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PERFORMANCE PREVIEW/REVIEW

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Feature film: 'The Forgotten Occupation: Jim Crow Goes to Haiti'

HOLLYWOOD (MNS)The highly anticipated 8th Annual Haiti International Film Festival (HIFF) will occur Aug. 19-20, 2023, at the prestigious Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.

8th Annual Haiti

International Film

Festival, Saturday

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Award-winning filmmaker Jacquil Constant, presents a premier showcase of the best of Haitian Cinema in Hollywood.

One of the feature films is "The Forgotten Occupation: Jim Crow Goes to Haiti" about the forgotten history of Haiti’s brutal occupation by US marines, is told through a letter filmmaker Alain Martin writes to his deceased grandfather.

HIFF Executive Director and award-winning filmmaker Jacquil Constant presents a premier platform to
showcase the best of Haitian Cinema in Hollywood, Calif.

On Day 1 of the Haiti International Film Festival, the doors open at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre at 10:30
a.m. on Aug.19 with welcome remarks from Bechir Sylvain, a Haitian-American actor, writer, director, and producer.

On Day 2 of the Haiti International Film Festival on Aug. 20, the festival will begin virtually at Filmocracy.com at 11 a.m. and run through the evening.

"There are two ways to participate and support the film festival. Guests can attend in person on Aug. 19 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, and virtually and on demand on Aug. 20 on the Filmocracy.com, an online platform," said Haitian-American Executive Director Jacquil Constant.

Doors open at 11 a.m. on Aug. 19 with welcome remarks from Bechir Sylvain. The first film begins at 11:10 a.m. and the last film at 7:45 p.m. On Day 2 on Aug. 20, the festival will begin virtually at 11 a.m. and runs through the evening.

Parking is free at Barnsdall Gallery Park. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. VIP pass includes
food and preferred seating. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the event. Purchase your tickets at
bit.ly/3DK3akZ. HIFF is a non-profit and your donation is tax deductible.

Produced and hosted by Constant, an award-winning filmmaker, the two-day film festival with the theme "Krik Krak," (the art of storytelling in Ayiti) promises to be an immersive celebration of Haitian art and culture. HIFF's goal is to empower Haitian Creatives and film lover's audience to create social impact in their diverse communities by being exposed to Haiti's rich culture and beauty.

 

"HIFF utilizes a Haitian Konbit philosophy about working collectively to ensure the success of emerging and established filmmakers," said Constant. "HIFF is the premier platform to showcase the best of Haitian Cinema in Hollywood, California."

The HIFF is a maverick of an independent film festival showcasing 100 Haitian films for eight years. "We are proud to be changing the narrative of Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora through authentic storytelling," said Constant.

HIFF feature films

"The Forgotten Occupation: Jim Crow Goes to Haiti"
Feature Film - Runtime 1 hour 32 minutes


The documentary opens with Alain reading a letter to his deceased grandfather. In that letter’s opening,
the filmmaker recalls a morose conversation between his grandfather and another familiar member in
which they bemoan the chronic troubles of their country, Haiti. They find themselves desperately hoping
for an American intervention, seeing it as the only solution for their ravaged nation. Alain reminds his
grandfather that the US had already occupied Haiti and only left it more impoverished.
As the letter contin- ues, the brutal decades of the occupation come to light, betraying the complicated history of a people who,

a century ago, looked to the US for guidance only to find themselves enmeshed in violent clashes of race, culture and class, resulting in the wholesale theft of their homeland.
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/767261258

 

"AYITI: A Haitian Story"

(Description unavailable)
Feature Film - Runtime: 58 minutes


"Cette Maison (This House)"

Feature Film - Runtime: 1 hour 15 minutes
 

Bridgeport, 2008. A teenage girl is found hanged in her room. While everything points to suicide, the
autopsy report reveals something else. Ten years later, the director and cousin of the teenager examines
the past causes and future consequences of this unsolved crime. Like an imagined biography, the film
explores the relationship between the security of the living space and the violence that can jeopardize it.
Trailer: https://youtu.be/gzhXfpPxXkE

 

HIFF short films
 

"Brave"
Runtime: 26 minutes 43 seconds

 

This documentary tells the story of how the death of a Mambo Haitian voodoo priestess, leaves it up to the
children to celebrate the deity she served. It’s time for my mother to come home to perform this ritual in honor of my late grandmother.
Trailer: https://youtu.be/WWIDpurogAo


