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Wendy Williams Staying in a Sober House; George Clooney Defends Meghan Markle [411TV NEWS]

What's The 411 QUICK TAKES: Howard Stern on Wendy Williams; Michael Jackson's family may sue the producers of Leaving Neverland and more

In this episode of What's The 411’s Quick Takes, award-winning journalist Kizzy Cox, and comedian Onika McLean are talking about Wendy Williams and her admission that she has been staying in a Sober House; radio shock-jock, Howard Stern who went in on Wendy Williams after she says he’s gone Hollywood and lost his edge; actor, filmmaker and businessman, George Clooney, put his protective shield around Ms. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, as he believes the British press is treating her like it treated Princess Diana, and; the late Michael Jackson’s children, Paris Jackson; Prince Jackson, and; Prince Michael Jackson; may sue Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and the other producers of Leaving Neverland.

Wonder Park is wonderful! [MOVIE REVIEW]

June Bailey, played by newcomer, Brianna Denski, is a precocious and creative eight-year-old, visualizes and creates a model for a magical amusement park she calls, Wonder Park. One day while traveling with her math camp class on a field trip, she decides that the outing just isn’t for her. With the help of a classmate, she creates a diversion and exits the school bus and heads home. She takes a shortcut through the woods and what does she find? A place called Wonderland that has all the rides and characters from her imaginary place, Wonder Park. But things aren’t quite the way she dreamed of - and Wonderland residents look to her for answers.

Wonder Park is a computer-animated adventure film full of vivid colors and lively characters and it’s a See It! I like the fact that the genius in this story is a girl. Traditionally these roles have been filled by boys.

The story is busy. June deals with family issues, annoying relatives, a pesky neighbor, not to mention finding her dream landscape is actually a bit of a nightmare. Kids today expect intriguing plots and subplots like this film offers. The days of Bugs Bunny simply trying to foil Elmer Fudd are long gone!

As a parent, one aspect of the film troubled me: June escaping the school trip and then taking a shortcut through the woods to get home. That’s not recommended behavior. The target market for the film is kids and they can be easily influenced.

In addition to Brianna Denski, Ken Hudson Campbell, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Jennifer Garner, and Matthew Broderick, star and provide voices for the characters.

Wonder Park is rated PG for some mild thematic elements and action and it’s 86 minutes in length. Wonder Park is a See It!

The Aftermath is entertaining after all! [MOVIE REVIEW]

It’s 1946. World War II has ended. To the victors go the spoils. The winning British are in Germany governing the losing Germans. Colonel Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) leads the British efforts to bring order to the City of Hamburg. Morgan’s wife, Rachel (Keira Knightley) arrives from England where the two reunite to begin their post-war lives together. The British Government, as it has a right to do, takes over a mansion owned by a German architect, Stefan Lubert, (Alexander Skarsgård). This becomes the Colonel and his wife’s new home. There are camps set up for displaced Germans like Lubert, a widower, and his daughter who resides with him. However, Morgan, much to his wife’s chagrin, allows the Luberts to stay in the mansion’s attic. From that point, The Aftermath begins, with the characters confronting a range of conflicts and challenges.

The Aftermath succeeds not because it’s an exceptional production, but because it’s a refreshing change from current film experiences. It’s a period piece. And, the re-creation of worn-torn Germany, the story’s highlighting of the continued hostilities between the forces even though the war has officially ended – give the movie a value which underlies the main storyline.

The character conflicts are real and compelling. Lewis and Rachel debate a loss they suffered. Stefan tries to convince his daughter that they are actually lucky to be in the attic. Then there’s tension between Rachel and Stefan. Lewis is often away from home carrying out his military duties. So, one has to question his leaving Rachel in the mansion with the taller and better-looking Stefan.

Each of the lead actors proffers strong performances. Ultimately, The Aftermath comes together in an entertaining and even a bit educational way. And it gets our highest rating, See It!

The Aftermath is rated R for sexual content/nudity, and violence including some disturbing images and is 108 minutes in length.

High Profile Men Behaving Badly [WhatsThe411TV VIDEO]

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Tristan Thompson evades scrutiny; in separate cases, R. Kelly, Robert Kraft, and Jussie Smollett facing criminal charges

In this episode of What's The 411, award-winning journalist, Kizzy Cox, and comedian, Onika McLean are talking about R. Kelly; Tristan Thompson, Khloe Kardashian, Jordyn Woods; Jussie Smollett, Lee Daniels, Queen Latifah; the television show, Empire; Robert Kraft and his prostitution charge, and; the New York City Commission on Human Rights passage of new guidelines making Black hair legal.

