My Thoughts on the Passing of Chuck Berry

19 Mar

 

In the coming days, many attempts will be made to diminish Chuck Berry’s musical legacy through faint praise. But don’t be fooled. The mason who expertly crafted the only thing besides the Constitution that America is truly, deeply proud of has just died. Sex, drugs or the music itself didn’t kill Chuck Berry. He passed away at a ripe old age that those whose lives and careers are fashioned after his music rarely get to see. Chuck Berry’s innovative guitar, songwriting, vocals and dance have influenced everyone who witnessed his work. So much so, that he would arrive into the places he played at as a lone star, and his band was universal: it was the local musicians in every city or town he played in, whom he required nothing of except that they know his music. In turn, the one thing that could make rock musicians into legends was to be the closest thing possible to Chuck Berry, minus the African ancestry. His existence was so fundamental to the making of rock ‘n’ roll that submerging his legacy was fundamental to its myth. The problem was that Chuck Berry just wouldn’t die. Through each attempt of this culture define what rock ‘n’ roll is and who created it, Chuck Berry was still around to negate the lie. They even had to invent a future with a Marty McFly in it to travel back in time and teach Chuck’s fictitious cousin Marvin the “new sound he was looking for.” But Chuck Berry can never truly be diminished nor can he really die, because his music lives. And every time they try to crown a king of that music, the Pharaoh’s legacy becomes unearthed. xo

 

by Olufunmilayo Gittens

March 19, 2017

“Choices” to Screen in Links WADFF Film Festival

1 May

Screening of CHOICES web series Webisodes 5 and 6

Image

 CHOICES will be showcased during the 2:45 pm Narrative Shorts: New Visions program block of the The Brooklyn Chapter of the Links, Inc. annual Women of African Descent Film Festival (WADFF) at LIU Brooklyn, at Flatbush & DeKalb Aves. The Festival runs all day on Sat, May 3 2014 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Link at http://tinyurl.com/lvum75e

The Festival is in its 13th year, and features a wonderful array of documetnary, narrative and animated films by African American women, and a special Youth Film Festival.

The event is free and open to the public; no RSVP required.

Choices – The Series (Webisdes 5 and 6) CHOICES (choicestheseries.com) is an award-winning web soap opera, told in the form of short dramas with intertwined story lines. In these two webisodes, manicurist Cathy and long-time customer Shanelle wrestle with ethical questions surrounding their pregnancies. Meanwhile at a fancy boutique, Shervonne, a nanny’s daughter, reconnects with Regan, the woman her mother took care of as a child, and find out they have very different ideas about this woman who was “the help”. We also meet business magnate Chapman and social activist Motulsky, two old prep school buddies who reconnect on the cusp of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Starring: Kristen Hung as Cathy, Danyel Fulton as Shanelle, Kianne Muschett as Shervonne, Elisa Pupko as Regan, Scott T. Miller as Chapman and Joshua Feinberg as Motulsky.

“Choices” to Screen in AAWIC Film Festival

20 Nov

AAWIC_2013Choices Webisode 1: A Special Night for Us” will screen in the African American Women in Cinema film festival on
Thursday, November 21st, 2013 at ImageNation’s RAW SPACE, 2031 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (7th Avenue Between 121st & 122nd), 12:00noon-1:30pm. It will be featured in the Webisode Competition hosted by Al Thompson of “Lenox Avenue.”
http://aawic.org/Home_Page.html

Quote

Lions Gate finds sucess targeting Latino audiences

25 Sep

“A lot of people will say this film came out of nowhere, but we spent a lot of time and energy marketing the film to our core audience.”
-Paul Presburger, Pantelion CEO

http://variety.com/2013/film/news/hollywood-gets-instructions-from-latino-audiences-1200665085/

“Instructions Not Included” recently surpised the box office and became the #1 movie in America and highest grossing Spanish language film in the U.S. to date. Pantelion the Lions Gate-backed distributor targeting Latino audiences, marketed the film. The approach in releasing the film was a brilliant move on Lions Gate’s part to woo Latino audiences in a way that attracts families and women to the box office — not unlike their approach to marketing African American fims vis-a-vis Tyler Perry. 

Instructions Not Included vs Tyler Perry

Films geared to audiences of color with an interest in family — with the right balance of humor, culture, and compelling themes — can be a recipe  for success!

-O.G.

Product Demo Videos for premiere hair product company Ruth’s Beauty

29 May

Oh Gee Productions has teamed up with Ruth’s Beauty, leading maker of high quality lacefront wigs, to create Ruth’s Beauty TV, a series of videos that showcase their premiere product lines. Ruth’s Beauty stands out for their specialty human hair wigs that are hand tied and realistic, with a variety of textures and colors for all ethnicities.

