24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Sundance

Spike Lee's 'Red Hook Summer' headed to theaters, but in what form?

April 25, 2012 |  3:54 pm

 

Redhoo

“Red Hook Summer,” Spike Lee’s polarizing coming-of-age movie that prompted fierce debate at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is headed to theaters.

Executives at the boutique distributor Variance Films have reached an agreement with Lee to release the film theatrically beginning this August. The director financed the movie independently and shot it in secrecy on Brooklyn streets over a period of 19 days last year.

In an interview, Variance President Dylan Marchetti told 24 Frames that the movie will aim to play in as many as 30 markets, “and not just one theater in each market.” Variance is a small New York-based distributor that has previously released the Michael C. Hall and Brie Larson indie "The Trouble With Bliss" and the Chinese action pic "Let the Bullets Fly."

“Summer” centers on a boy who arrives in a Brooklyn housing project to live with his preacher grandfather. For about two-thirds of its running time, it’s a gritty and music-heavy street drama about an assortment of neighborhood characters, with the occasional reference to Lee’s seminal “Do the Right Thing.” But the film in its last section takes a turn to the shocking, as a main character is revealed to have committed a heinous act that involves sex and Bible scripture.

The shift elicited arguments that ping-ponged around the theaters and restaurants of Sundance after the film premiered. (The initial screening was made even more controversial when Lee took to the stage and engaged in an outburst in which he said that he made the movie independently because Hollywood studios “know nothing about black people.”)

Asked if any of the controversial moments of the film have been changed, Marchetti said he couldn’t comment and referred all requests to Lee. The filmmaker was traveling and not available for comment.  [Update, 5:12 p.m.: Marchetti followed in an email to say that the movie has "been tightened up a bit since the Sundance showing, but no key scenes have been removed. It's still as powerful and controversial as what you saw at Sundance, if not more so."]

The author James McBride, who wrote “Red Hook Summer” with Lee, had previously told Lee he didn’t believe the provocative scene involving the Bible and the sex act should have been included in this way.

Lee, however, remained defiant. “It was one of the most difficult scenes I’ve ever done,”  he told 24 Frames at the festival. “But I knew it had to be done. It would have been cowardly and gutless and punkish to not deal with it straight on.”

The announcement continues a spate of deals for Sundance movies that has continued long after the festival ended.

More than 40 movies that played the Park City, Utah, gathering have come out or will come out in theaters. Even in the last month, several films, including Jonathan Kasdan’s youth romance “The First Time” and the teen documentary “China Heavyweight” received deals, from Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Zeitgeist Films, respectively.

It remains to be seen, though, how many of the Sundance deals will bear box-office fruit; a number of them come from small distributors and will get only token releases.

Marchetti said he had yet to settle on all the details for the release for “Summer,” and also was undecided on whether to submit the movie for a rating with the Motion Picture Assn. of America. “We don’t need to do it, so I’m not sure that we would,” he said. “But even if we didn’t, we’d make sure to warn people in some way about the adult content.”

RELATED:

Sundance 2012: Spike Lee says studios 'know nothing about black people"

Sundance 2012: Spike Lee made 'Red Hook' because Hollywood wouldn't

Sundance 2012: Spike Lee's co-writer joins the race conversation

— Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: "Red Hook Summer." Credit: 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks.


Sony Pictures Classics nabs documentary 'West of Memphis'

February 29, 2012 |  5:49 pm

Getprev
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired "West of Memphis," the Peter Jackson-produced documentary about three men in Arkansas who were imprisoned for 18 years for murdering three boys and released last August after questions were raised about their prosecution and the evidence against them. 

The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, follows the plight of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. They were never fully exonerated in the 1993 murders of the three boys in 1993. To attain freedom, they were forced to enter Alford pleas -- a unique situation in which defendants do not admit guilt, but admit that the prosecution could likely prove the charges. It's regarded in court as a guilty plea. 

Directed by Amy Berg, "West of Memphis" garnered attention at the Sundance Film Festival in January because it included interviews with three new witnesses further implicating a longtime suspect in the case. Many believe it is possible the footage may prompt the Arkansas justice system to take a further look at that suspect -- Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of Stevie Branch, one of the children who was slain. 