Greta. No need to be in a hurry to see her. | MOVIE REVIEW

Someone leaves a handbag on a New York City subway. Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) retrieves it and returns it to the owner, Greta, (Isabelle Huppert). The two women quickly form a bond. When Frances learns that their encounter wasn’t the by chance event she thought, she distances herself from her new friend. But Greta isn’t the easy come, easy go, type of woman and becomes obsessed with maintaining a bond with Frances.

Greta contains all of the clichés of horror films. There’s the nice well-meaning victim, Frances and her sinister nemesis, Greta. In this film genre, villains are always capable of feats of great strength, always one step of head of others, and never seem to have anything else to do in their lives but to pursue their victim(s).

It’s also troubling when films have non-credible aspects. Frances is new to New York, gullible and naive to the dangers of big city life. But then she references being from Boston. Really? Boston is not exactly a small town. It would have been easy to have her hail from any of thousands of towns and villages.

As to the acting, to make the film work, Chloe Grace Moretz has to be a character who garners viewers’ sympathy. She does. Alternatively, Isabelle Huppert, in the title role, has to be evil. She is, in the most exquisite way. Together they create the necessary drama and suspense.

Greta gets a B+ in cast diversity. It’s a small cast; so there are a limited number of characters. However, there are many people of color in supporting roles and background scenes.

When films are set in New York City, I always subject them to a New York City Realism Test. In a Gwyneth Paltrow film, she rode the G train through Manhattan. Wrong. The G train only goes between Brooklyn and Queens.

In Greta, nothing stands as not authentically New York. The writers even explain how two young women like Frances and her roommate are able to afford the large, comfortable loft where they live; her roommate’s father bought it for her.

The verdict on Greta: It’s a Rent It. No need to see it now. If you have the opportunity to see later, through some other venue, do it. It’s not a must see now.

Greta is 98 minutes long and rated R.

Apollo 11 is a trip you should take | MOVIE REVIEW

Apollo 11 is a documentary focusing on the historic 1969 Apollo 11 mission, to the moon. The film consists solely of archival footage that was previously unreleased to the public and does not feature narration or interviews. The stars are the three astronauts who made the voyage: Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. aka Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins.

Apollo 11 is educational and mildly entertaining. There’s no mystery as to how this adventure is going to turn out. It’s truly amazing as to how many components of this project, years in the making, had to come together for this mission to succeed. It’s also intriguing to listen to conversations between the astronauts in outer space and control stations in Houston. In addition to the serious informational exchanges, there was light-hearted banter.

The film also captures a time when more people smoked, men, wore shirts and ties and women, dresses, even in casual settings.

There will be some viewers who will bask in the imagery of a large number of technicians, scientist, mathematicians and laborers who worked on this project: hundreds of white men, approximately 20 black men and a handful of Asians. No women. Yep, to some, those were the good ole days!

But we also know from the 2016 film, Hidden Figures, that women played an important role in America’s space program.

Apollo 11 is a CNN film and is a See It! It’s Rated G and is 93 minutes.

10 Films To Be On The Lookout For In 2019 | What’s The 411 - New Movies

Jordan Peele is back with another thriller, and you get at least two opportunities to see Taraji P. Henson and Michael Ealy in movies in 2019

 

1. What Men Want

What Men Want is a twist on Mel Gibson’s 2001 movie, What Women Want, and is the story of a female sports agent (Taraji P. Henson) who has been constantly edged out by her male colleagues. Once she learns to listen to men’s thoughts, she shifts her strategy in her race to sign the NBA’s next LeBron James. Among the costars is Richard Roundtree who back in the 70s played John Shaft who was a bad mother. . . shut your mouth! Just remembering Shaft!

What Men Want is expected to open on February 8, 2019. 

2. The Upside

Inspired by a true story and based upon a hit 2011 French film, The Upside stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston in a warm comedy about a recently paroled ex-convict who begins an unlikely friendship with a paralyzed billionaire. Bet you can guess who plays the ex-con and who’s the billionaire. The Upside opens on January 11, 2019. 

3. Us 

After his provocative 2017 megahit Get Out there was no doubt that Jordan Peele would be back writing and directing, but he's holding the storyline for Us close to the vest. Nevertheless, we do know, it will be a thriller and it stars Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss, and Black Panther’s Winston Duke. Us is scheduled to be released in the United States on March 22, 2019, but if you’re going to South by Southwest, you might be able to catch the World Premiere of Us on March 8, 2019. 

