Twin Cities Black Film Festival

Recent Articles

An interview with veteran actor Sterling K. Brown

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

Sterling K. Brown became a thespian back in high school in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduation, he went on to Stanford, where he earned a drama degree and later a masters in fine arts from New York University. Brown has nearly 30 acting credits, mostly small roles in television to his credit. His breakthrough role may have been in Lifetime’s Army Wives (2007-13), where his Dr. Roland Burton character was the only male among the featured group of

military spouses the show revolved around. Continue Reading →

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Building the ‘Buy Black’ movement in Minnesota

Local entrepreneurs discuss challenges, offer solutions
 
News Analysis

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The idea for the recent MSR multi-part Black business series first came last year during a conversation with Twin Cities Black Film Festival Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. She decried the seemingly low support from Blacks for such annual events as hers. MSR Editor-in-Chief Vickie Evans Nash later agreed with Morrow’s assertion and assigned me to investigate and report on how true or not true it is. Over the course of several months, after causal and on-record conversations with several local Black business owners, we produced the series beginning in late September. Rather than ask about how financially successful these business persons are, the MSR instead inquired why they chose to start their own businesses, any unforeseen obstacles they may have faced and overcome, new challenges they currently face, and what advice and tips they might offer to anyone who might be thinking of becoming a business owner. Continue Reading →

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Women take charge at Twin Cities Black Film Festival

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Women ruled at this year’s Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) as several female produced and directed films and shorts were screened in September. “Anyone who takes the time and the courage to do this, I’m all for that,” notes TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. “I’m not a filmmaker, but I know that it’s a lot of work that goes into filmmaking — just trying to find your funding, your actors, your editing and all that.”

“I write a lot [but] I went to school to learn how to edit so I can do my own projects,” said writer-director Schonte Hamilton. “We’re looking at short after short… that’s just wonderful to see,” observed Deedra Miller, who wrote and also starred in her own film. Continue Reading →

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What does the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce do for Black business?

Many Black business owners are not sure
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The overarching question of the MSR multi-part series on local Black businesses is, “Do Blacks support each other?” During our interviews with many local Black business owners, they told us that they are not members of the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC), which describes itself as “an alliance of business leaders and entrepreneurs” whose main vision “is to promote and improve the general welfare, prosperity and inter-connectedness of the community of African descent.”

Avenue Eatery Owner Sammy McDowell said he knows about the chamber but is not a member: “I don’t know what it is all about.”

“If I see what it is…if it’s something good for us to be in, I wouldn’t have no problems at all [being a member],” said South Minneapolis barber Cameron Cook. “Why I am not a member? I don’t know. I don’t have an excuse,” responded computer store owner Eugene Banks. “There are a lot of organizations that I am not a part of that I should be a part of. Continue Reading →

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Supporting our own

Community awareness, trust cited as factors in Black business and event success
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

With the African American community being relatively small in Minnesota, it can be challenging for Black business owners and those planning events targeted at Blacks to obtain the level of support they are seeking. But there are at least two events that continue to gain momentum each year. This year’s Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) appeared to be attended by many Blacks. “This festival was one of our most successful festivals, because I did try to tap into those unknown groups” such as community groups with large numbers of African American in attendance, reported TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. She noted that during the four-day event held in September, one film was sold out and other screenings had large crowds. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities Black Film Festival 2013 local filmmakers

 

(Part one in a series of articles about the Twin Cities Black Film Festival)

By Charles Hallman

Staff writer

 

Local filmmakers were featured at this year’s Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF).  The MSR was in attendance at the four-day event held September 26-29 at St. Louis Park’s Showplace Icon Theaters. “We had 11 [local] filmmakers, and his was the only one that sold out,” proclaimed TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow on Ménages, a two-hour film directed by Edith Rene Tchuichoui.  It was part of her “Celebration of Minnesota Filmmakers.”   The movie’s main characters are Samantha, a U.S. citizen and Joseph, a Cameroon immigrant are brought together who are forced to make choices based on emotions or interests. “I started working on this movie in ’09,” said the filmmaker, who added that it was originally filmed as a short, but later lengthened it after audience reactions that saw it were positive. Continue Reading →

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Homegrown filmmaker has Hollywood ambitions

Robert Hayles overcomes obstacles for his MN-made first feature

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

Sitting somewhere in the dark was Robert Hayles, watching a comedy motion picture at St. Anthony Main Theatre. The 118-minute feature, Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game, is about longtime best friends and total opposites Richard (James Griffen, Jr.) and Marcus (DeAndre Sanders): Richard fancies himself a player with the ladies, and Marcus plays video games like a cloistered monk in prayer. “It’s a crazy comedy about video games and relationships,” says the movie promos. “This is the first time I’ve seen it on the big screen. Continue Reading →

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