Of course, "West of Memphis" is not the first documentary to tackle the intriguing case. "Paradise Lost," a series of three films directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, followed the case for years and has been credited with helping to generate major public interest in the effort to free the three men.

The final film in the trilogy, "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," was nominated for documentary feature at the Academy Awards last weekend but lost out to the football team drama "Undefeated."

A release date for "West of Memphis" has yet to be set.

RELATED:

West Memphis 3 outcome 'bittersweet,' filmmaker says

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Sundance 2012: Will 'West of Memphis' lead to new look at case?

--Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Damien Echols, top left, director Amy Berg and producers Lorri Davis and Peter Jackson at Sundance 2012. Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images


Could Chris Rock and Melissa McCarthy end up together?

February 2, 2012 |  7:31 pm

Chris Rock at Sundance.
Chris Rock has had some notable on-screen romantic partners over the years. He engaged in an affair with a slinky Kerry Washington ("I Think I Love My Wife") and was dumped by Robin Givens ("Head of State"). Last week at Sundance, he tried to co-parent with Julie Delpy amid a chaotic visit by her family in "Two Days in New York," the actress-director's sequel to her 2007 indie hit "Two Days in Paris."

But none of those colorful characters compare to the woman Rock next hopes to make his on-screen wife: Melissa McCarthy.

"I'm trying to romance her," Rock said, taking a break last week at a Park City, Utah. The comedian is writing a new untitled script, he said, in which he envisions the "Bridesmaids" breakout playing his wife as the pair indulge in some boisterous dysfunction -- a "Jerry Springer couple," as Rock put it. He said he hopes to persuade the comedic actress to come aboard, and has made some inroads.

It's one of several projects Rock said he is working on as a writer, including new material for a stand-up tour as well as a screenplay in which he'd play, well, a stand-up comedian.

Rock has a small part in this May's "What to Expect when You're Expecting" and will be heard but not seen a few weeks later in "Madagascar 3," the talking-animal toon in which the gang runs amok in Europe. He's also get his moment as a lead in  "Two Days," which Magnolia bought at Sundance and probably will release this year.

The film has Rock trying to make things work with his partner, stepping into the Delpy boyfriend role that Adam Goldberg played in "Two Days in Paris." Rock stars as Mingus, an intellectual radio host who often plays the straight man to the loopiness around him (which includes plenty of misunderstanding with Delpy's on screen father, played by real life dad Albert).

"I probably stole a little Nelson George meets Elvis Mitchell," Rock said of his character. "But they're not married and I am, so I combined it with elements of my life, all the relatives coming over, and dealing with the kids."

Perhaps Rock's most high-profile turn at Sundance may have come in a movie he had nothing to do with,  Spike Lee's provocative "Red Hook Summer." Rock was sitting in the audience during its premiere and asked the question that prompted the infamous rant from Lee that the studios "know nothing about black people."

Rock said he saw Lee afterward but came away as puzzled as everyone else about why the director went in that direction.  "Maybe the altitude got to him," he said, shrugging perplexedly.

RELATED:

Spike Lee: Studios "know nothing about black people"

Spike Lee's co-writer joins the race conversation

Sundance 2012: Julie Delpy's latest sequel

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Chris Rock at the Sundance Film Festival last week. Credit: Chris Pizzello/Associated Press


Lizzy Caplan: The restless mind of a Sundance star

January 31, 2012 |  7:00 am

Lizzycaplan-600

As life problems go, you could find yourself in worse pickles than deciding which Sundance house to stay in while you premiere a pair of movies at the country’s preeminent film gathering.

But don't douse the comedic actress Lizzy Caplan in too much hater-ade -- not even as she describes how she was forced to choose between the Park City, Utah, condo hosting the group from the grown-sibling dramedy "Save the Date," in which she plays a commitment-phobe sister, and the crash pad for the raunchy femme romp "Bachelorette," in which she plays a coke-fried bridesmaid opposite Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher.

"I spent one night [with the 'Save the Date' crew] and then realized it was too much to go back and forth, so I stayed with the 'Bachelorette' [people]'" Caplan said at the festival last week, describing her temporary housing situation.