4. Pet Sematary

This a remake of the 1989 film based upon Stephen King’s seminal horror novel, Pet Sematary. This version is set in rural Maine where Dr. Louis Creed, his wife, Rachel, and their two young children find a mysterious graveyard hidden deep in the woods near the family home. When tragedy hits the family, the doctor turns to his eccentric neighbor, Jud Crandall for advice, setting off a horrific series of events that the doctor could have never imagined. Pet Sematary opens on April 5, 2019, and stars, Jason Clark and Jon Lithgow

5. Jacob’s Ladder

After his brother dies in combat, Jacob Singer, played by the blue-eyed brother, Michael Ealy, returns home from battle-worn Afghanistan only to fall into a deep state of paranoia as he comes to believe that his brother is still alive, and life is not what it seems. Jacob’s Ladder, a remake of the 1990 film of the same name, doesn’t have a release date as of yet. However, the film’s distributor, LD Entertainment, says Jacob’s Ladder is expected to open in 2019.

6. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

A fun-filled family reunion becomes a disaster as Madea and her kin travel to backwoods Georgia, where they plan a funeral that could unearth some deep dark family secrets. Of course, Tyler Perry heads the cast in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral, along with Courtney Burrell, Patrice Lovely, and Ciera Payton. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral opens on March 1, 2019.

7. The Best of Enemies

Inspired by the true events during the civil rights era, The Best of Enemies stars Taraji P. Henson as Ann Atwater, a fiercely determined civil rights activist in North Carolina, and Sam Rockwell as the Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan. The two conduct a 10-year battle, which ends in an abrupt and unlikely way in 1971. The Best of Enemies is based on the book, The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South by Osha Gray Davidson opens on April 5, 2019. 

8. The Intruder

Michael Ealy (yes, him again) and Meaghan Good star in The Intruder, a psychological thriller about a young married couple who buys a beautiful Napa Valley home only to find that the previous owner (Dennis Quaid) simply won’t let the property go and will stop at nothing to drive them out. The Intruder opens on May 3, 2019. 

9. Fighting With My Family

Fighting With My Family is based on the 2012 documentary, The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family, depicting the WWE career of the professional wrestler, Paige. The movie stars Florence Pugh as Paige, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson makes an appearance. Fighting With My Family opens at Sundance on January 28, 2019, and nationwide on February 14, 2019.

10. Aladdin

The musical romantic fantasy Aladdin returns. Having been released in an animated version in 2017, this edition features real living and breathing humans. Aladdin stars Mena Massoud as the title character alongside Will Smith as the Genie.

Filmmaker Stefanie Joshua on Gentrification, and Bushwick Homecomings: The Record

Crime, drugs, and structured dissociation are among topics discussed with filmmaker Stefanie Joshua about her new film, Bushwick Homecomings: The Record [Video Discussion]

Following is an abbreviated transcript from filmmaker and documentarian, Stefanie Joshua’s interview with Luvon Roberson, What’s The 411’s art and culture correspondent.

Luvon: With me tonight is Stefanie Joshua, who's the filmmaker of Bushwick Homecomings: The Record. So, Stefanie, welcome.

Stefanie: Thank you very much.

Luvon: I want to jump right in with the why. Why this film, Bushwick Homecomings: The Record 10 years after your first film (Bushwick Homecomings) which also looked at gentrification in Bushwick?

Stefanie: Well, I would say that gentrification is a theme in the film, but it touches on so much more attention on people's lives specifically a small cohort of people who were in the original film. But the reason why a few different reasons. One, the timing was right. I made the first film in 2006 and the film had a lot of kind of prophecies of what might happen in that 10-year period and so it was natural that at some point that I revisit this to see actually what did happen. Is what was projected to happen did that come to fruition? So that was the first reason, another reason was that there had been some occurrences in the community in Bushwick in terms of changes, you know, it's part of the film the second part of the film opens with the declaration of Vogue for claiming Bushwick as the 7th coolest place in the world. Vogue magazine and some other things that occurred in Bushwick and if you grew up in New York, if you're familiar, if you grew up in Brooklyn, you know. And, most people tell me, my friends who lived in Bed-Stuy and East New York and Brownsville, I kind of consider them the cousins of Brooklyn (Bushwick). They even thought that Bushwick like in the hierarchy of things, you know, they felt like Bushwick, it's kind of at the low end of the totem pole and that says a lot. So to go from that to being the seventh coolest place in the world by Vogue, which they proclaimed I think in 2016 and then the massive, you know changes and shifts in population, which I kind of follow and incorporate into the film. I knew that this was the time to revisit this topic and kind of check back in on what's going on in Bushwick.