"BWA Kayiman"


Set in 1791 at the start of the Haitian Revolution, a young woman is determined to break societal norms
and join the enslaved men in fighting against Napoleon's French army.
Trailer: https://youtu.be/OHDaClU6ibw

"Catching Spirits"

Runtime: 12 minutes 14 seconds
 

Destiny has been told since childhood she has seizures when she dances. An unexplained phenomenon
that resulted in deep fear and her refusal to dance—despite being drawn to it. What she doesn’t know is
she has an ancient ability—a birthright of the Haitian women in her lineage going back for ages. Today, in LA, Destiny is still in the dark about her ancestral power but strange things are happening. Destiny is tor- mented by voices in her head, calling her to "test the waters" and compelling her to stalk someone. When she’s challenged to face her fear and dance, Destiny makes a decision that could reveal a secret she doesn’t yet understand. Will dancing kill her or unlock something magical?
Trailer: https://youtu.be/TnqQ4v0p41U

 

"All the Gaps"
Runtime: 14 minutes 59 seconds

 

To maintain the tenuous connection with her mother, 8-year-old Christina unwittingly endangers her father, an undocumented food-delivery driver.
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/786250726

 

"Discord"
Runtime: 11 minutes 26 seconds

 

A mother and daughter relationship are strained when finances and dreams impede a loving relationship.
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/782342686

 

"Retreat"
Runtime: 8 minutes

 

A young couple attempt to reconnect in nature.
Trailer: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYbLVOoIj49/

 

"Splinter"
 

Young Benjamin (Brooks Firestone) has spent most of his 10 years on an airplane that almost never lands, because when his feet touch the ground, rage spreads like a virus. But when a mid-air collision forces the plane out of the sky, it falls to his caretaker Morgan (Yetide Badaki) and Chris (Moon Bloodgood to deal with the explosive fallout.

"Chocolate Thunder"
Runtime: 14 minutes 32 seconds

 

After a nerdy teen boy’s persona Chocolate Thunder, loses his online gf days before the dance, he must
find a new date!
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/421369884?share=copy

 

"Port of Prince"
Runtime: 12 minute 14 seconds

 

A young Haitian boy must decide if joining a gang is the right path for him.

 

"We are thrilled to be back and to continue providing an essential platform for our communities' filmmakers," said Constant. "This event has grown into a cornerstone for Haitian filmmakers and artists to connect, col- laborate, and share their unique stories with a global audience. Our commitment to promoting Haitian art and culture remains unwavering, and we are excited to showcase remarkable talent while fostering the next generation of Haitian filmmakers."

Founded in 2015 by visionary Constant, the Haiti International Film Festival has continuously showcased
the captivating art and films from the Haitian Diaspora. This extraordinary event strives to provide a
platform through the power of film that authentically reflects the diverse experiences and backgrounds
of the Haitian community, while promoting cultural diversity through various art genres, including
documentary films, short films, narrative films, and art.

 

In its eight years of existence, HIFF has been an inspiring stage for creativity and storytelling. The festival's
program features an engaging lineup of thought-provoking films, showcasing the rich tapestry of Haitian heritage and its influence on art. Attendees will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an array of captivating narratives that explore Haitian history, tradition, and contemporary challenges, highlighting the resilience and spirit of the Haitian people.

For more info, visit www.haitiinternationalfilmfestival.org. For interviews with Constant or to request press credentials, contact Marie Y. Lemelle at marielemelle@platinumstarpr.com or call (213) 276-7827.

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`"Avatar: The Way of Water'" has taken in more than $421 million in theaters in the US and Canada. 

'Avatar: The Way of Water' still leads box office with $63.4M
 

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—"Avatar: The Way of Water" has taken the box office crown for a third consecutive week, grossing another $63.4 million over the New Year's weekend, according to industry estimates.


Director James Cameron's follow-up to his 2009 special effects blockbuster has taken in more than $421 million in theaters in the United States and Canada. It was far ahead of "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish," a
"Shrek" spinoff that took second place for the second consecutive weekend with $16.3 million Friday through Sunday, Comscore reported.


"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" was third with $4.8 million in its eighth week of release.


The Whitney Houston biopic "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was fourth with $4.2 million in its second week, followed by "Babylon"— also in its second week—with $2.7 million.


