Join the Coral Gables Art Cinema for two nights of cutting-edge, critically acclaimed Black films and filmmakers. Featuring works from award-winning filmmakers Terence Nance, Mariama Diallo, Faren Humes, and many more, the New Black Cinema Showcase is two nights, exhibiting original Black voices in independent cinema. Don’t miss this one-time only special weekend event hosted by guest artist-curators Jason Jeffers, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, Torrance Gettrell, and Ronald Baez.
I had the opportunity to talk to Ronald Baez, Artistic Director at Coral Gables Art Cinema, about how this showcase came about.
Q: How did the idea about a Black Cinema Showcase come about?
The idea came about around the time Moonlight was first announced in 2016. We had a lot of friends and colleagues on that production, and the Cinema’s programming staff and myself agreed that Black films don’t get nearly the kind of exposure or attention they deserve. We felt the Cinema had an opportunity to support the community of Black filmmakers around us, and showcase the incredible contributions Black filmmakers had made to Cinema, especially in recent years. Luckily, the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) agreed with us, and the Cinema and myself has an amazing network of colleagues and friends who are interested in supporting such a cause.
Q: Please tell us how you chose the movies that are participating in the screening.
The films were scrupulously debated for several weeks. We were lucky enough to compose a team of artist-programmers, including Jason Jeffers and Keisha Rae Witherspoon (founders of the Third Horizon Film Festival), as well as Torrance Gettrell (founder of Ad Hoc Cinema), and myself. Between the four of us, we reached out to local and national contacts, creating a wish list of films, and debating the merits and values of each film as it contributed to the program. Originally, we had a long list, but when the reality of logistics and budgets came into play, we were able to agree on the films included in the program as it is now. Most of our conversations centered around concepts like inclusion, representation, audience interest, etc. It was important to us, even with limited resources, that the community was given both, original content from unique and talented voices in the Black community, as well as a valid representation of voices from said community. The inclusion of female film directors in particular was a very big deal for us, thus the shorts block.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about each movie in the showcase?
The Showcase is broken down into two halves. The first is a screening of Terence Nance’s Gotham Award-Winning film, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. The film centers around an artist who is stood up by a “mystery girl”, leading him to ask a series of existential questions. Nance is among the most unique cinematic voices in the country at current, and Oversimplification is a challenging, hypnotic, and beautifully sincere piece of Cinema.
The second half of the Showcase consists of a shorts program curated by artist-curator Keisha Rae Witherspoon, showcasing a block of short films all directed by Black female filmmakers. The shorts block consists of seven short films of varying concept, including Sundance official selections, award-winning narrative films, documentaries, etc. The program also includes a post-screening talk featuring Witherspoon and three visiting film directors whose works are being screened as part of the program. This female-led program is an effort to highlight some very unique contributions Black female filmmakers have made to modern cinema. Consisting of a brilliant series of films varying in concept, but consistent in excellence, I really wouldn’t miss this program for the world.
Q: Can we expect another showcase like this in the future?
We hope we can consistently piece together this kind of program in the future. Every artist involved in the curation or organization of this program has been highly motivated by the Gables Cinema’s enthusiasm and interest in making it happen. Hopefully, that translates in the future to more Afro-centric programming throughout the city, not only on our behalf, but on behalf of other film organizations throughout Miami as well.
The New Black Cinema Showcase Schedule
Friday, May 25th
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty by Terence Nance
9:00 pm @ Coral Gables Art Cinema
Visit Gables Cinema for a special screening of Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. Among the most unique cinematic voices in the country, Oversimplification is a challenging, hypnotic, and beautifully sincere piece of Cinema. Don’t miss this vulnerable, daringly original film being introduced by artist-curator Jason Jeffers (Third Horizon Film Festival).
A quixotic artist hypothesizes about why he feels bad when a mystery girl stands him up. The event prompts him to ask: what’s the content of a momentary feeling? Is it the sum of your experiences? And, perhaps more importantly, are your experiences the sum of you?
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty Trailer
Saturday, May 26th
An Evening with Female Filmmakers by Various Artists
7:30 PM @ Sandrell Rivers Theater
Visit the beautiful Sandrell Rivers Theater in historic Liberty City, for a very special presentation of short films directed by emerging female voices in Black art and narrative cinema. Featuring award-winning narrative, documentary, and experimental works, this evening’s program includes a post-screening discussion with visiting filmmakers Naima Ramos-Chapman, Faren Humes, and Ruqayyah Albaari, moderated by artist-curator Keisha Rae Witherspoon (Third horizon Film Festival).
Gables Cinema is located at 260 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables. For more details visit gablescinema.com