Luvon: In that film, that first film which was about what 12 years ago, 2006?

Stefanie: 2006.

Luvon: Okay, you feature five young black men who tell their story of Bushwick in the 1970s 1980s and what was going on. How did they come to be in your first?

Stefanie: Okay. Well at the time that I made the first film I was completing, I was in graduate school and I was completing my master's degree in sociology and social research, specifically. It was at City College, and you know, shout out to City College, they have an amazing sociology program and I was first inspired by a paper I had to write there. It was a pretty famous class. I think it still runs at City College. It's called People of the City of New York, and this class asked each person to study a group and you had to produce a pretty lengthy paper. And, in creating that paper, it sparked my interest in what kind of motivated change within communities. And, I was sociology major. I was doing my research in delinquency and specifically, I was interested in learning about…I had a friend who was, who I guess was superficially successful, had gone to a really good school. We were having a conversation about why he had success versus others who did not have as much success. He really attributed it to the school he went to and some other things and I thought about it. I thought some of it has to do with where you lived and what came across your path. I think that so many people are bright and gifted but when you live in a neighborhood where there are so many obstacles, you know, crime, other things that change your trajectory. It's not the only thing but it does impact your trajectory. So that interested me. And, so I was writing a paper about delinquency and studying what were the causes for young men, because delinquencies, most predominantly involve young men. Crime. Why? What were the triggers for people to, young men to be involved in crime and have these records? You know criminal records. So, in studying that topic, I interviewed a lot more people. But the five in the film, many of them don't have a history with crime, but I wanted to ask them the same questions and develop a pattern of what they all experience and how it may have impacted outcomes, impacted their opportunities. So that was the original paper and studying their experiences, growing up, taking the train to school going through Broadway Junction on the L, J A, C-line in Brooklyn. That's how that paper began and I felt like it would make a good visual narrative, a story. And, in writing my thesis, this is my Master's thesis, I recorded all of the interviews because I knew it would be easier for me to transcribe it if I had recorded them.

Luvon: So, how did these particular five men, I want to cut to the chase because when you see which I know you will What's The 411 viewers, when you see it, it's on the festival circuit now, Bushwick Homecomings: The Record.
But these five black young black men, you talk about some of them being drug dealers. Some of them being drug users. Some of them selling guns. They talk about the crack epidemic. They talked about how violent it was. So how did they come to be publicly sharing all of that?

Stefanie: You know, they all agreed, and I explained the project to them. So, in understanding that this might be a film project and I had taken a film course, a couple of editing courses, I explained that this would potentially be a film not knowing that if I can make it. But, I had recorded it and let them know. What I looked for in who I put, who I chose to participate, up in the final kind of cut was I wanted to ensure that all of the participants had grown up in Bushwick and we're still living there at the time that the film was shot because I wanted to kind of establish a consistency in their story. Some of the men had moved away, you know, some weren't born there. So that was how I came about the selection and also, you know, some of the stories had aspects that really help to support creating that narrative of what was happening in Bushwick at that time.

Luvon: Absolutely, which is how we can be thankful to them that they were willing to share so publicly about having run drugs. Use drugs. Sold drugs. Carried guns. We are very thankful that they shared their story.
Stefanie: Absolutely.

Luvon: And, I just wanted to find out the process by which you went and you told me some of it. And so we'll move off that to something else because you talk about how you retreated in that time. One of the young men says, every night there were gunshots you went to bed hearing those gunshots, every night in Bushwick.

Stefanie: Absolutely.

Luvon: Which sounds like a war zone and I think one of the young men actually use that word, you know that term war zone. You say though, that you retreated. And you became a stay-at-home bookworm. But, you also say for others, especially young black men, that wasn't an option.

Stefanie: Absolutely.

Luvon: So tell me about that.

Stefanie: Okay, and I do want to say I knew everyone that I interviewed in that film, that's how I was connected with them. I grew up in Bushwick. So, I don't, if you didn't grow up in Bushwick, I don't think that you could have made that film because they need to, they need to trust and know who you are. So I knew everyone there.

Luvon: Did your brother know them because later on, you mentioned something about your brother. He called you up and told you about Pooh Bear.

Stefanie: Yeah.

Luvon: Where they your brother's running buddies? Or, were they sort of like you know people around the neighborhood.

Stefanie: Yeah, you know in your area; Bushwick is a community that you didn’t go there unless you lived there. So I knew every…these are people I went to school with my family knew there's a certain trust that that what so when I was making this project and said, hey, will you do this? I think there's a certain amount of trust because holding I live there

Luvon: Props to you. Yeah.

