Movie Meetup This Saturday 2:10pm | Dear White People

It is important to support quality Black Film in theaters–not on bootleg. The Sundance award-winning hit DEAR WHITE PEOPLE opens this weekend on a number of area screens. Reelblack and The African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) want to pack the house for the 2:10pm show at the UA Riverview, Columbus Blvd an Reed Streets.

This film is already selling out shows in NY and LA. Let’s show them that there is an audience for “good movies ’bout Black folks” in Philly.

Let’s get together and support opening weekend of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE this Saturday at the UA Riverview. With giveaways (including signed posters), food and discussion at Ruby Buffet to follow.

Showtime for movie is 2:10pm (adults $10). Ruby Buffet at 1100 S. Columbus Boulevard is approximately $16 (including beverage)

Event will be DUTCH TREAT, meaning everyone will be responsible for their own tickets and food.

Movie tickets may be purchased in advance at


Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent, Dear White People is a sly, provocative satire of race relations in the age of Obama. Writer/director Justin Simien follows a group of African American students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college in a sharp and funny feature film debut that earned him a spot on Variety’s annual “10 Directors to Watch.” When Dear White People screened at MOMA’s prestigious New Directors/New Films, the New York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote, “Seeming to draw equal measures of inspiration from Whit Stillman and Spike Lee, but with his own tart, elegant sensibility very much in control, Mr. Simien evokes familiar campus stereotypes only to smash them and rearrange the pieces.”


Reelblack HIGHLY RECOMMENDS the recently published book, A SEPARATE CINEMA: THE FIRST 100 YEARS OF BLACK POSTER ART by John Kitch from Reel Art Press.

I was familiar with many of the images in this new volume from the 1992 version of A SEPARATE CINEMA (now sadly out of print).  This update features dozens more images, organized as a quick history of Black Film–From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to 12 Years a Slave.

The reproductions are beautiful on sturdy paper. The art featured in the book is compiled from a priceless collection of over 38,000 images in the Separate Cinema archive.  The book spends a lot of time on movies pre-1960 (a lot of the posters represent films that are hard-to-locate or even lost).  There is a short section on Blaxploitation (fans should seek out used copies of WHAT IT IS…WHAT IT WAS, another book that is long gone).

Book currently goes for around $55 on Amazon and is worth every penny.  Definitely a must-own for film lovers and for filmmakers interested in gaining an understanding of the legacy of Black film.




This magnificent volume is a celebration of the first 100 years of black film poster art. A visual feast, these images recount the diverse and historic journey of the black film industry from the earliest days of Hollywood to present day. Accompanied by insightful accompanying text, a foreword by black history authority and renowned academic, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and an afterword by Hollywood director, Spike Lee.

Part aesthetic, part nostalgic, the posters have meaning to young and old alike, and possess the power to transcend ethnicity. They capture the spirit and energy of an earlier time. They remind people of the pioneers of the past, those courageous and daring African-American filmmakers, entertainers and artists whose dreams and struggles paved the way for future generations.

The wealth of imagery on these pages is taken from The Separate Cinema Archive, maintained by archive director John Kisch. The most extensive private holdings of African-American film memorabilia in the world, it contains over 35,000 authentic movie posters and photographs from over 30 countries. This stunning coffee table book represents some of the archive’s greatest highlights.


Spike Lee recently visited Philly to direct the 16 minute doc MO’NE DAVIS: THROW LIKE A GIRL.  Produced by Chevrolet, it is a beautifully crafted portrait of the young lady who graced Sports Illustrated’s cover earlier this year for pitching a shutout in the Little League World Series.

I’ve always loved Spike’s documentary work and this is another classic.  He is especially good with sports stories (his work with Jim Brown, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan come to mind). Take the time to watch this gem.


Reelblack and Simon and Schuster are giving one lucky reader a copy of COSBY: HIS LIFE AND TIMES, out now in Hardcover and Kindle.

The first major biography of an American icon, comedian Bill Cosby. Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with Cosby and more than sixty of his closest friends and associates, it is a frank, fun and fascinating account of his life and historic legacy.

Far from the gentle worlds of his routines or TV shows, Cosby grew up in a Philadelphia housing project, the son of an alcoholic, largely absent father and a loving but overworked mother. With novelistic detail, award winning journalist Mark Whitaker tells the story of how, after dropping out of high school, Cosby turned his life around by joining the Navy, talking his way into college, and seizing his first breaks as a stand-up comedian.

