Cannes: Interracial Marriage Drama ‘Loving’ Throws Hat in Oscar Ring

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-16 18:12Z by Steven

Cannes: Interracial Marriage Drama ‘Loving’ Throws Hat in Oscar Ring

The Hollywood Reporter
2016-05-16

Gregg Kilday

Director Jeff Nichols and stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga make a strong first-impression as their new film about the landmark Supreme Court case is unveiled.

Loving, writer/director Jeff Nichols’ new film about Richard and Mildred Loving — the interracial couple whose 1958 marriage violated Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws, which were eventually overturned by the Supreme Court’s landmark Loving vs. Virginia ruling in 1967 — held its first press screening Monday morning in Cannes. And it immediately made the case why the film has to be considered one of this year’s first major awards contenders.

Given the material, Nichols could have delivered a standard-issue courtroom drama, culminating with soaring oratory before the nation’s highest court. But he chose to take a different route — the American Civil Liberties Union, agreeing to take on the case, doesn’t enter the picture until more than half-way through the two-hour-three-minute movie. Instead, the film is centered around the Lovings themselves: Richard, played by Australian actor Joel Edgerton, and Mildred, played by the Ethiopia-born Ruth Negga

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Soledad O’Brien on #OscarsSoWhite: Why Did It Take So Long to Have This Discussion?

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-16 00:34Z by Steven

Soledad O’Brien on #OscarsSoWhite: Why Did It Take So Long to Have This Discussion?

The Hollywood Reporter
2016-01-28

Soledad O’Brien, Founder and CEO
Starfish Media Group


Soledad O’Brien
Getty Images

In my experience, diversity doesn’t just “happen.” It has to be very intentional. People have to have a genuine desire to make a change.

It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen this time around. There are some bright signs, including the fledgling efforts of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And, most importantly, there is an active, honest conversation going on…

…I was raised by a white dad and black mom for whom dating and marriage were legally impossible in Baltimore in 1958 — so they drove to D.C. to get married, then lived in a fairly hostile environment toward mixed-race couples. That sense of isolation never stopped them, and it’s certainly helped me to deal with some very typical racism in my career: being dismissed as the “affirmative action” hire, being left out of opportunities. I’m not complaining. It’s the way it is and it was up to me to try to excel anyway. And, later, as a reporter I found it interesting to interview people who felt that way and try to understand their perspective. But that doesn’t mean the frustration didn’t build, and in my case, as that of many others, it eventually forces you to speak out. It also encourages you to do what you can to make it better.

In my case, I now run a production company called Starfish Media Group that strives to tell the untold stories of people of diverse backgrounds….

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‘Monstress’: Inside The Fantasy Comic About Race, Feminism And The Monster Within

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Women on 2015-11-08 15:57Z by Steven

‘Monstress’: Inside The Fantasy Comic About Race, Feminism And The Monster Within

The Hollywood Reporter
2015-11-03

Graeme McMillan

“I didn’t realize how massive it was until I started writing it,” creator Marjorie Liu tells THR.

Monstress, a new comic book series from Image Comics which launches this week, is all about hidden depths. Not only for the title character — a teenager who literally has a monster living inside her — but for the series itself, which uses the fantasy genre to explore real world issues in a new and fascinating way. Writer and series creator Marjorie Liu (Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men, the Hunter Kiss series of novels) talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the origins of the series, and why Monstress is even more than she anticipated.

“I didn’t realize how massive it was until I started writing it, and realized I had totally underestimated both the size of the project, and my own ability to wrap my head around it,” Liu says of the series. “I wanted to write about girls and monsters, which has been a theme of mine from almost the start of my career — girls and giant monsters, and the supernatural. I wanted to tell a story about war, and surviving war — and I wanted to set it all in an alternate Asia.”…

Monstress was influenced by a number of people, ideas and experiences from Liu’s life, she explained. “For example, growing up with my Chinese grandparents who were always talking about WWII — how they survived, how they fought. It wasn’t just the war they discussed, but what came after: how they had to piece their lives back together. But what’s striking to me are the photos from this time, especially the ones of my grandmother. She’s always beaming. Her smile is amazing. You would never have dreamed she went through hell.”

That pushed Liu into considering inner strength — “What does it take to hold on to one’s humanity when you’re forced to suffer the long, continuous, dehumanizing experience of war? Is it just strength? Is it something in your character? Is it the kinds of friends you surround yourself with?” — which is one of the key themes to the series. “Other questions I’ve wrestled with, both in this book and others [are] what it means to be of mixed race, what it means to straddle the borderlands of two cultures,” she added.

“The world of Monstress is one that has been torn apart by racism, slavery, by the commodification of mixed race bodies that produce a valuable substance that humans require like a drug. Even if you look human, you might not be safe. It’s a familiar story to people of color in this country, and in the last four or five years I’ve found myself deeply immersed in the study of identity and race, especially in the Asian American context.”…

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Belle: Toronto Review

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2013-09-14 15:19Z by Steven

Belle: Toronto Review

The Hollywood Reporter
2013-09-12

John DeFore

The true story of a mixed-race child raised by British aristocrats is lightly fictionalized by Amma Asante.

TORONTO — Hoping to use some Jane Austen-style courtship anxiety to lend drama to an episode in 18th-century English history that is novel enough on its own, Amma Asante’s Belle centers on Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race child who was sent to be raised by the second-highest judge in England’s courts. Though the inventions of Misan Sagay’s script emphasize concerns over dowries and social rank that will be grating for many contemporary viewers, extracting little of the humor that Austen regularly found in such hangups, the picture’s sour notes are balanced by fine performances and clear historical appeal. Moviegoers should respond well, if not overwhelmingly, when Fox Searchlight brings it to theaters next spring…

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