Category Archives: Post By: Chris B

Where Are The Brown Women Filmmakers?

A weekly spotlight on inspiring female directors of color and their latest projects.  

photo_1323880449608-1-0Susan Youssef

Susan Youssef is another festival award-winning filmmaker that I follow on Twitter. Her tale of forbidden love in Gaza, “Habibi” is touring this month as part of Human Rights Film Festival, screening in Israel (April 13), London (April 19) and across Switzerland. You can purchase the film on DVD as well. Her next feature, “Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf” has received support from the Doha Institute. The story follows an Arab-American girl who must come to terms with her sexuality (originally a short that played at Sundance).
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Throwback Thursday: “B is for The Bigelow Effect”

Indies Unchained has been up and running for eight months now, which is something I’m very proud of. To highlight this accomplishment, I wanted to offer a sort of greatest hits segment featuring my highest viewed posts. This post was originally published during Academy Awards Season back in February.

“If you hold a mirror up to society, and you don’t like what you see, you can’t fault the mirror. It’s a mirror.”         Kathryn Bigelow

Let’s go back to a simpler time: Oscar Season, 2010. It was nail-biting year for women filmmakers everywhere as we awaited to see history being made. Kathryn Bigelow was nominated for Best Director with her war film THE HURT LOCKER. Could she win? Should she win? What would it mean for women filmmakers present and future?

Fast forward to today: Oscar Season, 2012. Bigelow won the Oscar and the progress two years later is…slim to none. The ballots don’t lie. If you look at this year’s nominees, you might actually think her win was all some wonderful dream.

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The Hunger Games Hype

Do you know anyone who read any of the books from The Hunger Games trilogy? If you’re reading this then most likely your answer will be a resounding ‘no’ seeing as the first book in the series came out in 2008.

Every time I watch the trailer for the film I start to feel a little bit like Denzel Washington oddly enough…being that I get the feeling of déjà vu and we all know that Denzel is the master of this phenomenon due to his role in the film Déjà Vu.

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Publicity Stunt: Sacha Baron Cohen at The Academy’s

Sacha Baron Cohen in "The Dictator"

Earlier today, word broke out from The Academy and the camp surrounding Sacha Baron Cohen about Mr. Cohen wanting to dress as his character from the upcoming film “The Dictator.” Apparently Cohen was outraged when the Academy said “No, you can’t come dressed that way” and in response released an obviously satirical video (linked below) of him saying things like “I am outraged at being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Zionists,” and “while I applaud the Academy for taking away my free speech.”

Just a couple hours later in the day the Academy confirmed that Mr. Cohen would be able to put on the stunt as he wishes on the red carpet, but will wear a tuxedo for the actual ceremony.

Some have said that Mr. Cohen being banned by the Academy in the first place is in and of itself a publicity stunt put on by both parties in order to boost the ratings for the upcoming award show. I don’t know if fully believe it or not, but if it’s true it would make a whoooole lot of sense. I mean the Academy responded to his demands in mere hours (granted they only have like 48 hours left before the show airs) and to be honest they really don’t have to let Mr. Cohen do a damn thing if they don’t want to. The Oscars may have had low ratings in the past couple of years, but they’re still the f***ing Oscars. Let’s just be clear about that. And I love Sacha Baron Cohen, but who gives a flying f*** about seeing him dressed as a dictator for 20 minutes on the red carpet? I certainly don’t.

To be honest I barely even watch the red carpet. I’m not into fashion enough to care about who any of the ladies are wearing, all of the men are dressed in the same penguin tuxedo and all of the interviewers ask the same BORING and MUNDANE questions. So bump that noise and just bring on the ceremony.

Tell me your thoughts about the situation.

There’s a Reason: Oscars?

As the Oscars fast approaches I have been trying to educate myself on everything I can about the films, actors, and directors etc. who are nominated. One of my favorite websites to get my daily dose of Hollywood information (gossip) is

To my delight, one post on the had a link to the script for the film “The Artist” which I have been dying to read. Since I’ve heard of “The Artist” I’ve been so interested in what on earth the script must look like since there’s no written dialogue.

The Artist

The script is only 42 pages long and I adore it. I haven’t seen the actual film, but I have to say that if the film is anything like the script then I’m sure I would give it all the accolades it has been acquiring. For the most it cuts out all the sturm and drang that we writers have to deal with in terms of dialogue. And I’m aware that a version of this film was already nominated for short film at the Academy Awards previously which would probably give the impression that most of the work had already been done to make this film, but all I can say is…so what? It looks well written and it’s here in present day and it’s NOW.

This brings up an interesting point though that some people think the only reason that films like “The Artist” are getting so much attention is not in the fact that they have substance and talent, but because they have the gimmick: particularly the fact that “The Artist” is a (mostly) silent film. And that therefore the film is on its knees begging for the Academy to give it an award because it’s so “different,”

I have no idea whether that’s true or not, but I can tell you one thing: Most of the other films nominated for the Academy this year are kind of boring and the only reason that they are nominated is because they have *cough* George Clooney *cough* in them or *cough* Steven Spielberg *cough* directed them.