Published on the 30th anniversary of The Cosby Show, the book reveals the behind-the-scenes story of that groundbreaking sitcom as well as Cosby’s bestselling albums, breakout role on I Spy, and pioneering place in children’s TV. But it also deals with professional setbacks and personal dramas, from an affair that sparked public scandal to the murder of his only son, and the private influence of his wife of fifty years, Camille Cosby.

Whitaker explores the roots of Cosby’s controversial stands on race, as well as “the Cosby effect” that helped pave the way for a black president. For any fan of Bill Cosby’s work, and any student of American television, comedy, or social history, Cosby: His Life and Times is an essential read.


The winner will be selected at random and notified Friday.  Good luck!

Tune in this Friday at 4:20pm to Reelblack Radio on 900AMWURD.  COSBY author MARK WHITAKER will be Mike and Stephanie’s guest.

TOP FIVE TRAILER | New Chris Rock Movie in December

Get ready for laughs as the trailer for the Paramount Pictures film TOP FIVE is now live! See below for a link to the trailer.    Please share with your followers!  Would love to get any reactions from you after viewing the trailer!!   TOP FIVE, will open in theaters on December 5, 2014 (limited release) and December 12, 2014 (wide release)

Also CHRIS ROCK will host Saturday Night Live on November 1 w/ musical guest PRINCE!


Written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, “TOP FIVE” tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind.  Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah.  The film is produced by Scott Rudin and Eli Bush.  The Co-Producers are Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Kanye West; the Executive Music Producer is Questlove.

Follow the official social channels:

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE Opens in Philly 10/24

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE will be playing at the following area theaters next weekend (10/24).

UA Riverview Plaza 17
Rave University 6

The Pearl at Avenue North
AMC Neshaminy 24
UA Main Street
AMC Cherry Hill 24

Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Brandywine Town Center 16 (Wilmington, DE)

King of Prussia 15 & Imax

Reelblack will host a movie meetup the afternoon of 10/25 at the UA Riverview w discussion and giveaways to follow at Ruby Buffet. RSVP at

David E. Talbert Actor’s Workshop Coming To Philly 10/18

Ever consider a career in theater, film, or TV? Ever watched a play or a movie and said, “I could do that!” Now, here’s your chance! Bringing two decades of skill and experience to the craft of acting, pioneering theater producer and respected Hollywood film director -­?David E. Talbert opens the door to a once-­?in-­?a-­?lifetime opportunity to learn, grow, and be discovered. Award-­winning playwright David E. Talbert will help thousands from coast to coast gain insight into the entertainment industry through his Multi City Actor’s Workshop & Talent Search Tour. For those who can’t get to Hollywood, David E. Talbert is bringing Hollywood to them through his leading-­?edge Actor’s Workshop & Talent Search.

“I’ve gotten so many emails over the years asking me to do a workshop,” expressed Talbert. But then I thought ‘doing a workshop is great, but what would be better is to give people an opportunity to put what they just learned to use by getting a chance to be cast in one of my productions.’ I realized that I have been blessed to be in a position to not only do what I love, but to also hire people to do what they love and help make someone’s dream come true like someone did for me.”

David E. Talbert’s Actor’s Workshop & Talent Search Tour kicks off in his hometown of Washington, DC on Saturday, October 4th at the Mayflower Renaissance. Other cities on the tour include Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, October 18th, Chicago, IL on Saturday, November 1st, Los Angeles on Saturday, November 8th and Dallas, Texas on Saturday, November 15th. There will be one session per day scheduled from 9 AM -­ 3 PM. The registration fee for the workshop is $250 per person. As an added bonus, everyone who attends the workshop will also receive a private one on one audition the next day with David E. Talbert for a chance to be cast in his next production.

“I’ve worked with so many incredibly talented actors, singers and comedians over the years in my plays and films, like Jamie Foxx, Paula Patton, Morris Chestnut, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan and Jill Scott, just to name a few. Now, I’m looking forward to finding and helping to launch the career of the next great talent.”

Those interested in attending the workshop in their city should visit to receive full details on registration and location. Space is limited and early registration is encouraged. Reserve your seats today.

Perfect for the professional and the beginner, David E. Talbert’s Actors Workshop & Talent Search will give attendees a chance to learn first-­?hand what the entertainment business is all about and how to get their foot firmly in the door. Participants will receive detailed instruction on how to shape their performance and gain valuable insight into what directors really want. What makes David E. Talbert’s Acting Workshop & Talent Search really unique is the ability for participants to be able to audition with a working Hollywood director.

