RBTV’s Mike D. sat down with filmmaker ADAM LEON to discuss his feature debut, GIMME THE LOOT at the 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival.  Camera by Craig Carpenter. Opens in NY/LA March 22.  In Philadelphia April 5.

Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are the ultimate graffiti-writers. When a rival gang buffs their latest masterpiece, they must hatch a plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark, but they need to raise $500 to pull off their spectacular scheme.

Over the course of two whirlwind, sun-soaked summer days, Malcolm and Sofia travel on an epic urban adventure involving black market spray cans, illicit bodegas, stolen sneakers, a high wire heist, and a beautiful, rich girl’s necklace that is literally their key to becoming the biggest writers in the City.



On Tuesday April 2 at 7pm, Reelblack, Philly’s #1 promoter of African-American will present the Philadelphia premiere of AM I BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU: THE BILLY PAUL STORY. Screening will take place at International House, 3701 Chestnut Street in University City. The movie’s subjects, Philly Soul legend BILLY PAUL and his wife, BLANCHE WILLIAMS will be in attendance to sign DVDs and participate in a post-film Q&A moderated by WRNB-FM’s DYANA WILLIAMS.

At International House 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Tickets are $10 General Admission, $8 Students & Seniors , FREE for IHP and Reelblack Season 10 members.

Am I Black Enough For You (2009/87 min/dir. Göran Olsson / Shown on DVD). PHILADELPHIA PREMIERE. Preceded by the short film, COLOR ME IN (2013/10min/ Shown in HD) by Sharvon Urbannavage, starring Kai Davis.

The first feature from filmmaker Göran Olsson (The Black Power Mixtape), Am I Black Enough for You tells the story about the artist Billy Paul, the city of Philadelphia and the lifelong companionship between Billy and his wife Blanche. It’s a film about love, marriage, about life’s complications. The film follows the story of Billy Paul’s song ‘Am I Black Enough for You’. The song was the second single, a follow up to the classic ‘Mrs. Jones’ a number one and smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic. On release ‘Am I Black Enough for You’ flopped, a failure that nearly cost Billy his career. Am I Black Enough For You offers never-before-seen insight into the now legendary Philadelphia R&B scene which produced some of the most successful songs/albums in modern popular culture.

While this film has been shown on international TV and released on DVD in the states, this is the first time it is being shown in Mr. Paul’s adopted hometown.

Tickets can be pre-ordered at

Opening This Weekend - The Sapphires, Tyler Perry’s Temptation and Cleaver Family Reunion

Of interest to Reelblack fans is the local opening of three new releases.  THE SAPPHIRES is the super-entertaining musical comedy from down under.  Based on the true story of an Aboriginal girl group that performed for the troops in Vietnam, it won 11 Austrailian Film Institute awards.  Reelblack had a chance to talk to the director of the film, WAYNE BLAIR.  This is definitely the one to check out this weekend.

Also opening is TYLER PERRY’S TEMPTATION (Not Previewed) which looks promising.  JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL (Eve’s Bayou) and LANCE GROSS (The Last Fall) star.

Opening exclusively at the AMC Loews Cherry Hill is CLEAVER FAMILY REUNION (Not Previewed) from indie producer H.M. Coakley (Holla).  In this African-American comedy, a delightfully dysfunctional family settles their differences after a series of hilarious misadventures surrounding the annual, summer reunion.

Storm Saulter & Sheldon Shepard - Uncompromising Creativity and BETTER MUS’ COME

RBTV’s exclusive interview with filmmaker STORM SAULTER and lead actor SHELDON SHEPHERD during their stop in Philly to promote the release of their award-winning hit, BETTER MUS’ COME. Camera: Craig Carpenter.  Lighting: William Tucker.


AFFRM founder AVA DUVERNAY is in the running to receive $20,000 from the Tribeca Film Institute as part of their partnership with Heineken to foster and promote the works of African-American filmmakers.

A vote for Ava is a vote for AFFRM as she has pledged to invest 100% of the award into AFFRM to aid our continued distribution of diverse works made by independent black filmmakers.

Voting ends Friday, March 29 and you may vote once a day.  We hope you will vote and spread the word to others who care about our images.

Vote Here:


I’ve always been a fan of filmmaker Michel Gondry. As a fan of his eclectic music videos for artists Bjork, The White Stripes and Daft Punk, the arrival of a feature film bearing his name is always an occasion for glee. With the exception of the loud and juvenile GREEN HORNET, Gondry’s features are little gems. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP and BE KIND REWIND are novel confections where stories mix with dream in often playful ways. His latest film, THE WE AND THE I, opens today at the Ritz at The Bourse. In some ways it is the French auteur’s most grounded film to date, and in others his most adventurous.

