select films are also to blame for any decline in ticket sales.
DVD usage among indie film producers has started to hit an all-time low as trends in digital technology meet their needs faster than physical discs. Three areas of the film industry that involve DVD purchases seem less relevant in the 21st century.
Of the many lessons viewers learn from watching 'The Outsiders,' an appreciation for classic literature stands out among them. Ponyboy's interest in literary material makes the film a resource for must-read books.
Many films with dramatic story lines also foster critical thinking about the roles adults play in the lives of troubled teenagers. Here are movies that can be used to build open dialogue on matters of redemption, rebellion, and revenge.
The age and/or gender of an actor who is playing a sexually abused child appear to be a factor in determining how much audiences consider their movie scenes to be inappropriate despite whether the story is fictional or not.
An outdoor Halloween party based on horror movies can be set up in little time using a back yard or nearby park and basic school supplies. Here are graveyard scene party ideas that teens or adults can use.
Ask any audience member who attended a weekend screening for director Jerry Lamothe’s short film “The Tombs” during the 15th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival and he or she will agree that great stories can be told in under two hours.
Many of these titles are entertaining enough to serve their purpose as a quick and satisfying pastime for viewers while other shorts provide an educational aspect in the story that can be utilized in classroom settings.
While visiting this festival, I quickly learned that the exciting atmosphere with many sold-out screenings featuring an A-list lineup of talent is nothing unusual during an event that supports diversity and positive images of African-Americans on film.
The city is spreading the love to local filmmakers, crew and women this week with a schedule of events that includes free public screenings. Moviegoers nearby are able to take their fun out into the streets thanks to attractions such as Penn's Landing.
'Jumping the Broom' is about socioeconomic differences between families. Here are some African-American wedding movies where friendship, legal battles, or unresolved history cause brides and grooms to question their spouse of choice.
Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding include elements surrounding its significance that are highlighted in movies. Here are royal weddings in the movies featuring behaviors and beliefs that are relevant to the royal couple's ceremony.
As Callie Torres fights for her life in Season 2, Episode 18, fans are given another reminder that she rarely gets a chance at happiness. Dr. Torres is among the Seattle Grace hospital doctors that have the worst luck.
Disney's "Prom" starring Aimee Teegarden from "Friday Night Lights" combines the stories of several students at one high school who are preparing for their big upcoming dance. Here are movies about prom that the dance as a very big deal.
"Hanna" takes viewers on a thrilling ride involving one teenage girl whose father named Erik trained her to be an assassin. It features explosive action and could be akin to a type of "Kill Bill" in the jungle.
"The Graduate," appears to have more drama than anything else. It is an entertaining watch for Dustin Hauffman fans and movie lovers who want to see the acclaimed actor in his younger days or experience the earlier works in his career.
My first foray into the film festival world was exciting. Following my short film screening, I learned some valuable lessons and factors to consider while planning to attend film festivals to promote an independent film.
The loss of actress Elizabeth Taylor has garnered much appreciation for products bearing her likeness, including dolls. Figures based on Elizabeth Taylor movies seem to be fetching the most money from collectors and fans of this beautiful actress.
The 2010 film "Buried" starring Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy is scary and it is not even a horror movie. "Buried" gets straight to the point, wasting no time in setting up conflict where Paul Conroy is concerned.
Lexie's tendency to eat a lot when she gets upset is a reminder of how residents and surgeons at Seattle Grace hospital deal with pressure. Avery's ability to get Lexie talking cost him nothing more than a few bite-sized peanut butter cups.
An Easter egg hunt can be a fun activity for children and adults but may lose it's appeal in bad weather. Here are instructions for you to make a hidden pieces game based on the Easter holiday, that can be played indoors and outdoors.
The new Duncan Jones movie, 'Source Code' stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a role that is appropriate given the actors' work history. Gyllenhaal tends to shine when playing characters that are experiencing different aspects of disaster, deadlines and death.
Here is a Mother's Day craft project for kids that can be completed using basic school supplies and food items from your kitchen. This craft requires adult supervision and assistance depending on the age of the child working on the project.
Finding money to make a movie can be tough, especially if the methods of attracting investors have been used numerous times before. Here are easy fundraising ideas for filmmakers that use an entertaining approach to seeking donations.
The difficulties that come with making movies tend to keep many independent filmmakers in pre-production limbo. Here are short film ideas that can help you move past the scripting stage and actually get a motion picture completed.
Jackson Avery is featured prominently in story plots during season 7 of "Grey's Anatomy," which has drawbacks for leading men on this ABC show. Avery's good looks seem to be the only characteristics getting him noticed rather than his medical skills.
Since 2007, the Invisible Woman blog has covered many aspects of the movie industry including new releases and classic cinema. The author places a special emphasis on movies where African-Americans have prominent roles.
The International House is screening "Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968." This documentary covers a shooting on the South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, S.C. campus involving an all-white police force and African-American students.