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‘I Will Follow,’ new Black independent film showing now

March 20, 2011

Screening for one week at the Metreon in San Francisco and AMC 16 Bay Street Theaters in Emeryville

by Rocky Seker

Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Omari Hardwick in “I Will Follow”
There are several things that create a community and break down barriers; food, music, art and film. Film is an important catalyst to start a dialogue where diversity might be an issue.

Black Cinema At Large is currently a Black film curation entity based in Oakland. After running a successful Black cinema blog with the same name – which at the time filled an urgent need for Black film talk – Black Cinema At Large saw the same need in the Hollywood system. Many quality films were not making it into mainstream theaters, regardless of how many awards they garnered on the film festival circuit.

Part of BCAL’s mission is to remove whatever blockages there are between the filmmaker and the public and have quality Black film shown to those who don’t have any access to them outside of the film festival circuit. The mission is also to enlighten that the Black experience is the human experience – that we have more in common as human beings than differences – and there is strength in numbers.

As part of this “it takes a village” philosophy, Black Cinema At Large is a member of AFFRM, the African Film Festival Releasing Movement. AFFRM, founded by writer-producer-director Ava DuVernay, is a network of Black film festivals that originally started in five cities and includes Urban Film World in New York, ReelBlack in Philadelphia, the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Langston Hughes Black Film Festival in Seattle.

The organization releases quality independent African-American films through simultaneous limited engagements and has expanded into 22 cities, including Oakland. Black Cinema At Large is currently the only affiliate that is not a film festival.

AFFRM’s first nationwide release, “I Will Follow,” about a day in the life of a woman letting go of her own life and moving on, will have a one week engagement at the Metreon in San Francisco and AMC 16 Bay Street Theaters in Emeryville. The film stars Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Blair Underwood, Omari Hardwick and Beverly Todd.

BCAL stresses that much support is needed for this first film, as AFFRM is a grassroots effort with no commercial advertising. BCAL and AFFRM would like to stress that the release of the film is an entirely grassroots effort. There are no commercials, no billboards and no advertising, just word of mouth in the community and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and the site you are reading right now.

It is strongly encouraged that people go see the film and spread the word through friends, churches and other organizations they may be a part of. It is genuinely a movement and a wake-up call to Hollywood to reach outside of its archaic distribution system and to cease ignoring intelligent Black film.

It is genuinely a movement and a wake-up call to Hollywood to reach outside of its archaic distribution system and to cease ignoring intelligent Black film.

Black Cinema At Large and AFFRM’s greatest hope is that through their alliance Hollywood will take notice that there is a huge population of filmgoers who want out of the stereotypical fare that is predominately shown in mainstream theaters. It is more evident than ever before that there is a call to arms, as demonstrated by this year’s infamously dubbed “white-out” Oscars, named so even by white film critics. Not one person of African-American descent was nominated in 2011.

For information and to buy tickets for the film “I Will Follow,” visit IWillFollowFilm.com. To learn more about AFFRM and its mission, go to AFFRM.com. You can RSVP, support and invite others to see the film at http://www.facebook.com/#!/iwillfollowfilm. Rocky Seker can be reached at rockyseker@yahoo.com.

 

 

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