Rounding out the top 10 domestic releases, as estimated by Comscore, were "Violent Night" ($2.1 million), "The Whale" ($1.3 million), "The Fabelmans" ($1.1 million), "The Menu" ($1 million) and "Strange World."
($538,000).

'Zankli Chronicles'

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Black American author garners sci-fi

Int'l Literary Award; a new era in genre

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uthor M.J. Duffy’s high-voltage Zankli Chronicles trilogy tells the story about an ancient African civiliza-

ition that has a secret. The Zanklies were given formidable powers by aliens hundreds of years

ago to become the protectors of humankind.


Defiant Love - Zankli Chronicle is the third installment of her wild-eyed series. Defiant Love is a romantic fantasy that highlights the passionate love between two Zanklis. The steamy page-turner won the 2021 Best Paranormal, Super- natural, and Sci-Fi Fantasy Romance Novel RSJ Emma Award.


"After seventeen years of imagining the exploits of the Zanklis over three books with the fourth in the works, it is beyond exhilarating to receive an accolade for the third book in the Zankli Chronicles," said Duffy who is also a proud member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

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M.J. Duffy

RSJ holds the Emma Awards at an annual conference. Founded in 1995, RSJ seeks to promote multi-cultural authors of books with stories that depict diversity and inclusion, limiting characters written from stereotypical perspectives on romance and women’s fiction.


"There are at least four judges who read and score the books based on ten questions," said Bonita A. Thornton, the chair of RSJ. "M.J.’s had the top score in literary excellence for the paranormal judge category."


There are few platforms that recognize stories and writers of color, particularly in sci-fi.


Thornton said the RSJ conference is one of the few platforms that recognize both. RSJ announced

the 2021 winners late last year, but Duffy recently received the prestigious crystal RSJ Emma Award. (https://rsjconvention.com.)


Defiant Love is Duffy’s most recent book that follows the eponymous Zankli species. The Zanklis appear to be humans but are paranormal descendants of extraterrestrials called Seraphs. The Seraphs imparted their abilities to the fictionalized tribespeople with the command to be the guardians of good on Earth. Zanklies are incapable of evil but their superhuman nemesis are not. Defiant Love takes the power of love to another level. When the embattled couple consummate their love, they have exponential power to "defy" their enemies.

                                                                      

Duffy began writing science fiction in 2007, long before many of us had ever heard of "Black Panther."  Although she said she never read or heard about the Marvel comic-book hero, there are many similarities between her fictionalized Zanklis and the Wakandans, except her characters are not as Disney- esque. They are lascivious, blood-thirsty, and highly intelligent.


"The market for Black stories and Black authors is improving," said Duffy. "Black book clubs are the fastest growing reading groups in the USA. Also, the African Diaspora has a huge readership.


"Africans are extremely interested in books about themselves. Moreover, there is an inherent curiosity

by all ethnic or racial groups about African culture and history," she said. Duffy added that Zankli fans can expect a fourth book titled  Immortal Love at the end of the year.


Defiant Love is available at Amazon.com in paperback or e-book. Act now to receive a special promo discount. Email melba_carter@yahoo.com. For more information on M.J. Duffy and the African sci fi series, visit http://www.zanklichronicle.com

LeVar Burton host of Grammy pre-show

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—LeVar Burton will host the 64th Grammy Awards
Premiere Ceremony at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, it was announced March 25.


Burton, a Grammy Award winner, is nominated this year in the Best Spoken Word Album category for "Aftermath."


"I'm excited to host this celebration of the best performers across genres and art forms," Burton said in a statement. "I am incredibly honored in particular to be represented in the Best Spoken Word category this historic year, with a cohort of five other outstandingly talented Black men, along with the words of the late great Congressman John Lewis."


Jimmie Allen, Ledisi, Mon Laferte, Allison Russell and Curtis Stewart are also expected to perform at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony at the Con- ference Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The bulk of the Grammy Awards are presented during the event, with the top categories reserved for the main telecast that follows.


The Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony will stream live from Las Vegas
beginning at 12:30 p.m. April 3 on YouTube and live.grammy.com.

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LeVar Burton is best-known for his break-out role as Kunta Kinte in the 1970s TV series, Roots.

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The tandem Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, along with an eclectic band have formulated dynamic synergy on stage.

