Jun 15, 2021
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‘Precious’ director Lee Daniels says Cdn filmmaker Norman Jewison is ‘a mentor’

TORONTO – Oscar-nominated “Precious” director Lee Daniels says Canadian filmmaker Norman Jewison has blazed a trail for African-Americans in cinema.

“Norman Jewison is a mentor,” Daniels told The Canadian Press Tuesday before joining Jewison and Canadian director Clement Virgo (“Poor Boy’s Game”) for a panel discussion on race relations in the film industry.

“He has laid the path for the work that I’m able to do and I can’t figure out a better way to celebrate Black History Month.”

Hosted by the Canadian Film Centre, the panel discussion was to be followed by a screening of Jewison’s 1967 crime drama “In the Heat of the Night,” about a racist town in Mississippi.

Daniels said the film, which starred Sidney Poitier as a detective wrongfully accused of a crime because of his race, “was a big deal for African Americans” and was “provocative but brutally honest when America did not want to look at race at all.”

“What really sparked my interest in film was the audaciousness of ‘In the Heat of the Night,”‘ said the 50-year-old Philadelphia-born filmmaker, who now lives in New York.

“I remember being with aunt and my uncle and my mom and my cousin when we saw the film … and I just remember their reactions and the impact that it had on them and I said, ‘This is what I want to do.”‘

“In the Heat of the Night,” which won five Oscars, was the first of several Jewison-directed dramas that probed the effects of racism. Other examples include 1984’s “A Soldier’s Story” and 1999’s “The Hurricane.”

The Toronto-born Jewison, who founded the CFC in 1988, has a body of work that “makes us think and he tells the truth, which is very hard to do because the truth can get you in trouble,” said Daniels.

“The truth upsets a lot of people and so through his work I’ve learned to tell the truth in my work, and that’s hard to do.”

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” is the harrowing story of poor, black teenage abuse victim (Gabourey Sidibe) in Harlem.

Last week it garnered six Academy Award nominations, including best director for Daniels, who produced the 2002 drama “Monster’s Ball” that won Halle Berry a best-actress Oscar.

The nod made Daniels only the second black filmmaker to be nominated for best director in the 81-year-history of the Academy Awards. The first was John Singleton, who was nominated in 1992 for “Boys N the Hood.”

Daniels said he was “blown away” with the nomination because he didn’t see it coming.

“I can’t call the race card because I think the race card is a cheap card to call, but rather nepotism and just being in the club, you know – you’re not part of the club, you’re part of the ‘hood!” said Daniels, who made his directorial debut with the 2006 crime thriller “Shadowboxer.”

“I think that it goes beyond just race. I mean, look at Kathryn Bigelow (who could become the first woman to win a directing Oscar, for “The Hurt Locker”) – and by the way she’s a very dear friend – if she were to win, come on … My daughter is rooting for her over me!”

Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee has never been nominated for best director – only for screenwriting and documentary Oscars.

Daniels said Lee’s snub is “shocking” but again, he can’t make a race issue out of it.

“It’s more about just being in the club,” he said. “Like Kathryn, her win at the DGA (Directors Guild Awards) brought tears to my eyes because she’s in the club now.”

Sidibe is also up for a best-actress Oscar for her role in “Precious,” yet she failed to make Vanity Fair magazine’s recent cover spread on young up-and-coming female film talent.

In fact, no woman of colour was featured in the spread, prompting a flood of criticism.

Daniels noted that while Sidibe wasn’t on the cover, she, along with him and Oscar-nominated “Precious” co-star Mo’Nique, were featured inside the magazine.

“The reason why I have mixed feelings about Vanity Fair thing is that one: Guess what? We’re in it, they’ve acknowledged us, and there’s a beautiful spread on us.

“And then two: We’ve got to take baby steps. I’m not into making a statement and bringing them down. I think that we have to educate, that’s all.”

Source: The Canadian Press

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Front Page, Industry News

‘Precious’ director Lee Daniels says Cdn filmmaker Norman Jewison is ‘a mentor’

TORONTO – Oscar-nominated “Precious” director Lee Daniels says Canadian filmmaker Norman Jewison has blazed a trail for African-Americans in cinema.

“Norman Jewison is a mentor,” Daniels told The Canadian Press Tuesday before joining Jewison and Canadian director Clement Virgo (“Poor Boy’s Game”) for a panel discussion on race relations in the film industry.

“He has laid the path for the work that I’m able to do and I can’t figure out a better way to celebrate Black History Month.”

Hosted by the Canadian Film Centre, the panel discussion was to be followed by a screening of Jewison’s 1967 crime drama “In the Heat of the Night,” about a racist town in Mississippi.

Daniels said the film, which starred Sidney Poitier as a detective wrongfully accused of a crime because of his race, “was a big deal for African Americans” and was “provocative but brutally honest when America did not want to look at race at all.”

“What really sparked my interest in film was the audaciousness of ‘In the Heat of the Night,”‘ said the 50-year-old Philadelphia-born filmmaker, who now lives in New York.

“I remember being with aunt and my uncle and my mom and my cousin when we saw the film … and I just remember their reactions and the impact that it had on them and I said, ‘This is what I want to do.”‘

“In the Heat of the Night,” which won five Oscars, was the first of several Jewison-directed dramas that probed the effects of racism. Other examples include 1984’s “A Soldier’s Story” and 1999’s “The Hurricane.”

The Toronto-born Jewison, who founded the CFC in 1988, has a body of work that “makes us think and he tells the truth, which is very hard to do because the truth can get you in trouble,” said Daniels.

“The truth upsets a lot of people and so through his work I’ve learned to tell the truth in my work, and that’s hard to do.”

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” is the harrowing story of poor, black teenage abuse victim (Gabourey Sidibe) in Harlem.

