The Michigan Daily Friday, May 22, 1987 Page 9
Local festival exposes Black filmmakers
By Susan Sherman
Ann Arbor has long been receptive to many diverse
events. Off the track films, plays, and bands are well received
here. One unique feature is the variety of film series that
occur. The Ann Arbor FIlm Festival is the sponsor of many
of these series, bringing various types of films, usually those
that would not otherwise be screened here, to their audience.
The first Black Film Series began May 13 at the Perfor-
mance Network. The Ann Arbor Film Festival has coordin-
ated this fabulous event which will continue throughout
June, while workshops on black filmmakers will be held in
Annette Wilson, director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival,
feels that there are too few works of black filmmakers
"An important factor in the series is to reach out to black
film makers and let them know the Ann Arbor Film Festival
is there for them," Wilson said.
Most black filmmakers are independent from mainstream
film companies and Wilson feels the American film industry
is notoriously racist. Many of the films being shown in this
series have receivced International recognition. Black
American and African filmmakers find greater acceptance
outside of the United States. Recently however, with the
success of films such as She's Got to Have It and Holly
w ood Shuffle, the doors of the industry are opening.
The series searched for films that have not been shown in
Ann Arbor, and probably won't have the chance to return.
Several films will premier .May 29th and 30th. At 7 on both
nights, three short documentaries will be featured: Illusions,
Color, and Death of the Dunber Girl. All three deal with
black women's relationships with various people. The 9 pm
showing on both nights is the comedy feature film, Loosing
Ground, which also deals with a black woman as she searches
for a new identity and her marriage is greatly affected by this
The lectures will deal with the changing image of Blacks
in film, from the early Hollywood depiction to the present
"We want to make people aware that films like She's got
to have It did not drop out of the sky," Wilson said. "A lot
of black film makers work does not get shown."
If you'd like more information about the series, call the
Blues lovers unite: a week to cheer
By Alan Paul
This is a rare week for lovers of
blues, rythm and blues, and just
good old honest music with a beat,
with three excellant artists appear -
ing in the area.
Tonight a true musical treat
awaits those of you with enough
motivation to truck into Detroit.
The Neville Brothers, one of the
best party bands in the world, play
two shows at Alvin's at 9:30 and
It is generally acknowledged by
people who've seen them that it is
impossible to sit still once the
Neville Brothers begin to play.
"We've got that secret groove,"
keyboard player Art Neville once
said. He was referring to that unique
Mardi Gras parade back--beat, called
second line, that the body just can't
seem to resist.
The four Neville Brothers grew
up on the streets of New Orleans
absorbing the many musical influ -
ences of the city, from African
polyrythms to cajun fiddling to
jazz, pioneer rock and roll and
more. Their music is steeped in
tradition yet remains extremely con -
"We're black," Art said, laugh -
ing as he answered a confused re -
porter's query. "But we've been
influenced by everything in New
Orleans: African, Indian...every -
thing. There's a lot involved in the
music. Many people look at this as
if it's new music, but to us it"s
something that comes down from
our childhood, passed from gener -
ation to generation. The music's
just in us, it's in the blood."
Another musician with a touch
of bayou in his blood, blues
guitarist Lonnie Brooks, plays
Rick's tonight and tomorrow night.
Brooks began his career in the mid
'50s playing with "Zydeco King"
Clifton Chenier. He switched styles
to rock and names to "Guitar
Junior" and had a hit with "Family
Rules" in 1959. He later hit the
road with Sam Cooke and landed in
Chicago in 1960.
Since the mid '70s Brooks has
become one of the genre's top
attractions, recording four albums
for Alligator Records.
Brooks is a high energy
performer, mixing straight ahead
Chicago blues with rock, country,
and cajun stomp. He has a young
band who push him to the limit,
and his frequent Rick's appearances
are always a pleasure.
Wrapping up a terrific week of
honest music Wendesday night at
Rick's is another fine Chicago style
blues singer/guitarist, Luther John -
son. Johnson, who stills goes by
"Guitar Junior," first gained acclaim
touring the world with Muddy
Waters from 1973-79. He plays in
the West Side style of Magic Sam
and Otis Rush, alternating stinging
single note leads with powerful
As he displayed at the U-Club
two years ago, Johnson too is a
high energy performer and his
Magic Rockers are a highly capable
band, who lay down a mean groove
and create plenty of room for
Johnson's expressive vocals and
searing guitar leads.
The Neville Brothers shows at
Alvins, 5756 Cass on the Wayne
State campus, begin at 9:30 and 12
and tickets are $13.50 in advance at
Ticketmaster and all the usual
spots. Brooks costsfour dollars and
Johnson will be three dollars, both
at the door of Rick's.
Borden: 'Workng' to the top
By Seth Flicker even with this success, film the fact that she never went to
festivals were reluctant to take it school.
Lizzie Borden is of a new breed
of filmmaker: the independant. For
under $300,00 she directed,
produced and co-wroteWorking
Girls, the critically acclaimed film
about a day in a brothel. In a day
when most films are made for about
$10 million dollars more, Borden
has created a subtle and exciting
work of art for next to nothing.
Even more daring though, is
that she made a film about subjects
that are very taboo: sex and
prostitution. "I think that
everybody is obsessed with sex,"
Borden said, "but very often it's
manifest in other area of their lives.
For me, it's just about a way to get
into other areas. It's a way to deal
with work. It's a way to deal with
passion. It's a way to deal with
repression. It is a cornerstone for
While sex may be a basis for
everything, people still squirm
while seeing this movie. Even
more than that, though, the film
companies squirmed. After
searching for a company to
distribute the film, Mirimax picked
it up. Since it hit the theaters,
Working Girls has been a critical
and commercial success, but, still,
because of the content. Borden
refused to censor, though.
"I really wanted to deal with the
idea of eroticism," she explained,
"I'm so down on the Women.
against Pornograghy movement.
I'm so opposed to censorship of
"I think school is good if you
know that you want to make films
and you are just using that as the
environment to make films."
Borden said. "I don't think that it
turns non-filmmakers into
filmmakers. I did it by spending the
any kind. There's this whole area to equivetetaon 1mny on- - - - - - - -~
quvlent amount of money. Born -- - - - - - - - - .- - -
explore of sexuality." in Flames (her first film) ended up
How could a woman filmmaker costing over $40,000 and it was my $EAR N CASH
making a film with a female point- equivelant of going to film school."
of-view about prositution make it? For me, it's much more of an LYING DOWN
She credits part of her success to exploration.
~ I at the I
* STATE STREET SPECIAL
YPSILANTI PLASMA CENTER
TANIN CENTwith this ad: I
TANNING CENTER U-M earn $18 upon first visit
216 S. State St. (above Marti Walkers) ph. 747-8844 * earn up to $110 per month
1SESSIONS -- \erTower * open for new donors Mon.
Walk-ins 15 Walk-ins 'I" h Wed.. and Fri. 9 -12:30, Tue.
welcome wlom " -tE 4"
*r lE welcome EThurs. 1 -5:45
* Sessions Must Be Used In One Month P
Mich. Ave. PleaGse call for appointment
* Sessions Good Only On Campus ' o a and more information
* Coupon Expires June 15, 1987 located on bus line 482-6793
********** * ****** *** 1813 W. Michigan Ave. 482-6790 I