About David E. Talbert
David E. Talbert began his career in the world of theater, quickly establishing himself as a highly prolific and award winning playwright. The Los Angeles Times labels Talbert, “One of the most prolific theatre makers in America” and The Washington Post “A Playwrighting and directing wunderkind.” David E. Talbert has written and directed 14 nationally acclaimed touring productions that have garnered an unprecedented 24 NAACP nominations, winning Best Playwright of the Year for THE FABRIC OF A MAN. In 2007, Talbert received the New York Literary Award for Best Playwright of the Year for LOVE IN THE NICK OF TYME and the prestigious NAACP Trailblazer Award for his groundbreaking accomplishments in theater. While Talbert continues his success as a highly respected theatre-­?maker, with his most recent tour being the box-­?office juggernaut WHAT MY HUSBAND DOESN’T KNOW starring Morris Chestnut, he has also successfully expanded his brand into the world of feature films and television. His most recent film, the Fox Searchlight romantic comedy BAGGAGE CLIAM, which Talbert adapted from his own Essence best-­?selling novel, starred Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Jill Scott, Adam Brody, and Djimon Hounsou. This marks the first time an African American filmmaker has adapted and directed his own novel. BAGGAGE CLAIM, released in the fall of 2013, opened as the #1 Comedy in America.


For more information on David E. Talbert and to register for the Acting Workshop & Talent Search, go to

Follow David E. Talbert on Facebook at David E. Talbert & Follow David E. Talbert on Twitter @davidetalbert

HAWK JONES 11/9 at PhilaMOCA

Reelblack is a proud promotional partner on PhillyMOCA’s screening of HAWK JONES (1986). Sunday, November 9, 2014
Doors 7:00, Movie at 7:30
$10, no refunds or exchanges

PhilaMOCA, Reelblack, and Spectacular Optical present a special screening of the 1986 all-children action classic HAWK JONES in celebration of the release of SPECTACULAR OPTICAL BOOK ONE: KID POWER! Co-editor Kier-La Janisse in attendance!

“The movie with the kids in it!” screams the VHS cover of cop action movie HAWK JONES. Conceived as DIRTY HARRY for the milk and cookies crowd, siblings Richard and Tor created HAWK JONES in 1986 to put a cast of amateur child actors through the much-loved cliches of the 1980s buddy-cop drama. The low-budget classic stars six-year-old Valiant Duhart as the titular tough-as-nails police detective who has to track down local gangster Antonio Coppola and his gang of punks while dealing with his new partner, female rookie cop McAllister. Like the greatest backyard game of cops and robbers ever attempted, Hawk catches hell from his boss, gets involved in car chases and blows away bad guys with a plastic toy arsenal, all the while exuding a charming childhood innocence that made fans of legions of kids that grew up watching his antics on VHS. You’ve seen BUGSY MALONE, but you can’t miss HAWK JONES, which is chock full of the kinds of badass kids spotlighted in Spectacular Optical’s new KID POWER anthology. (Paul Corupe)

Co-editor Kier-La Janisse will be in attendance to introduce the film. Copies of KID POWER! will be available for purchase.

Reelblack Recommends - The 23d Philadelphia Film Festival

The 23rd PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL kicks off Thursday.  There are dozens of films being showcased.  We recommend you check out the COMPLETE LISTING at the website.

Regular screenings………… $12 / PFS Members $10
Weekday matinees (before 5pm) ……….. $6 / PFS Members $5
The Graveyard Shift…………. $6.66 / PFS Members $5

SAVE $2 off Regular Ticket Price by using Reelblack’s Discount Code REELPFF23

Thanks to the generous support of the Wyncote Foundation, PFS is once again proud to present “PFF On Us,” the 23rd Philadelphia Film Festival’s free ticket program that offers complimentary tickets to the American Independents and Documentaries screening categories. Getting your free tickets is easy! Reserve your free tickets online, over the phone, or at any festival box office.

Of specific interest to Reelblack fans are

BEYOND THE LIGHTS 10/23  7pm Ritz East

Feeling both familiar and original, Beyond the Lights is an inspirational romantic drama focused on a rising superstar within the music industry.

Noni Jean (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, brilliant in Spring Showcase favorite Belle), is the hot new award-winning artist, primed for superstardom. However, all is not what it seems. Noni’s career has been shaped from childhood, constantly and forcefully driven forward by her strong and determined manager-mother (Minnie Driver). The pressures of the industry mount, pushing Noni to the edge of breakdown, until she meets Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker), a promising young cop and aspiring politician who is assigned to her security detail. Immediately drawn to each other, Noni and Kaz cannot resist seeking a deeper connection, despite the protests of their families and advisors. The latest from writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (director of Love & Basketball, and The Secret Life of Bees), Beyond the Lights captures the seductive chemistry between Mbatha-Raw and Parker while telling the story of a forbidden romance complete with the believable ups and downs that go with a life as the world’s newest diva.