At 29, after years of promising but false starts on sputtering television shows, the occasional part in a hit such as "Cloverfield" and very small roles in critically acclaimed movies (quick, who did she play in "127 Hours"?), the Los Angeles-raised actress is again on the cusp of wider fame. Needless to say, it's a position she's found herself in before.

"I did a show called 'The Class' where they took us on a private plane, the creators of the show and Jimmy Burrows, the epic sitcom director," Caplan recalled. "They brought us to Vegas and took us to dinner and took us gambling and gave us a big speech that it's the last time we're going to be able to go out in public. And everybody was like 'Oh my God.' So I said to Jimmy, 'Well, what's your batting average?'" And he said he was right almost every time. He was wrong only one time." She paused. "I was kind of honored to be the second time."

Ebullient and unguarded, Caplan, who is perhaps best known for the cult Starz television comedy "Party Down," has no shortage of fears about fame -- and few compunctions about revealing them. In an era when most actors put on a stoic front about how lucky they feel, Caplan is surprisingly open about the drawbacks and insecurities of a life in front of the camera.

Continue reading »

Sundance 2012: An Occupy movement (sort of) takes hold

January 29, 2012 |  4:57 pm

Occupy protesters
On a snowy day last week in Park City, Utah, about 10 activists outfitted in costumes such as the Statue of Liberty and a Boston Patriot materialized in the parking lot of a Wells Fargo outside the city's Old Town. The Sundance Film Festival was taking place, and there was no better place for Occupy-style activists to deliver their message to the 1%.

The flash mob burst into a waiting area on the bank's ground-floor offices and began chanting "Pay your taxes, Wells Fargo" and "We are the 99%," marching in a small circle before reading a list of Occupy tenets.
 
The scene went on for about five minutes as employees and customers looked on. Then a branch manager came out of his office and asked them to leave. They agreed, and the protest moved to the corner of a busy intersection where snow was driving pretty hard. A policeman used tape to cordon off an area, keeping a stoic face as one of the protesters tried to give him a quick primer on the prison-industrial complex. 

The protesters started up the chants again. Cars passed by — some drivers honking in solidarity, others waving their middle fingers.

"We feel that way about you too," activist Justin Kramer yelled back when given the bird. Then he turned to a reporter and said, "That doesn't seem like a good way to go about it. At Marmot [a clothing and equipment store on the city's Main Street] they put out a sign that said, 'Hey Occupy people, we're hiring.' His voice took on a rueful tone. "It's nice when they at least try to be creative."

Though filled with glitz and celebrity, the Sundance Film Festival, which wraps Sunday, has been a minor bed of activism over the past 10 days. In addition to the protests — several others were held on Main Street during the festival — director Jonathan Demme came to the Slamdance Film Festival (held in Park City concurrent with Sundance) and screened a short he shot at the Occupy Wall Street protests in October.

The effect of these events was to create an unusual contrast: inside the city's high-end restaurants, fine food and wine were being consumed by some of the entertainment world's richest and most influential people. On streets and screens, however, were persistent reminders of the economically disadvantaged, a juxtaposition we explore in this Times story. (Other films included the documentary "Detropia" and the corporate-tax investigation "We're Not Broke," the latter of which some of the Wells Fargo protesters were affiliated with.)

The activists explained why Sundance was an ideal forum for their message. “What were trying to do is reach the 1%, and there’s no better place to do that in Park City during Sundance,” said Kramer, 28, a Salt Lake City resident who has been active in the local Occupy movement.
 
The protesters said they had chosen Wells Fargo, they said, because of the low taxes the company paid, and generally thought Park City was a good choice because of the concentration of high-end brands “There are so many corporate sponsors here during the film festival,” said Kira Elliott, 29, an activist from Chicago. “We’d be crazy to be anywhere else.”

Demme's short, "Hyptnotic Fierce Drum Circle," was shot Oct. 15, and the title sums it up well: It captures dozens of percussionists — black, white, asian, male, female, young, old — plus people playing horns, whistles, guitars and cymbals. Without a conductor, they somehow improvise a melodic cacophony.

