While the Sundance Film Festival is where notable Black films such as 'Hustle and Flow,' 'Precious,' and 'Night Catches Us' get mainstream attention and distribution, there are some films that went through the Black film festival circuit (Pan African, ABFF, Urbanworld) that deserve the same respect and should be picked up and shown in theaters.
Here's a look at 5 films that should be in theaters for 2011.
'35 and Ticking'
Written and directed by Russ Parr, the romantic comedy '35 and Ticking' stars Nicole Ari Parker, Tamala Jones, Kevin Hart, Keith Robinson, Meagan Good, Mike Epps, Kym Whitley, Clifton Powell, Jill Marie Jones, Dondre Whitfield and Aaron D. Spears.
According to executive producer Kym Whitley, "It's a feel-good film about four friends that grew up together and how one of them wants to be married with children. Sometimes you are looking for love, but don't realize that the love of your life was your friend all along."
Victoria (Jones), Zenobia (Parker), Clevon (Hart), and Phil (Robinson), friends approaching the age of 35, are all struggling to build the families they've always dreamed of. While Zenobia is still looking for a man, Victoria is married to a man who doesn't want children.
Clevon, meanwhile, is too geeky to get a woman, and Phil is already married with children, but his wife is not very interested in being a mother. All four of them try to rectify their romantic lives and futures while their biological clocks tick away.
Robert O'Hara is making his directorial debut with 'The Inheritance.' The film is produced by Effie T. Brown and her production company, Duly Noted Inc.
Five cousins find out about a centuries old family ritual of sacrifice to an African spirit and must fight for their lives or take their place in a long line of offered souls.
The story centers on family friends (played by Golden Brooks, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Rochelle Aytes, Shawn Michael Howard, and D.B Woodside) who gather during a winter storm for a 'secret' reunion at the family estate. The connection to their tortured history is one of only passing fascination. The reunion turns deadly when the elders have to make good on an ancient pact with a spirit of an ancestor. Now, it's this generation's turn to make the ultimate sacrifice. It is their duty and their destiny, but they won't give up without a fight to survive.
Also starring in the film are Keith David, Novella Nelson, Adriane Lenox, André De Shields, and Lanre Idewu.
The film played at Jeff Friday's 14th Annual American Black Film Festival in June where the Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance by an Actor was awarded to Brooks for her performance.
Salli Richardson headlines a film directed by 'Soul Food' star Rockmond Dunbar -- his directorial debut -- entitled 'Pastor Brown.'
Also starring and featured in the film are Nicole Ari Parker, Keith David, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Beach, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tasha Smith, Dondre T. Whitfield, Rockmond Dunbar, Ernie Hudson, Monica, Angie Stone and India.Arie.
When her father unexpectedly falls terminally ill, exotic dancer Jessica "Jesse" Brown returns home for the first time in more than a decade. Her father's dying wish - that she take over as head of Mount Olive Baptist Church - turns her life and her family's life upside down. Jesse accepts her father's commission, thereby pitting herself against her sister and most of the leadership at Mount Olive who know her sordid past. Through accepting her father's request, Jesse embarks upon a course that changes her world forever. Not only does she reconnect with her family and her teenage son, but she also finds the dignity and self-love she lost so long ago.
Shown at the American Black Film Festival in 2009, the film has yet to be picked up for theater distribution.
'Everyday Black Man'
Directed by Carmen Madden, the film stars Omari Hardwick, Henry Brown, and 'For Colored Girls' Tessa Thompson.
When Claire meets Malik, A small time grocer, she is instantly swept off her feet by this charming young spiritual leader, even though her father Moses (Henry Brown) has his misgivings. But when Malik's true colors shine through as both a boyfriend and business partner, Moses must protect both Claire and their community from danger.
Directed by Harry A. Davis, the film stars Wood Harris, N'Bushe Wright, Roger Guenivere Smith, Obba Babtunde, and Jamie Hector.
An official selection of the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 - Detroit, the most crime-ridden city in the United States, is home to gang activities approaching the level of urban warfare. Tony Smalls (Wood Harris), a public defender who grew up in the inner city, finds his aspirations of upward mobility threatened when he is brought face to face with the world he has worked to overcome.