1. Who Are We Kidding? These Are The Films At Sundance This Year That Have Black Actors & We’re Excited!
The Sundance Film Festival is here! And there are a number of films with celebs we love and documentaries about the issues we care about (read: Black). From the death of Jordan Davis to the rise of hip-hop fashion, here are the 9 films we can’t wait to see that we know will shine at Sundance!
2. Dope, directed by Rick Famuyiwa
Looking like “KIDS” meets “Dazed and Confused” with a dash of “Juice,” “Dope” chronicles life as Malcolm, a Black hipster high schooler that’s still discovering who he’s meant to be in Inglewood, CA. Tyga and A$AP Rocky both make cameos, Forest Whitaker narrates it, and Pharrell Williams co-produced, while also overseeing the soundtrack. It’s the most buzzed about film at Sundance this year!
3. 3 1/2 minutes, directed by Marc Silver
This documentary explores the death of Black, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was shot by former White cop Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, FL in 2012. Dunn fired at Davis and his friends because they were playing music “too loud,” and outrage superseded the situation (likely from the racist overtone of Dunn’s actions). He’s since been sentenced to life in prison and Silver’s film shows how justice was finally served.
4. Lila & Eve, directed by Charles Stone III
Who else forgot that 2-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis was in “Out of Sight” with Jennifer Lopez? Well, 17 years later, the two are back together for “Lila & Eve.” A sisterhood flick that begins with the ladies meeting in a support group because they’ve both lost a child to violence. Soon their friendship helps turn that heartbreak into getting justice for Lila’s son. Here’s their interview about the movie.
5. What Happened, Miss Simone?, directed by Liz Garbus
If you don’t know much about the legend Nina Simone, it’s time you get familiar (and go download her music ASAP!) This documentary, set to be streamed later this year on Netflix, features incredible footage of Simone’s talent and thoughts, and was a collaborative effort that involved surviving members of her family. The film premieres before the long-awaited, controversial biopic starring Zoe Saldana as Simone.
6. Fresh Dressed, directed Sacha Jenkins
We’re always geeked for a hip-hop documentary and Fresh Dressed is a tribute to the culture with a focus on fashion. Co-produced by perpetual #MCM Nas, it traces as far back as the slavery/Civil War era to the 21st century and how Black and brown people reinvented and identified themselves through fashion. Celebs offering commentary include Kanye West and Andre Leon Talley. We’re already eBaying for ’90s Karl Kani.
7. Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution, directed by Stanley Nelson
Nelson’s tribute to the Black Panther Party may be one of the most full-bodied documentaries on the epic movement. With plenty of videos and photos for support, the in-depth research performed wasn’t just for celebrating the efforts of this iconic group but to show the their efforts connect to us today, like our marches against police brutality.
8. Dreamcatcher, directed by Kim Longinotto
The documentary Dreamcatcher is a tough one. Its named after the Chicago-based foundation that helps women escape and heal from the sex trade in the city. Featured are Brenda Myers-Powell and Stephanie Daniels-Wilson, both former substance abusers and prostitutes, as they are shown helping others avoid the somber lifestyle they once led. They also explain the cycle what leads women into trades in the first place.