Stefanie: Thank you. So going back to my story and sharing that I kind of retreated. I was, I call myself a nerd. I was a nerd. I like, I did like to study. I did spend a lot of time doing my homework and my mother was fairly strict too. So, we weren't able to hang out late. And, most people, after dark, they were not out in Bushwick. Even if you live there. I do think that as a woman, as a female especially, back then this is an aspect in the first film.

Terra Renee on How She Authored a Chapter in Book About Michelle Obama

Terra Renee shares her thoughts on Michelle Obama, as well as, how African American Women in Cinema is helping black women filmmakers

Interview Transcription:

Kizzy: Black women trying to create their own films often find the doors of opportunity shut to them. But our guest today, Terra Renee, has broken down those doors and created a space for other black women to walk through. Her company African-American Women in Cinema has been around since 1996, and she's here with us today to talk about that and the chapter in a new book called Michelle Obama's Impact on African-American Women and Girls.
Welcome, Terra.

Terra Renee: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate being here.

Kizzy: And, we're honored to have you, so we just want to jump right into the book and how did your chapter in this book come about?

Onika: Yeah, how did that happen?

Terra: Well, here's the story. I received a pass to attend the United Nations; it was actually a three-month pass to attend some events and on the last day, I started not to go. But I went on the last day and there was a program there that caught my attention. So, I went to the program, fabulous program. And, there I met the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells.

Kizzy: Oh my God.

Onika: What was her name?

Terra Renee: Michelle Duster. And so, she was equally excited about meeting me, as I was of her. She told me that she had a deal to write a book about Michelle Obama and her effect and on African American girls and women. And, I was just blown away and she said well, we would love to have your participation.

Kizzy: That's amazing.

Terra Renee: I was shocked and I said, okay, well, I'll try and I wrote something. Several months later, I got an email saying that it was accepted and I was blown away.

Onika: Oh my God.

Terra Renee: And here's the fruit of it.

Onika: So what, what, is her effect on you?

Terra Renee: Mmm, Michelle Obama, her, wow, without giving away too much what I wrote about. First of all, it was an honor to have someone like Michelle Obama as the first lady, her class, or style, as a mother, as a wife, as a woman of who, just I mean, just very intelligent. It was just wonderful to see her on that particular platform and being positive. So, I wrote about some of the unique effects that it had on me as her being in the office, one of which was it appeared that it gave some people permission yo say oh, you're beautiful. Oh, I love the hairstyle you wore, the outfit you have. Because let's face it, Michelle Obama is a fashionista.

Onika: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Terra Renee: So, it was it was an amazing time. Pleasant eight years of just that level of power and confidence being displayed on that level.

Kizzy: right?

Onika: And, being her, just being her, flawed and all.

Kizzy: And, it’s called the Beauty of Michelle Obama, that's what your chapter is called, and you guys gotta pick it up.

Onika: Where can we find the book?

Terra Renee: Right now, it is available online, so you can go to Amazon. And also, if you send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Onika: Say that again slowly for our viewers.

Terra Renee: You can send me an email at info@AAWICdot-org, we will make sure that you can get the link and can purchase your copy.

Onika: Yes. Everyone gets your link.

Kizzy: Right, exactly, exactly. I'm glad you mentioned AAWIC because we got to talk about that too, since 1996, So, we're talking about 22-years.

Terra Renee: Well, actually, 1997. It was an idea and a concept that was birthed out of, supposedly, it was only going to be a one-time event and it came about due to lack of opportunities of women of color in entertainment. And, I wanted to change that. Just so young, and so green, when I got called for an audition that Warner Brothers was shooting a motion picture…

Onika: Because you're an actress.

Terra Renee: Well, I kind of dibbled and dabbled in it. So, they wanted a tall African American woman who was not a size zero for an under-five role and when I got to the audition site, I was blown away to see about a thousand women who fit the bill. And, I said to myself, I got to create jobs.

Onika: That’s what you said to yourself that you got to create jobs? Most people would say, this is too many bitches!!!
Laughter

Kizzy: That would be the exact words.

Laughter

Kizzy: Wow, so you were like thinking in those terms. But didn’t you think about, maybe the obstacles that you would have come up against? Did that ever enter your mind at all?.

Terra Renee: No, no. Just young, ambitious; always had a mindset of wanting to help where there was a need and that's just been in the family line. I had an uncle who marched with Dr. King and was arrested and all that. So, that's always been in the blood. I just see a need and try to fix it. I had no idea what was to come. 

Kizzy: Okay, so you tried to put together that very first film festival, how did that come together?