GIRLHOOD (French w/ English Subtitles) 10/18 4:50pm Ritz East | 10/26 12:30pm Ritz East

Girlhood is the story of shy French teen Marieme, who learns to assert herself with the help of three girls who lure her into a gang.

An international film festival favorite, Girlhood follows Marieme, an insecure French teen, as she struggles to find her inner strength and identity. When three girls welcome Marieme into their group, she jumps at the chance, even after she discovers that they are in a gang and expect her to join them. Marieme takes to gang life with relish, and though her behavior is increasingly violent and self-destructive, she also finds it empowering to be in control of her life. Director Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) is a master at capturing the weird and wonderful, painful and poignant experience of being an adolescent girl. Girlhood exhibits a depth in the characters that allow the film to transcend the basics of the narrative arc and explore the complex relationships of girls. Girlhood vibrates with the fervent energy of its characters, hip-hop music, and fluorescent-lit shopping malls without forgetting for a moment that youth can be a very dangerous game.

THE GOOD LIE 10/19 8pm Prince Music Theater

Four refugees from the Sudanese Civil War struggle to begin new lives and adapt to American culture with the help of their social worker Carrie Davis (Reese Witherspoon) after immigrating to Kansas City, Missouri, in this inspirational tale based on true stories of the Lost Boys of the Sudan.

Written by Boardwalk Empire screenwriter Margaret Nagle and directed by Philippe Falardeau (known for his 2011 Oscar-nominated Monsieur Lazhar), The Good Lie begins in 1983 as six orphaned children who survive a massacre in their village are forced to make the perilous trek thousands of miles on foot across Sudan, eventually finding asylum in a refugee camp across the Kenya border. Thirteen years later, the remaining members of the group are once again on the move - this time to America. There, aided by a spirited employment advisor played by Reese Witherspoon, and her boss Jack (Corey Stoll), they begin building new lives of hope and opportunity, facing each new challenge - finding a job, reuniting with a loved one, figuring out how to answer the phone - with good-natured humor and an unwavering resolve to prosper. In helping these Lost Boys find a new home, Carrie and Jack find more than just job success; they too become enriched. While Witherspoon might be the best-known actor in the cast, the film truly belongs to the four first-time Sudanese actors Arnold Oceng, Emmanuel Jal, Ger Duany, and Kuoth Wiel, each of whom lived through real-life circumstances similar to that of their characters. The authenticity of their performances, coupled with Nagle’s lively script and Falardeau’s sensitive direction, make The Good Lie a moving testament to the remarkable journey of Lost Boys everywhere.

RUN Tues 10/21 2:15pm Ritz East | Wednesday 10/22 9:40pm Ritz East

The current cultural and political climate in the Ivory Coast is fascinatingly explored through this pulse-pounding, coming-of-age fable about an enigmatic adolescent, Run, who assassinates the country’s prime minister and must flee the city.

Proudly announcing himself as an exciting new voice in African cinema, Philippe Lacôte opens his debut fiction feature with the titular character, Run, as he flees through the streets of Yamoussoukro, trying to escape the police after committing murder in a cathedral. Seamlessly navigating between past and present, Run’s life is recounted, beginning with his apprenticeship with a rainmaker. When his mentor sacrifices himself to the village elders, Run begins a lifetime of assuming new identities to survive. As political tensions rise, he becomes a member of the loosely nationalistic Young Patriots, a ragtag militia led by a man called the Admiral. As Run’s confidence and prominence in the group grows, he and the Admiral develop a violent rivalry that leads them to their eventual, terrifying fate. Employing a well-developed visual style and fantastical storytelling qualities, Lacôte structures Run’s story into an aesthetically rich and compelling triptych, traversing the geographical and societal terrain of a country in turmoil as a transient figure that is emblematic of the Ivory Coast itself.

IMPERIAL DREAMS Free (PFF ON US) 10/22 4:30pm Ritz Bourse | 10/23 7:15pm Ritz Bourse

After a stint in prison, an aspiring writer returns to the crime-ridden housing projects of Watts, Los Angeles, to try to make a better life for himself and his child in Malik Vitthal’s nuanced directorial debut.