In an interview the day after the screening, Demme, who lives in New York, said initially intended to go check out the Occupy Wall Street protest for about an hour. "I was obliged to go down there," he recalled. "I've been complaining for years about the lack of a protest generation." 

He stayed for an hour and then another, and then another, and then when he started to leave, a march started coming his way, so he stayed longer.

After his first visit, he and collaborator Shane Bissett, 25, returned a dozen times and shot footage at Zucotti Park and of other Occupy-related activities. They estimate they've collected more than 40 hours of footage, including some one-one-one interviews with individual protesters.

Their primary interest has been putting footage on the Internet, Demme said. "The premise is that if more people know what Occupy was really about — how positive it is — more poeple would join. So we've been supporting that as outsiders."

But they are also intending to go back and shoot more footage focusing on the stories of individual protesters. Ultimately, Demme said, they may cut together a couple of hours into a longer film (though he's also busy now trying to get two long-gestating projects, the animated "Zeitoun" and the adaptation of the Stephen King novel "11/22/63"). "People of my generation, the hippie generation," he said, "have been waiting for this."

You can check out another of Demme's Occupy shorts below:

 

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Sundance 2012: Queen of Versailles keenly eyes the rich and struggling

Photo: Occupy protesters outside a Wells Fargo in Park City, Utah. Credit: Steven Zeitchik.

 

— Steven Zeitchik and Julie Makinen


Sundance 2012: 'Beasts,' drug war doc win grand jury prizes

January 28, 2012 |  8:57 pm

John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival.

The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up Saturday night in Park City, Utah, with "Beasts of the Southern Wild," directed by Benh Zeitlin, taking the grand jury prize in the U.S. dramatic competition. 
"The House I Live In,"  a look at the war against drugs and the American penal system directed by Eugene Jarecki, was awarded the grand jury prize for U.S. documentary.

"Beasts" had been the clear favorite in the dramatic category throughout the festival. The film is an expressionistic, uplifting fable of a little girl (Quvenzhane Wallis) and her father (Dwight Henry) struggling to survive on the Southern Delta in the face of poverty and flooding.

As the cast and crew took to the stage to accept the prize, Zeitlin  declared, "I hope this film is just like a flag that goes up" in inspiration to other filmmakers.

"Violeta Went to Heaven," directed by Andres Wood, a film about singer Violeta Parra, won the World Cinematic Dramatic Jury prize. The jury prize for World Cinema Documentary went to Ra'anan Alexandrowicz for "The Law in These Parts," about the legal system in Israel and the  Palestinian territories.

The audience prizes went to Ben Lewin's "The Surrogate" in the U.S. dramatic category and Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War," about rape in the military, for U.S. documentary. "Valley of Saints" won with audiences in the world cinema dramatic category and "Searching for Sugar Man" won in the  world cinema documentary contest. "Sleepwalk With Me," written, directed by and starring Mike Birbiglia, won the Best of NEXT audience award.

PHOTOS: The scene at Sundance 2012

Other winners in the U.S. dramatic category were Ava DuVernay for directing "Middle of Nowhere" and Ben Richardson with "Beasts of the Southern Wild" for cinematography.  The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award went to Derek Connolly for "Safety Not Guaranteed."

A special jury prize went to producers Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling who had both "Smashed" and "Nobody Walks" in the competiton. A special jury prize also went to the ensemble cast of "The Surrogate," which includes John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy. 

In the U.S. documentary category, Lauren Greenfield won for directing "The Queen of Versailles," Enat Sidi won for editing on "Detropia," and Jeff Orlowski with "Chasing Ice" for cinematography.

There were two special jury prizes, for "Love Free Or Die" and "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry." 

The awards ceremony was to be have been hosted by long-time Sundance favorite Parker Posey, but at the opening of the show John Cooper, director of the festival, announced that Posey had taken ill and was unable to attend. "This is real," he said to the crowd who assumed it was some kind of comedy bit.

Rather, he brought up actress and filmmaker Katie Aselton, at the festival with her film "Black Rock," to serve as co-host.

The evening also included a tribute to Bingham Ray, the veteran film executive, stalwart festival presence and leading champion of independent film who died this week after suffering a stroke at the festival.