Terra Renee: Well, actually it was through, well, let me say this and get right to that point. So, in wanting to create jobs for women of color, I wrote a screenplay and that was my way of creating jobs.

Onika: What was it called?

Terra Renee: Oh gosh, it was so long ago.

Laughter

Onika: You remember your first screenplay.

Terra Renee: Actually, it was called Troubled Woman. Yeah, yeah, Troubled Woman. So from there, friends of mine encouraged me to apply for a grant and I didn't want to do it because I did not want to put all that work and effort into it only to be rejected. But, I did it anyway and I ended up getting the grant.

Kizzy: Nice.

Terra Renee: And, there I met a young lady who wanted to be my publicist. When I got the grant, in the letter says we're doing an awards luncheon and you have to come down and pick up your check. So that's their way of making sure everyone come to the luncheon. So when I went there, met the young lady who wanted to be my publicist and out of that meeting, which was only supposed to be a one-time event and I said, okay, I'll call it African-American Women in Cinema. The whole purpose of it was to bring attention and resources so I can fulfill my dream of hiring women in Industry.

Kizzy: Wow.

Terra Renee: But what happened was, women from everywhere came when we launched it, and I said this is a need and I think that this is my calling and what I'm supposed to be doing. And years later, many awards that I didn't even plan or even had the hindsight to see. For example, Woman of the Year from the NAACP.

Onika: That was amazing. Wow.
United States Postal Stamp Hattie McDaniel award and then going to Paris November last year to receive the African Leadership Award in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Institute.

Kizzy: Wow that is amazing.

Onika: What a wonderful journey and such a humble spirit. you come across meek and humble. What a humble spirit.

Kizzy: Very true, you come across very humble.

Onika: We’re sitting with the queen.

Kizzy: Absolutely. In terms of you’re talking about all these awards and all those accolades and stuff like that. Is there, is there something in particular that stands out where you said, oh my God, I cannot believe this is happening right now?

Terra Renee: Well, actually when I went to Paris. I could not believe that I was on a plane, going into this major award ceremony attended by world leaders, was the only woman to receive an award and the award is beautiful. It is like this tall, gold…

Kizzy: And, the name of the award again is?

Terra Renee: The African Leadership Award.

Kizzy: Wow

Terra Renee: For best female manager. That's the title that they gave me really and I was just blown away. But the mission that I set out to do begin slowly, but surely, being accomplished. We were able to offer several years ago filmmakers distribution deals.

Kizzy: Oh, wow, that's a game changer.

Terra Renee: Well it started when the whole, Oscar So White protest jumped off. Yeah, I started getting emails and calls, being contacted by institutions that realize their catalog was not diversified enough and with the name of African American Women in Cinema, we can't get no more diverse than that.

Onika: So how do we partner?

Terra Renee: So that phone call, it was very interesting. So, we end up partnering with the organization called Shorts TV whose founder is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences based in London

Onika: Nice, okay.

Terra Renee: And he offered through his colleague a deal where the filmmakers’ films will be licensed and paid in both Euros as well as US dollars for their film.

Kizzy: Oh, that's amazing. So, you know you're talking about, you know, doing all of these things and you know, seeing a need and filling that need. But the game has changed. It’s changed in the past 20 years or so. How have you seen that kind of change, you know the kinds of films you're getting and how you run your business?

Terra Renee: Well, the whole technical technology really opened up a lot of doors because back when we started, you know even editing was a major and very expensive process.

Onika: Yes, it’s still real tedious right now. Like I'm having issues right now.

Terra Renee: And then at the time, once you splice your film pieces together and the sound, you know, just making sure all that was in sync then it was trying to get a distribution deal.

Onika: Yeah.

Terra Renee: And a lot of the filmmakers that we had at the time, either four-walled a theater or they just had private screenings in different venues like a church, things of that nature. And, then they did the festival circuit and really, you know, tried to drive traffic and promotion around that. But, now since you can upload it and drive traffic to your YouTube channel and things of that nature, that has changed a lot.

Onika: It's still hard though.

Terra Renee: It is hard. You're right because you know, even though the guards were at the door when we started, making sure only a few filmmakers got a major distribution deal, there is a changing of the guard, but it's still a process, it’s still a process. The thing about technology though, if you're able to get a lot of Buzz that can kind of help it a little bit.

Kizzy: Right, exactly.

Onika: But getting the buzz is a thing, especially when you're trying to do stuff, decently, because ratchet sells.

Kizzy: Right!

Onika: Ratchet, naked.

Kizzy: Yeah, it really does.