British rising star John Boyega, who broke out in 2011’s Attack the Block and has been tapped for JJ Abrams’ Star Wars, is captivating as Bambi who, after two years in jail, is determined to become a writer and take care of his 4-year-old son. But, in a place like Watts, the odds are stacked high against him; between the bureaucratic nightmare of finding a legitimate job, constant harassment from the police, the threat of social services taking away his boy, and pressure from his family, the temptations loom large for Bambi to return to his former life. Can he find a better way to live despite the harsh realities of the inner city? Winner of the Best of NEXT Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and featuring an inspired score by Flying Lotus, this low-key, hopeful drama announces two new exciting talents in Vitthal and Boyega. Featuring KeKe Palmer.

Director Malik Vitthal in attendance.

CRESENDO! THE POWER OF MUSIC 10/20 3:00pm Ritz Bourse | 10/25 3:15pm Prince Music Theater

Crescendo! The Power of Music examines the impact of El Sistema, a youth orchestra program that has transformed the lives of disadvantaged children worldwide, based on the principle that music can be the engine for social change.

Since its inception in Venezuela in 1976, El Sistema has been putting instruments into the hands of at-risk children and has inspired similar programs to take shape around the world. This impassioned documentary follows three kids as they participate in a pair of Sistema-based programs in the United States. In West Philadelphia’s “Play On, Philly!,” we meet Raven, a young violinist with natural talent whose growing ego gets her in trouble. We also meet Zebadiah, who struggles to make friends, but whose social awkwardness is eventually transformed through the program. Meanwhile in New York, Harlem’s “Harmony Program” nurtures troubled Mohammed, a star trombonist whose academic struggles threaten his participation in after-school classes. As we witness the children discover themselves through the power of music, we see art’s transformative power and the effect it can have during one of life’s most crucial stages.

Director Jamie Bernstein in attendance on 10/25.


Join us after this powerful and captivating film to experience the phenomenal success of these programs with a post-screening live performance and discussion.

DEEP CITY: THE BIRTH OF THE MIAMI SOUND 10/24 12:30pm Ritz East | 10/25 8:20pm Ritz East

A rousing story exploring the birth of soul music in Miami, Deep City documents the musicians creating this unique sound and their contributions to the historical music scene.

Alongside the rise of iconic record companies Motown in Detroit and Stax in Memphis, the 1960s and 1970s saw explosions in the popularity of soul music throughout the country, with Miami being home to one of the lesser-known, long forgotten, but just as impressive scenes. Until now. Deep City tells the story of Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall, two producers who met in college and later partnered to form Deep City Records. It was the first black-owned record label in Florida, and it operated out of Pearsall’s record store. Mixing toe-tapping music and archival footage with new interviews that document the songwriters, performers, and entrepreneurs of the Miami soul scene, Deep City is an enjoyable look at a little-known entry in the history of American music.

Directors Marlon Johnson and Chad Tingle and subject Willie Clarke in attendance.


Reelblack and Lionsgate are giving one lucky reader a copy of SCHOOL DANCE, out now on DVD.

The hilarious updated retelling of West Side Story set in a multi-cultural environment, School Dance, will arrive on DVD (plus Digital) on October 7 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. School Dance is currently available on Digital HD and Video On Demand. The directorial debut from Nick Cannon (TV’s “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out,” TV’s “America’s Got Talent”) features a who’s who of urban comedy kings including Bobb’e J. Thompson (Role Models, TV’s “30 Rock”), Luenell (Think Like A Man, Think Like A Man Too), Mike Epps (The Hangover, Next Friday), George Lopez (TV’s “George Lopez,” The Smurfs), Katt Williams (Scary Movie 5, Friday After Next), Kristinia DeBarge (Christmas in Compton), Amber Rose (Gang Of Roses 2), Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite, Casa de mi Padre), Affion Crockett (A Haunted House, Soul Men), Patrick Warburton (TV’s “The Rules of Engagement,” TV’s “Family Guy”) and Wilmer Valderrama (TV’s “That 70’s Show,” TV’s “From Dusk Till Dawn”).

High school freshman Jason (Thompson) has just found the girl of his dreams Anastacia (DeBarge), but there is one problem. She has no idea he exists. He is pretty sure he has found a solution though: join the school’s hottest dance crew, which will be no easy feat. Before he can get his shot he will have to overcome his battle-ax of a mom, survive Anastacia’s gangsta brother and pass the crew’s initiation; will Jason be able to get through all of these obstacles and get his shot with the girl?


The winner will be selected at random and notified Friday.  Good luck!

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