Cooper took pause and choked up as he read a statement which noted Ray's was "a career that almost perfectly paralleled the rise of independent film in America." 

Full list of winners:

Continue reading »

Sundance 2012: Seth Rogen's phone-sex moment

January 28, 2012 |  2:37 pm

 

Rogen

Of the many things you might expect when you walk into a Sundance movie, a cameo from a member of the Judd Apatow crew isn't at the top of the list.

But there was one of those insiders, Seth Rogen, materializing on-screen during the risqué comedy "For a Good Time, Call…" As a phone-sex call is made to protagonists Katie and Lauren (played by Ari Graynor and the film’s co-writer, Lauren Anne Miller), two economically desperate twentysomething women who've started a phone-sex line in their New York apartment, Rogen pops up on screen, wearing a pilot’s uniform and engaging in a solitary sexual act in an airport bathroom as he banters dirtily with the women.

The sight of the actor prompted a peal of laughter at the movie’s premiere at Sundance earlier this week. As the back-and-forth unfolds, Rogen rips off one of the best lines of the film when, as things heat up on the phone, he calls out to a crew member in the next stall to “Delay the flight.”

There’s a reason the comic actor wound up in the movie: Miller is his wife.
 
"I remember Seth and I were brushing our teeth one night and I said 'Wouldn't it be great if we got some comedians to do cameos as some of the callers,' " Miller recounted to 24 Frames. "And then I said, 'Wait, would you do it?' And he said 'Totally.' "

Though he has no formal role on the picture outside of the cameo, Rogen advised Miller and visited the set. “I would be silly not to listen to the person who is extremely successful at doing what I’m trying to do,” Miller said.

Rogen isn't the only raunch-comedy mainstay to have an unexpected moment in the film -- witness Kevin Smith as a cab driver who rings up the phone-sex line while a passenger waits in the backseat.

With its raunchy story of female friendship, "Good Time" has evoked the inevitable comparisons to the Apatow-godfathered “Bridesmaids.” Miller said she showed the movie to several people in the filmmaker's posse but not yet the director himself, who has been working on a new movie.

Filmgoers will get a chance to see the movie and Rogen’s surprise spot -- Focus Features acquired the comedy and will release it domestically. “I feel like that women who watch movies have been subconsciously wanting this,” Miller said. "I hope this is only the beginning of real stories about real women.”

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Sundance: 2012 Spike Lee says studios 'know nothing about black people'

-- Steven Zeitchik in Park City, Utah

Twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Seth Rogen. Credit: Chris Helcermanas-Benge / Summit Entertainment


Sundance 2012: IFC Midnight buys 'The Pact'

January 26, 2012 |  2:25 pm

The pact sundance

IFC Midnight on Thursday acquired the North American distribution rights to "The Pact," a horror film written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy that premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival.

IFC Midnight paid in the high six figures for the rights, according to a source familiar with the negotiations who added that the company plans both a video-on-demand release and a theatrical run in several cities.

The deal marks a milestone for McCarthy, who was featured in a Times story last week. After years of struggling in Hollywood, he is offering up "The Pact" as his first feature film. “My whole life I have wanted to make movies that people will see and now that is going to happen,” McCarthy said shortly after the deal was completed. “Now I know it is going to be seen by thousands and thousands of people after this festival. It’s a great vote of confidence.”

PHOTOS: The scene at Sundance

Based on a short McCarthy film that played at Sundance in 2011, "The Pact" stars Caity Lotz and Casper Van Dien. It focuses on a woman struggling to deal with the tangled aftermath of her mother’s death while discovering terrifying truths about her family’s past and the house she grew up in. 

The film’s distribution rights to the Japanese, British and Australian markets have also been sold at this week’s festival, according to Ross Dinerstein, who produced "The Pact. "

RELATED:

Nicholas McCarthy's Hollywood dream is stop and go 

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Spike Lee says studios 'know nothing about black people'

-- Kurt Streeter

Photo: A scene from 'The Pact.' Credit: Sundance Film Festival


Slamdance 2012: 'Buffalo Girls' director fought for Thai boxing doc

January 26, 2012 |  2:02 pm

 

A scene from "Buffalo Girls."

