Indie Memphis' Black Independence Film Series Begins Tonight


Robert Litsol looks for work in 1960s Paris in Med Hondo's Soleil O
  • Robert Litsol looks for work in 1960s Paris in Med Hondo's Soleil O

In September and October, Indie Memphis is devoting its weekly programming to the work of black artists. It ain't easy making a low-budget movie essentially by yourself. It's even harder if you're black, and it's 1965.

The programming kicks off tonight with Indie Memphis' most enduring non-festival program, Microcinema. The program of short films by black women filmmakers from the 1980s and 1990s is guaranteed to feature movies you've never seen before, such as "Illusions."

Before director Julie Dash became the first African American woman director to get theatrical distribution with 1985's Daughters of the Dust, she made "Illusions." That films is a 30-minute short about Ester Jeeter, a black woman in 1942 Hollywood who dubs the singing voice for a less-talented, white movie star. Also on the bill is Ngozi Onwurah's "Coffee Colored Children," about mixed-race families facing prejudice in America. The show is a Crosstown Theater, and tickets are free, but RSVP is requested.

Ngozi Onwurah's "Coffee Colored Children"
  • Ngozi Onwurah's "Coffee Colored Children"

On Wednesday, Malco Ridgeway  will screen a world cinema classic, Soleil O. Director Med Hondo, who just passed away last spring, spent four years crafting this $30,000 film about the plight of African immigrants from Mauritania, the former French colony in Africa. He self-financed most of the picture by translating and dubbing American films into French, and released it to great acclaim at Cannes in 1970. The film will be introduced by Rhodes College professor Dr. Abou Bakar Memah, who will help contextualize the world of post-colonial 1960s France where Hondo worked. You can get tickets at the Indie Memphis website.

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