The film is collaboration between Gondry and the kids at THE POINT, an afterschool program in the Bronx. The film, fueled by soundtrack of late 80s hip-hop (mostly by Young M.C.) has a vibrant energy. The story revolves around the conversations that take place on the MTA bus on the last day of school for a bunch of high school juniors and seniors. The kids, who (I suspect) play variations of their real life personalities, are expertly cast. The script is credited to Gondry and two others but clearly has been influenced by the way these kids interact. Much in the way BE KIND, REWIND used VHS technology, THE WE AND THE I uses the ubiquity of handheld devices to develop its story. There’s a clever scene where a classmates misfortune (captured on camera phone) “goes viral” on the bus. Within seconds, everyone on the bus is laughing at the clip, save for one girl, who for some reason has been outcast.

As I was watching THE WE AND THE I, I thought of earlier films like KIDS (1995) and THE COOL WORLD (1964)—two other New York Stories that used non-professional actors to capture the zeitgeist of their times. While some scenes work better than others, the movie flows with an energy and pace that feels just right. The film is expertly crafted—Gondry understands the timeless insecurities and angst that we all face as teenagers. He flavors his story with the rhythm, dialect and issues of today.

Don’t be the only one on the bus not to know what’s happening. Put this one on your radar. Like KIDS (Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson) and THE COOL WORLD (Antonio Fargas, Clarence Williams III, Gloria Foster) Several of the fresh faces in THE WE AND THE I will go on to stardom. Recommended. Now Playing in Philly at the Ritz at the Bourse.

Bilal - “Never Be The Same (Live In Philly)”

Interview With Director Wayne Blair of THE SAPPHIRES

Just as African-American filmmaking has blossomed in the past 10 years, there has been a major push to tell stories by Indigenous Australians that has reached the tipping point with THE SAPPHIRES.  Directed by actor-turned filmmaker WAYNE BLAIR, it swept the Australian equivalent of the Oscars, winning 11 awards including Best Film and Best Direction.  In this exclusive clip, RBTV’s Mike D. chats with Blair, discussing the film and the rise of films by people of color Down Under.

THE SAPPHIRES will be released theatrically in NYC and LA on Mach 22 and expand to other cities (including Philly) on March 29.

Photographed by Craig Carpenter and Phillip Todd.


For those who missed last Friday’s screening of THE REAL NINA SIMONE, the book we gave away can now be purchased online for only $14.95 postpaid.  FOR WOMEN: IN TRIBUTE TO NINA SIMONE is an excellent read/great gift idea.  CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

Debra Powell-Wright published a collection of short stories and poems that will address issues of relationships, racism, sexuality, and concepts of beauty as told from the perspective of 26 contributors of American, African, African-Caribbean, and Black British descent who live around the world. The collection, For Women—In Tribute to Nina Simone, was inspired by Debra’s essay, “Four Women—For Women: Black Women All Grown Up,” published in the anthology by Dr. Carol E. Henderson, Examining The Black Female Body, which examines the lyrics of Nina Simone’s 1966 Civil Rights era classic, Four Women, and Talib Kweli’s year 2000 hip-hop tribute, For Women. An accomplished spoken word artist and poetry writing workshop facilitator, Debra’s work has also appeared in Essence Magazine, The African, and BMA: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Journal.

Movie Meetup - NOTHING BUT A MAN 3/20 at I House

What: NOTHING BUT A MAN (1964) Restored 35mm Print Screening

Where: International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

When: Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 7:00pm

Cost: $9.00 adults/ $7 Students, Seniors and Reelblack Seasn 10 Members.  For info on becoming a Season 10 Member, visit

One of the greatest African-American films of all times is screening Wednesday at INTERNATIONAL HOUSE.  Let’s show our support by doing a group outing.  Let’s meet afterward at CHILLI’s 38th and Chestnut for discussion and giveaways.  Everything is “Dutch Treat” meaning you are individually responsible for purchasing your tickets and meals.

Nothing But a Man

An Artists Public Domain/Cinema Conservancy Release of a Cinedigm/New Video Film. Restored by Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation.

dir. Michael Roemer, US, 1964, 35mm, 92 min., b&w

Michael Roemer’s landmark independent film follows the ups and downs of Duff Anderson, a young black man struggling to survive in the recently desegregated American south of the 1960s. Co-starring jazz singer Abbey Lincoln in her acting debut, Nothing But a Man is a poignant drama that far exceeds its pocket-sized budget.

Photo credit: APD/Cinema Conservancy

Pre-order tickets at

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