Last week it garnered six Academy Award nominations, including best director for Daniels, who produced the 2002 drama “Monster’s Ball” that won Halle Berry a best-actress Oscar.

The nod made Daniels only the second black filmmaker to be nominated for best director in the 81-year-history of the Academy Awards. The first was John Singleton, who was nominated in 1992 for “Boys N the Hood.”

Daniels said he was “blown away” with the nomination because he didn’t see it coming.

“I can’t call the race card because I think the race card is a cheap card to call, but rather nepotism and just being in the club, you know – you’re not part of the club, you’re part of the ‘hood!” said Daniels, who made his directorial debut with the 2006 crime thriller “Shadowboxer.”

“I think that it goes beyond just race. I mean, look at Kathryn Bigelow (who could become the first woman to win a directing Oscar, for “The Hurt Locker”) – and by the way she’s a very dear friend – if she were to win, come on … My daughter is rooting for her over me!”

Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee has never been nominated for best director – only for screenwriting and documentary Oscars.

Daniels said Lee’s snub is “shocking” but again, he can’t make a race issue out of it.

“It’s more about just being in the club,” he said. “Like Kathryn, her win at the DGA (Directors Guild Awards) brought tears to my eyes because she’s in the club now.”

Sidibe is also up for a best-actress Oscar for her role in “Precious,” yet she failed to make Vanity Fair magazine’s recent cover spread on young up-and-coming female film talent.

In fact, no woman of colour was featured in the spread, prompting a flood of criticism.

Daniels noted that while Sidibe wasn’t on the cover, she, along with him and Oscar-nominated “Precious” co-star Mo’Nique, were featured inside the magazine.

“The reason why I have mixed feelings about Vanity Fair thing is that one: Guess what? We’re in it, they’ve acknowledged us, and there’s a beautiful spread on us.

“And then two: We’ve got to take baby steps. I’m not into making a statement and bringing them down. I think that we have to educate, that’s all.”

Source: The Canadian Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

‘Precious’ director Lee Daniels says Cdn filmmaker Norman Jewison is ‘a mentor’

TORONTO – Oscar-nominated “Precious” director Lee Daniels says Canadian filmmaker Norman Jewison has blazed a trail for African-Americans in cinema.

“Norman Jewison is a mentor,” Daniels told The Canadian Press Tuesday before joining Jewison and Canadian director Clement Virgo (“Poor Boy’s Game”) for a panel discussion on race relations in the film industry.

“He has laid the path for the work that I’m able to do and I can’t figure out a better way to celebrate Black History Month.”

Hosted by the Canadian Film Centre, the panel discussion was to be followed by a screening of Jewison’s 1967 crime drama “In the Heat of the Night,” about a racist town in Mississippi.

Daniels said the film, which starred Sidney Poitier as a detective wrongfully accused of a crime because of his race, “was a big deal for African Americans” and was “provocative but brutally honest when America did not want to look at race at all.”

“What really sparked my interest in film was the audaciousness of ‘In the Heat of the Night,”‘ said the 50-year-old Philadelphia-born filmmaker, who now lives in New York.

“I remember being with aunt and my uncle and my mom and my cousin when we saw the film … and I just remember their reactions and the impact that it had on them and I said, ‘This is what I want to do.”‘

“In the Heat of the Night,” which won five Oscars, was the first of several Jewison-directed dramas that probed the effects of racism. Other examples include 1984’s “A Soldier’s Story” and 1999’s “The Hurricane.”

The Toronto-born Jewison, who founded the CFC in 1988, has a body of work that “makes us think and he tells the truth, which is very hard to do because the truth can get you in trouble,” said Daniels.

“The truth upsets a lot of people and so through his work I’ve learned to tell the truth in my work, and that’s hard to do.”

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” is the harrowing story of poor, black teenage abuse victim (Gabourey Sidibe) in Harlem.

Last week it garnered six Academy Award nominations, including best director for Daniels, who produced the 2002 drama “Monster’s Ball” that won Halle Berry a best-actress Oscar.

The nod made Daniels only the second black filmmaker to be nominated for best director in the 81-year-history of the Academy Awards. The first was John Singleton, who was nominated in 1992 for “Boys N the Hood.”

Daniels said he was “blown away” with the nomination because he didn’t see it coming.

“I can’t call the race card because I think the race card is a cheap card to call, but rather nepotism and just being in the club, you know – you’re not part of the club, you’re part of the ‘hood!” said Daniels, who made his directorial debut with the 2006 crime thriller “Shadowboxer.”

“I think that it goes beyond just race. I mean, look at Kathryn Bigelow (who could become the first woman to win a directing Oscar, for “The Hurt Locker”) – and by the way she’s a very dear friend – if she were to win, come on … My daughter is rooting for her over me!”

Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee has never been nominated for best director – only for screenwriting and documentary Oscars.

Daniels said Lee’s snub is “shocking” but again, he can’t make a race issue out of it.

“It’s more about just being in the club,” he said. “Like Kathryn, her win at the DGA (Directors Guild Awards) brought tears to my eyes because she’s in the club now.”

Sidibe is also up for a best-actress Oscar for her role in “Precious,” yet she failed to make Vanity Fair magazine’s recent cover spread on young up-and-coming female film talent.

In fact, no woman of colour was featured in the spread, prompting a flood of criticism.

Daniels noted that while Sidibe wasn’t on the cover, she, along with him and Oscar-nominated “Precious” co-star Mo’Nique, were featured inside the magazine.

“The reason why I have mixed feelings about Vanity Fair thing is that one: Guess what? We’re in it, they’ve acknowledged us, and there’s a beautiful spread on us.

“And then two: We’ve got to take baby steps. I’m not into making a statement and bringing them down. I think that we have to educate, that’s all.”

Source: The Canadian Press

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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