Terra Renee: The other thing that we do, we’ve been very fortunate to carve out a platform during the Sundance Film Festival.
And so we did that actually a couple years ago. I met up with Leslie Harris, who I love and she said Terra, it's almost my 25th anniversary of Just Another Girl on the IRT and I couldn't believe it was that long right? So we went back to Sundance where she won the Jury, the first African American woman to win a Jury Prize (at Sundance) and we did the screening there and it was so well-received. So, it afforded us a relationship and then this year, we screened our first-ever faith-based film. Oh, it starred Clifton Powell, Traci Braxton Roland Martin.

Onika: Oh nice

Terra Renee: Special cameo of Tasha Cobbs and Lamman Rucker.

Onika: Nice. Oh my goodness.

Terra Renee: And the venue, they loved it so much, we actually ended up winning an award for the best program during the Sundance Film Festival.

Kizzy: Wow. That is so amazing.

Onika: That's big. Oh my God.

Terra Renee: So now we preparing to go next year.

Kizzy: Okay, that's was going to be my next question.

Terra Renee: Yes, okay, and we have a great, great film that we're super excited about, deals with mental health.

Kizzy: Such an important thing right now.

Onika: Yeah, it is.

Terra Renee: Just got off the tour. We launched the anti-gun violence tour.

Kizzy: Yes, yes; I heard about that, you had your final stop here in Brooklyn.

Terra Renee: We are going to do a makeup stop in Chicago next month. But anyway, it was an eye-opener. Very insightful the films that we screen. I think even really encourage the audience to talk even more and what I found so amazing utilizing this medium of bringing or ushering or paving a way to usher in healing. That was one of the biggest things on this tour that I saw. There were people in the audience who were just living in trauma for years, afraid to speak but they felt comfortable in the environment that we created to speak up for the first time what they've been carrying for years.

Kizzy: So, how did you get involved with that big gun violence tour was that something that you said you just wanted to do?

Terra Renee: Well, but this year when we celebrate our 20th anniversary? One or two things that we did that was different and I wanted to intertwine it (social issues) in the festival.
When I went on CNN.com and saw African-American women save democracy, and this was the whole issue that took place in Alabama.

Onika: But that's it now. Yeah, all my white girlfriends say, you know, what's gonna save the world, black women. I said, we already saved it, you keep f*ucking it up. That’s the problem, we already saved it a couple of times. But, okay, we’re the New Black.

Terra Renee: So when I saw that article and was the whole Roy Moore thing. Yeah, and I said, you know, we need to do a keynote panel on the importance of voting so that our young people could understand their power. I don't think it's been really. Really, you know taught to them in that way.

Onika: And, get into local politics and become community organizers and stuff like that. There are so many black women are going into local politics. And, look at Tish James,

Terra Renee: We’re so proud of her.

Onika: Yes, Tish, is my girl; she was at my first event. I had this event, Politics in the City, and she came to speak. She was running for public advocate then. Now, I know the AG, I think somebody needs to bow down. I am so proud.

Terra Renee: Yes, very proud.

Onika: And once we get to the table, like pass the peas. we know what is need it because we've watched and guided for so long. We have ushered so many people to greatness and just sitting there like that is so great, say that, don't say that, that's enough. That’s us, that’s us. Oh, I am so glad that you are here. You have given me some superpower. oh my God. I can do all things in Christ and black ladies.

Terra Renee: Thank you. Thank you. So, we had the keynote panel and what really touched me was the young people that came and showed up. So we had leaders from the NAACP. And different other organizations that really imparted some words to them. And, subsequently during that time, unfortunately, was another mass shooting, the Parkland Park.

Kizzy: Oh my gosh. It's like so many so many, over, and over again.

Onika: Because of mental health.

Terra Renee: Yeah, but when I saw that the young people stood up and fought. I said we have to do something. So we outreached to our connections in a couple cities and said listen, we got to add our voice to this serious issue.

Kizzy: Wow, you're just kind of like that trailblazer, you see a need and then you fill it. That's amazing.

Terra Renee: Thank you. That went really well and it went so well and what really touched me was the level of support from the cities that we went to, the elected officials that came and participated and lent their voices and then we really got to see what was going on behind the scenes if you will. And, so now we're going to gather all that Intel, as we say and now put together a plan to see how we can even be of a greater effect going forward.

Kizzy: Wow. Wow. So, you’re partnering with people moving forward?

Terra Renee: Yes. Yes.

Onika: How do we assist, how do we assist at What’s The 411, let us know.