A 'Perfect' Evening With Silk Sonic

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By JASLYN FELLOWS, Music Editor


LAS VEGAS — What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That’s the oft-used phrase and how the iconic group Silk Sonic chose to kick-off the first show of their Las Vegas residency on Feb. 25, which runs through May 29, 2022, and is surely going to be one of Las Vegas’ most talked about residencies.

Jaslyn

Fellows'

SIGNATURE

No posting, recording or tagging inside Dolby Live’s psychedelic venue that was bathed in red and pink light and accented with the all too familiar disco ball. This reporter had to do her best to take every detail and moment of the show because there was no other way to document or take note of this spectacle. That’s right, no phones or cameras. Word of mouth will be the only way to share the electrifying performance that is Silk Sonic because as they sang, “we locked your phones up.” 

 

Never before has this reporter wanted to document something for a record, than this stellar performance. No videos, no posts, no way of proving that an entire arena of thousands of

people of all colors, creeds, ages and backgrounds got together to sing, dance and enjoy themselves. You had to be there because once again what happened in Vegas had to stay in Vegas.

Now, both musicians Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, along with their incredible band are no strangers to thousands of fans wanting to record every detail. However, this time around phones and cameras were put away in Yondr pouches, enhancing the live concert experience.


As stated before in interviews promoting the album, the result of not being able to perform during the pan- demic meant the duo wanted to “put an album together that sounds like a show and feels like a show.” [Bruno Mars, Apple Music]. They wanted to create a “Setlist of Doom,” where no other artist would want to perform before or after them. Furthermore, after listening to the album, “An Evening With Silk Sonic,” and being able to witness the show, there was no question that they had achieved what they set out to do.


The show began before the curtains even opened, with its audience singing and dancing along to the music being played. A round of applause was given to a group of five friends singing along to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” A louder and fervent applause erupted as the velvet curtains opened and a video recording of the
host, 70’s funk master Bootsy Collins introduced the group.


Before the first song, the show already was a spectacle for the eyes. An amalgamation of red and pink light was infused with green and blue lasers. Mars opened on the congas introducing the first song “777,” a tribute to the Las Vegas gambling culture and the feeling of being on top of the world when you hit the jackpot. The jackpot was surely tapped this night when the Setlist of Doom materialized. Silk Sonic performed all of their songs from the album, including, “Silk Sonic Intro,” “777,“ Skate,” “Love’s Train” (cover), “Fly As Me,” “Smoking
Out The Window,” “Put On A Smile,” “After Last Night” (with Thundercat and Bootsy Collins), “Blast Off,” and “Leave the Door Open.”


The vocal talents of both Paak and Mars were astounding — both artists hitting some impressive high notes and flexing vocal muscles with improvised additions to songs from the album. The setlist included remixed songs from the combined discography of both stars. Mars’ “Treasure,” “When I Was Your Man,” and
“Runaway Baby” was smoothly integrated with Paak’s “ Come Down” and “Make It Better.” 
Masterful camera work and life effects highlighted the 70’s style outfits, dance moves, and overall instrumentation of the band.

 

Both Mars and Paak showcased their skills on the drums, while Mars also played the electric guitar and congas throughout the show. The selection of R&B, soul, funk, pop, psychedelic rock and psychedelic funk was wrapped up nicely with an ornament of brass instruments. Members of the band also had their own time to shine with jazzy trumpet and electric guitar solos of Gene Wilder’s “Pure Imagination.”

You could hear and see the inspiration from acts like The Trammps, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ohio Players, the Funk Brothers, and Prince. The very same groups and musical players that the duo consistently gives credit to. The inspiration didn’t just stop at the music. The entire band was adorned with iconic 70’s style leisure suits and long-collared shirts in red, burgundy and black, finished white disco loafers—the perfect attire to perform many dance breaks and rehearsed numbers.


One final component that brought the entire show together was the chemistry between Paak and Mars along with the comfortability and charisma they share on stage. They made sure the audience felt included in the performance, of course, constantly appealing to the ladies. No one remained seated the entire two hours. The entire crowd was singing and dancing along to the music the entire night and left concert-goers satisfied.


The performance was completely worth it. I had a wonderful evening, even getting my seats upgraded to the very first section behind the floor seats. Like many other Silk Sonic fans that night, I wish I could go back and live it all again. Since I can’t, I look forward to what these gentlemen produce in the future. This was the Perfect
Evening With Silk Sonic.

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