What’s Up! Short Film and Black Panther!

Black Panther!!! The movie is awesome! Some like it because it is ‘black centric’; some like it because it is Marvel; but most like it because it really is ‘mad’ cool. Start with the technology, the gadgets, the applications and adaptations of technology, feels like a back in the day Star Trek with the ‘beam me up Scotty’ stuff, just mad cool. Gotta give it to the technology teams who created these ideas. The story line has the classic good vs evil framework but at multiple levels: the traditional king ritual or rival vs rival; good vs evil, the protagonists who would try to take from this great nation for their own personal benefit; and good vs evil framed by women who represent the core security and men who would destabilize just to conquer. The second intriguing aspect is the conflict of tradition and innovation and the short and long term impact of the choice. Yes, this is vague…trying to stay inside the lines of spoiler alert…but we are hoping to inspire our readers to see the movie!

Reggie Hudlin and Ryan Coogler

Reggie Hudlin completely revived Black Panther, the character for Marvel comics, back in the day. At that time he had been named President of BET. Hudlin hired by Marvel to write a Black Panther series chose to completely rethink  the character, The Black Panther. Hudlin’s run on the comic introduced major plotlines, including the landmark marriage of Black Panther and Storm, as well as the creation of T’Challa’s half-sister Princess Shuri, portrayed by Letitia Wright in the upcoming film. Meanwhile, the Black Panther animated series, which aired its sole season in 2011, was the first time a ‘black series’ has ever aired on television, also under the executive leadership of Reggie Hudlin. These last two sentences are from the article in Vulture magazine! Not to diminish in anyway the amazing accomplishment of Ryan Coogler…it would not be entirely representative without an acknowledgement of Reggie Hudlin.

Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler’s debut film was Fruitvale, a feature film that won at Sundance. For Black Panther, he is both the screenwriter and the director working with familiar actors but with a very heavy ‘dose’ of CGI, VR and Digital Media. The integration of these technologies is ‘virtually’ (pun intended) seamless! Working with a familiar crew: Chadwick, Michael B Jordan and even Lupita N’yongo…Coogler introduced actors that were less familiar but certainly equally talented in their portrayals.  The movie has great humor that parallels the seriousness of the challenges before them…there’s a fair amount of ‘black’ humor for the culturally astute…which makes for a great movie going experience.

Short Film

So what does this have to do with short film? Nothing, it is a great movie! And it totally dominates the movie airwaves of the week. However, both filmmakers began their careers making short film! Ryan Coogler made several short film including Locks, a short film made at the USC Film school in 2008.

Locks from The MY HERO Project on Vimeo.

Its a wonderful short film that definitely reflects Coogler’s sense of humanity.

Shoutout to our sister publication:  Tinsel and Tine. Also, we are changing the look and feel of the blog, we will keep you posted!!!

What’s Up!? Midwest Film Festival

Midwest Film FestivalMidwest Film Festival gets underway with their 2018 season which begins February 6, 2018! Long awaited given the success of their 2017 BMA’s awards, they open their season with the film Cold War. Its about a couple who on the day they move in together, both come down with the worst flu ever. Called the raccoon flu, it hits hard and fast, similar to their relationship which includes a lot of hard hits and emotional clashes! Have we been there, ugh…but an intriguing exploration of personal and interpersonal relationships, always a worthy endeavor.The Midwest Film Festival is the nation’s only film festival solely dedicated to the Midwest filmmaker, presenting audiences with regionally produced independent cinema every first Tuesday of the month at Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 North Clark in Chicago.

This year-round film festival sits proudly at the center of the independent film scene in Chicago and the Midwest and is dedicated to celebrating and strengthening the Midwest filmmaking community.

Cold War

Lonnie Edwards

A Chicago based filmmaker who spent his first 11 years working as a consultant…moving to film professionally as a way of telling stories his children would appreciate. As his work gained international acclaim, he realized and appreciated the power and impact of film and that film could in fact be his voice. He decided to create stories from his unique perspective, not unusual, but he strayed from the ‘safe space’ and instead followed his own truth.

Edwards hit a couple of ‘controversial’ bumps in the road, mostly surrounding his film about Ferguson, Missouri. Many of these events and emerging issues caused him to refocus his efforts. He re-edited the film to be a short film: Ferguson, still controversial but also poignant. The experience was both profound and humbling. He credits the effort with significantly influencing his work as an artist.

His work has been seen in the Chicago International Film Festival, The Collected Voices Film Festival and most recently the Manchester International Film Festival. He’s on the rise as an artist.


It was another amazing and great festival.  Many have suggested the festival included work from the most diverse audience of filmmakers, and many would agree. Few of the feature films found buyers…the industry is just catching up to the changing demographics and appetites of the US.

2018 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Awards:

The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: Matria / Spain (Director and screenwriter: Álvaro Gago) —Faced with a challenging daily routine, Ramona tries to take refuge in her relationships with her daughter and granddaughter.

The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Hair Wolf / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Mariama Diallo) — In a black hair salon in gentrifying Brooklyn, the local residents fend off a strange new monster: white women intent on sucking the lifeblood from black culture.

The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to:Would You Look at Her / Macedonia (Director and screenwriter: Goran Stolevski) — A hard-headed tomboy spots the unlikely solution to all her problems in an all-male religious ritual.

The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to: The Trader (Sovdagari) / Georgia (Director: Tamta Gabrichidze) — Gela sells secondhand clothes and household items in places where money is potatoes.

The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: GLUCOSE / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeron Braxton) — Sugar was the engine of the slave trade that brought millions of Africans to America. Glucose is sweet, marketable and easy to consume, but its surface satisfaction is a thin coating on the pain of many disenfranchised people.

Special Jury Award was presented to: Emergency / U.S.A. (Director: Carey Williams, Screenwriter: K.D. Dávila) — Faced with an emergency situation, a group of young Black and Latino friends carefully weigh the pros and cons of calling the police.

Special Jury Award was presented to: Fauve / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Jérémy Comte) — Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game, with Mother Nature as the sole observer.

Special Jury Award was presented to: For Nonna Anna / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Luis De Filippis) — A trans girl cares for her Italian grandmother. She assumes that her Nonna disapproves of her – but instead discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.

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