Terra Renee: Yes, definitely going to be, once we gather all our information and having everything structurized (ed) if you will; will definitely be reaching out. And saying let you know how you can be a part of we’d love to have you.

Kizzy: Oh my, God; there’s so much gun violence in our community that it is such an emergency.

Onika: We try to bring so much joy, but you know these things that are happening we have to talk about them.

Kizzy: Going forward now, 21 years going into 22 years. What can we expect from AAWIC?

Terra Renee: Well there's a lot that we're doing. We are preparing for our 21st annual film festival in March. It's going to be really, really good four days.

Onika: It's going to be in New York?

Terra Renee: It's going to be in New York City prior to that again Sundance. Looks like we're doing a new partnership for the Cannes Film Festival in May so working on that is amazing.

Kizzy: Okay. And so what does that partnership entail?

Terra Renee: Well, we're looking to actually work on the diversity matter out there and bringing forth women of color and their talents and showcasing them.

Kizzy: Right. Yes, important; again, diversity, diversity, diversity that matters. Representation.

Terra Renee: Yes.

Kizzy: Have you get have you got any pushback though? I know it's like you, you know, you're trying to push and you trying to leave the door open? But have you got any pushback from the industry to your efforts?

Terra Renee: Well, yes in a lot of sense, especially when we first started because you know, the industry is click, click, click. Cliquish. And so, when someone doesn't realize your value. And would not take the opportunity to get to know you and see there's an opportunity to partner and look at it as a win-win situation. It makes it a little harder to find those who will right, right?

Kizzy: Okay. So that was the biggest thing you kind of create those Partnerships.

Onika: So, now you have your tribe because you say “we” all the time you've not said “I” not one time, right, right? So now you have your tribe.

Terra Renee: Yeah long time coming, still working on a few things as always but excited.

Kizzy: Okay, so talk to us. Filmmaker, right now, black woman wanting to you know, push forth their film; how would they do that? What would your advice be to them?

Terra Renee: Well, I suggest that they certainly come to the film festival. They can meet and network because a lot of things happen in networking. Quick, quick story.

Onika: Yes, getting the, getting the lighting, getting the sound. It's all about who you started out because people do stuff on the strength. You like, you’re not going to charge me? No, no, no; I believe in the project. You, do? It's not as expensive as you think.

Terra Renee: Quick Story, one year we had Mr. Robert Townsend and he gave his workshop on how'd he made his first feature film. There was an inspiring actress in the audience. And so, after he told his story, she was inspired now to become a filmmaker. The same year, we honored Regina King. So she met Regina and somehow Regina felt comfortable enough to give her, her cell phone number. And, they connected, and; she ended up doing a short film starring Regina King and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Kizzy: What, look at God.

Onika: How much are those tickets?

Terra Renee: Going to these events is worth the while right? Yeah, you see it. Yeah, and you know as a filmmaker because not only do you get to meet people who can help you but also you learn of opportunities that can push what you're doing forward, right?

Kizzy: Exactly. Absolutely. It's all about networking who you know making those Partnerships. Absolutely. So, what is your website? How can they find you? How can they connect to you?

Terra Renee: Sure, it's www.awcwire.com org?

Onika: A-A-W-I-C-dot org, guys.

Terra Renee: You can email us at info at A-A-W-I-C-dot-org as well.

Onika: Okay, perfect. And your social media handles?

Terra Renee: Yeah, Instagram is at A-A-W-I-C-Fest. Twitter is at A-A-W-I-C. And the Facebook is African-American Woman in Cinema International Film Fest…

Onika: Perfect, amazing. Thank you so much. You can come back anytime exactly. This guy's please get your copy.

Terra Renee: Yeah. I'm doing chapter signing December 3rd in Times Square.

Onika: Are you really?

Terra Renee: Yes?

Onika: Okay, December 3rd. What time?

Terra Renee: 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Onika: Where?

Well the address we will if you email us at info at AAWICdot-org

Onika: It will be on your Facebook, right?

Terra Renee: Yes.

Onika: Okay. So just follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and when they put it on their social media handles and you guys can get it on December 3rd.

Onika: So, that'll do it for this week's episode of What's The 411, your smart source for entertainment news. So, since she took my first line. I'm gonna go with the second line. Okay, and hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, WhatsThe411TV.

Onika: You can listen to our podcast on Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Apple Podcast.

Onika: Yes, yes, subscribe, subscribe to our YouTube channel, right? And it's, oh you said that already,…

Kizzy Cox: Yes, I did.

Onika: I’m Onika McLean and on behalf of Kizzy Cox because I just stole her lines, until next week.

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