As much as I love Clooney and Spielberg I just hope EVERYONE analyzes their films with much more than they have been.

T.V. Show Review: ABC’s “The River”

ABC debuted a new television show titled The River last Tuesday (February 7th). The show is co-created/co-produced by none other than one of our favorite lucky S.O.B.’s of the past 3 years, Oren Peli, who wrote/produced/directed the first Paranormal Activity film and has had a hand in all of the subsequent sequels. The show is also co-produced by Steven Spielberg, who is also co-producing NBC’s new show Smash which is about a group of characters coming together to create a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe…Okaaaaaaaaaaaay Mr. Spielberg. Terra Nova I understand, but Smash is a little out of left field if you ask me.

"The River" Promo Logo

The River is about a group of adventure /exploration T.V. show makers who go on a (you guessed it) river journey to find the host and crew of the show who went missing on an uncharted Amazon river six months at of the start pilot episode. The group runs into all sorts of mysterious spirits, magical tribes and supernatural beings along their journey and so you know it’s gonna get ghost-a-licious.

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Casting: Children’s Programming vs. Adult Programming

Mighty Morhin Power Rangers

As an avid viewer of children’s programming, I usually don’t feel the need to analyze too much when I’m watching Disney or Nickelodeon. For me at least, when I watch Wizards of Waverly Place it’s supposed to be a light and fun affair where I can just kick back and watch Selena Gomez get into crazy magical shenanigans without having to think about the societal issues of what she’s doing. I’ll save that kind of thinking for The Walking Dead.

***Side Note Before We Continue: I hope readers don’t think I’m a creepy pedophile for watching Disney shows. Trust me, I’m not. In fact, I rather dislike children, but for some reason the adventures they get themselves into are hilarious to me. When a main character breaks his or her mom’s favorite vase I NEED to know if they’ll get in trouble or not 🙂 ****

One thing that I have noticed about children’s programming (including cartoons) is the fact that it seems like the creators/casting crews put so much emphasis into making the shows diverse. You probably have not seen any children’s programming lately, but believe me when I tell you that there seems to be a formula on how friends of the main characters are cast.

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13 Episodes or Less

So I’m in my favorite T.V. show supermarket picking up a fresh batch of new seasons of my favorite hour-long shows. The Walking Dead in the deli section, True Blood at the bakery and Pretty Little Liars (Haters gonna hate) in seafood. I browse through the aisles and decide to try some new series I think I might (and do) enjoy like American Horror Story, Revenge and Once Upon A Time (Your hate is showing). I get to the checkout lane and I see that the 13 episodes or less lane is open and there are only a few people in it. Meanwhile the other lanes go from the front of the store to the back. What should I do?

Obviously put some of the shows back. No one could choose between all these lovely choices you say? Noooooope. You most certainly can.

In the past couple of years that I’ve been watching television drama series there’s one thing that (I think) makes the ones that are well made linked in some way is that most of them have seasons with 13 episodes or less. Continue reading

Meryl Streep Reigns Supreme…At the Golden Globes

Watching the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards I didn’t expect to be surprised more by Meryl Streep than I thought by Ricky Gervais, but by as God as my witness: It happened.

Meryl accepted her award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her role as Margaret Thatcher in the film The Iron Lady last night and not only did she say as the last words in her acceptance speech “I love you Viola [Davis]. You’re my girl,” but she also mentioned the independent film Pariah which if you have not seen or heard of accounts the life of a black lesbian. Meryl Streep also named a couple other independent films for those of you who had lost hope that Hollywood never pays attention to us Indies out there. #indiesunchained.

Okay, where do I begin…hmmmm let’s see…God bless you Meryl Streep for realizing where to give credit where credit is due. Not many people in the general public knew who Viola Davis was (or if they did know didn’t really care) before The Help and I’m sure Meryl Streep only had a slight inkling due to Viola Davis’s role in the film Doubt for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars in 2009. But how much time did Meryl really get to know Viola? Now Meryl Streep is calling Viola Davis out for being her girl? There’s more to the story.

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Snub Me Tender: A Love/Hate Story

Like everyone (trying to make it) in this industry I was ecstatic for the release of the 69th annual Golden Globe nominations a few weeks ago…until I saw it. Like every year there were television shows, films and names on the list that I thought the Hollywood Foreign Press clearly forgot to add and other shows, films and names on the list that I thought were a part of some Hollywood stunt put on by the producers of the new reboot of everyone’s favorite celebrity prank show “Punk’d.” It wasn’t until weeks later did I realize that this was in fact the real list. Oh, Lord. Continue reading

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