The videos — shot in high definition video in a state-of-the- art New York City production studio — allow those new to the line, as well as Ruth’s Beauty’s loyal following of customers, to connect with their products and find out more about them.

See Ruth’s Beauty TV and also be sure to ‘Like’ the Ruth’s Beauty Facebook Page!

-O.G.

Urban Hollywood Entertainment (UHE TV) features CHOICES

13 Mar

Urban Hollywood Entertainment UHE TVCHOICES TV & Web Series is now featured on premiere online channel Urban Hollywood Entertainment. UHE TV is a multimedia network whose mission is to use a diversified platform to reach viewers from all walks of life. It is available on satellite TV via the DISH Network.

-O.G.

Special thanks to Shirley Burris

LINKS:

http://uhetv.com/

Production wraps on ‘Brothers on the Phone’

4 Mar
Corwin Moore

Comedian Corwin Moore

This weekend, we wrapped production on the short film Brothers on the Phone: What About Her? written and executive produced by comedy writer Corwin Moore (Saturday Night Live, Uptown Comedy Club) and directed by yours truly. Brothers on the Phone: What About Her? is the first in the Brothers on the Phone series, and it centers on two best friends, a likeable homeboy who is single and his best friend, a married guy with an “I don’t give a f*” approach to life. These two brothers on the phone talk about the single guy’s tough time finding Ms. Right, a new spin on the topic of finding The One, with flashbacks to his experiences with different women.

After meeting with Moore and finding out what he wanted to accomplish with the piece, I was excited to once again direct comedy. For those who’ve been following my work, you know that last year I directed the comedy thriller Trust No One.  As a director whose authored work is dramatic, I enjoy these opportunities to direct comedy. The two genres actually have some similarities when it comes to directing (more on that later). What’s best is the chance to make people laugh.

-O.G.

Brothers on the Phone: What About Her?  Executive Producer Corwin Moore. Producers Ty Powell and Nicole Sylvester. Directed by Olu Gittens. Starring Corwin Moore, Shanise Beck, Mia Anderson, Mieke Stapelton, Afiya Wilson and James Egbute.

Cultural Entrepreneur Roland Lair passes

14 Feb

Roland LairdI was saddened to find out about the passing of Roland Laird, CEO of MIST (My Image Studios) a multi-million dollar, state of the art film center in Harlem, and co-owner/founder entertainment firm Posro Media, which promoted positive images of African Americans though a number of multimedia initiatives. Roland was a fellow alum of Brown University whom I met through our Inman Page Council, Brown’s African American alumni network. A genuine person with a passion for film, Roland took an interest in my work and offered advice and encouragement. Roland was an entrepreneur, author, activist, supporter of the arts, family man, and friend to many.

He leaves behind his wife Taneisha Nash Laird, with whom he co-founded MIST and Posro, and two beautiful daughters. He will be greatly missed.

-O.G.

LINKS:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/uptown-roland-owen-laird-harlem-mist-dead-age-52-article-1.1266559

http://www.trentonian.com/article/20130208/news01/130209627/laird-146-s-passing-mourned-in-two-cities

http://www.posro.com/?page_id=75

http://www.blacksci-fi.com/news/article/the_industry_remembers_roland_laird/

Video

TV show ‘30 Frames a Second’ Interviews the Cast of TRUST NO ONE

23 Nov

Producer and Host Nat Wood of TV show 30 Frames a Second interviews the cast of ‘TRUST NO ONE’ about the dynamic stage play. Guests: Stephfon Guidry, Olu Gittens, Kai Baltimore and Mario Melgare.

Come see ‘TRUST NO ONE’ 4 shows only! Nov 24-25, 2012

2 Nov

Come see TRUST NO ONE, the Chance Anderson comedy thriller I’m directing. Great script! Great cast! Nov 24-25, 2012 at the American Theatre of Actors at 314 W.54th St NYC. 4 shows only! Sat, Nov 24 & Sun, Nov 25, 3pm & 8pm.

TRUST NO ONE, presented by What’s the “T”?, is a comedy thriller about 2 best friends – a gay guy and a straight girl – who fall for the same man… a food delivery guy with a shady past.

TICKETS: $25 in advance, $30 at door. TIX & INFO: 646-810-0001. Go to http://whatsthet.org/ for EventBrite ticket purchase links.
Written & Originated by the late Chance Anderson. Directed by Olu Gittens. Starring: Stephfon Guidry, Dominique Darrell, Shanise Beck, Tavarius Graves, Kai Baltimore & Stephani Ouzts.