The first time filmmaker Todd Kellstein saw Thai children boxing — two 8-year-old girls with gloves on in the ring in a rural corner of Thailand — “I thought it was horrible child abuse. I wanted to make a film that would create awareness and make it end.”

 

Now, after spending three years on a project he thought would take him 10 months, Kellstein, whose unexpected and fascinating documentary “Buffalo Girls” had its debut at the Slamdance Film Festival, sees things differently.

“It’s really not our business to say what people in other cultures should or shouldn’t do,” he says now. “In the U.S., people are adamant that it has to stop, but that’s not really the point. I tried to make a film that found a balance.”

PHOTOS: The scene at Sundance

“Buffalo Girls” took as long as it did to make partially because it took a full six months for Kellstein to gain the trust of Pet and Stam, the two girls who are the center of the film, as well as their families. “Pet’s dad thought I was working for the other side, spying on her training methods,” he says. “They didn’t understand why people would want to watch them in a film."

Kellstein’s film background was in music videos, working with acts such as Bon Jovi, but he was looking for something else here. “I wanted this to be not slick, to be on the ground, me alone, with no crew,” he explains. “If I landed in these small villages with a soundman and a crew, it would have been like a Martian landing. I intentionally used the smallest, cheapest digital video camera I could find."

Right from the get-go, Kellstein started to learn the dynamics driving young girls and boys, estimated at 30,000 total, to engage not in classic American boxing, but in muay Thai, a mixed martial arts discipline that is said to be 700 years old.

"I asked a little girl, through a translator, ‘Oh my God, what are you doing, why are you doing this?’” he reports, “and she looked up at me like the biggest idiot on the planet and said, ‘Money.’”

For in a terribly poor country, where the sex trade is an option often taken to escape grinding poverty, boxing, the filmmaker says, is an opportunity to earn essential money.

“These kids are so happy, so full of joy, and they’re full of pride at doing something that contributes to the family, that can help them buy a house,” Kellstein says. The director acknowledges that the long-term physical effects of these fights are not known, but insists that having girls involved is “a huge gender coup. Thai women are very submissive, very quiet. This is unheard of in Thai culture.”

When Kellstein returned from Thailand and told his producers about his thinking, they were aghast. “They said, ‘You can’t say its OK.’ I got into a real argument with the guy who designed our poster; this was really chancey, dangerous material to get into.”

Gradually, a film that presents both sides of the issue and asks the viewer to decide took shape.

Interested in Buddhism before his time spent in Thailand, Kellstein has a quote from the celebrated teacher Milarepa tattooed near his right hand, a quote that seems in some way to speak to the film he’s made:

“Whatever is experienced will fade to a memory. Everything that is seen will not be seen again.”

RELATED:

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Bawdy chicks with flicks (but don't say 'Bridesmaids')

Spike Lee says studios 'know nothing about black people'

— Kenneth Turan in Park City, Utah

Photo: A scene from "Buffalo Girls." Credit: Courtesy of Todd Kellstein


Sundance 2012: Spike Lee's co-writer joins the race conversation

January 26, 2012 | 12:21 pm

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Spike Lee caused a stir at the Sundance Film Festival this week when he said Hollywood studios "know nothing about black people." Now, James McBride, the co-writer  and co-producer on his latest film "Red Hook Summer," is adding his voice to the discussion.

In an open letter posted Thursday on Lee's 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks website, McBride draws a line from President Obama's State of the Union address, to the Oscar nominations for African Americans Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer (playing maids in "The Help"), and back to Lee's comments.

He concludes: "Nothing in this world happens unless white folks says it happens. And therein lies the problem of being a professional black storyteller, writer, musician, filmmaker. Being black is like serving as Hoke, the driver in 'Driving Miss Daisy,' except it’s a kind of TV series lasts the rest of your life: You get to drive the well-meaning boss to and fro, you love that boss, your lives are stitched together, but only when the boss decides your story intersects with his or her life is your story valid. Because you’re a kind of cultural maid."

PHOTOS: Spike Lee's controversial quotes

The full letter is below. Tell us what you think in the comments section.

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