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‘Pass-over’ breakout Namir Smallwood on the long road to Broadway

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'Pass-over' breakout Namir Smallwood on the long road to Broadway

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When Namir Smallwood took the stage for the first premiere of his first Broadway show, the audience gave him a thunderous standing ovation along with him and his “Pass Over” co-star John Michael Hill. Not only did they stand up and shout for the actors, they acknowledged that “Pass Over” was making history that night at the August Wilson Theater, which became the first show to return after more than a year of COVID-related lockdown.

“As soon as the curtain went up, people went crazy,” Smallwood recalls. “After the play, there were three curtain calls. Theater is energy. As an actor, I elicit that kind of reaction.”

“Pass Over” also marks an important milestone in the 37-year-old Smallwood’s career. It was daunting at first, but in recent years it has gained momentum thanks to a series of electric performances in productions like “Bug”. Steppenwolf’s “True West” and Lincoln Center’s “Pass Over” from previous iterations. Smallwood made his Broadway debut and took his turn for the role of the friendly Kitch who can’t leave the corner of a desolate street, acclaimed as well as starring in Alex Thompson’s “Rounding”. Showtime mini-series “American Rust”. In “Rounding,” the story of a medical student going through an existential crisis, Smallwood is at the forefront, appearing in almost every scene. Director Thompson’s acclaimed ‘Saint Francis’ film is scheduled to tour next year’s film festival.

“I spent time in quarantine to prepare my mind and body to be ready for each restart,” says Smallwood.

The busy dance card is a stark contrast to a few years ago when Smallwood said he couldn’t get a job in a major theater company. After graduating from the University of Minnesota and the Guthrie Theater’s actor training programs, Smallwood took on a few roles in Chicago in local productions, such as the revival of Lanford Wilson’s “The Hot L Baltimore”, but that big break didn’t lead to other roles.

“I haven’t been able to find a job in Chicago for five years. “I auditioned a lot, but nothing happened.”

At one point, things got so bad that Smallwood considered a job at Subway or Target. However, the situation changed when she was cast in the drama ‘Charm’ about a transgender charm school that debuted in Chicago in 2015. It led to a series of brilliant transitions in Steppenwolf and an invitation to join the theater’s ensemble that served as a launch pad for people like John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, Joan Allen and Tracy Letts.

“I’ve never been anxious or depressed,” Smallwood said. “I’ve known since the age of 14 that this was my job. I always felt I would give something. I sacrificed a lot to do this and found that nothing else could make me happy. There was no plan B, so this had to work. And now I feel like it happened when it was meant to happen.”

“Passover” is also a very different kind of play from the plays that populate Broadway theaters, which tend to be devoted to the tenth revival of musicals based on plays or films by Albee or Shaw or Shakespeare. Written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu after Freddie Gray’s death in 2015, the show is a fierce accusation of organized racism. Using Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” as a template, the play follows two black men in an unnamed city center who struggle to avoid police violence. As they struggle to avoid police violence, they dream of a better life as they “cross over” into a paradise full of them. Simple pleasures like clean socks.

Three years after “Pass Over” performed at Lincoln Center, the show became even more popular. The deaths of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and Amaud Albery last year have revived interest in police brutality and sparked protests around the world. The racial counting taking place in this country and around the world, all set against the backdrop of an epidemic that has disproportionately affected people of color, makes the story of “Passover” feel like a shining mirror in these difficult times.

“We are actually living right now,” Smallwood said.

The show includes “Clyde’s” by Lynn Nottage, “Thoughts of a Colored Man” by Keenan Scott II, “Lackawanna Blues” by Ruben-Santiago Hudson, and “Chicken & Biscuits” by Douglas Lyons.” It also comes amid widespread debate about how Broadway, which has historically emphasized white actors and writers and has overwhelmingly catered to white and wealthy audiences, can diversify both its highlight shows and service audiences.

“I don’t want to do it like this season has allowed Broadway to pat itself,” says Smallwood. “I want this to be a watershed moment. I hope Aboriginal playwrights get their chance. I want Latino writers to play on Broadway, and I want Asian playwrights and other artists of color to produce on Broadway.”

“Pass Over” is being produced at the peak of the pandemic, so Smallwood and the rest of the cast will have to be tested frequently, wear masks, and agree to only meet people in outdoor settings. The bubble of the show must be maintained. In other words, the inability to greet fans at the stage door after the show deprived them of the totem of the Broadway experience. However, the new world order has brought about some positive developments. The cast of ‘Pass Over’ gets paid to get physical therapy and consult with a mental health professional.

“I hope this will become the standard for all shows,” Smallwood said. “When we did this play three years ago, we didn’t even study and it was hard to deal with this subject. This time we have set aside money so that we can deal with this in a healthy way. There are many things to point out. Every time we go on stage and do a special play on this particular subject at this particular time, there is a cost.”



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San Sebastian Film Festival: 10 Lessons to Learn

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San Sebastian Film Festival: 10 Lessons to Learn

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(This article was updated on September 17th)

In September of last year, San Sebastian created a small miracle and held a safe on-site festival when the second Corona 19 spread in Spain. On-site attendees will grow this year, but due to travel issues, cautions and costs in Latin America, the United States and Asia, the entire attendee will not be able to attend.

That said, this year’s festival, which runs from September 17 to 25, will be launched on all cylinders as a Spanish film shop, a new talent hub and launchpad for the local Basque industry. Here are 10 of the most important cinematic events in the Spanish-speaking world.

Star Power: Cruz, Banderas, Bardem, Depp, Cotillard, Chastain, Tucci, Peters
Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas attend the Spanish premiere of “Official Competition” and the world premiere of “The Good Boss” by Javier Bardem. Johnny Depp (arguably) and Marion Cotillard receive the Donostia Award for Achievement. Jessica Chastain is the only American film to compete in the US finals for ‘Eyes of Tammy Faye’, and Stanley Tucci and Clarke Peters to ‘La Fortuna’ to decorate the world premiere of Stars surrounded by crowds love San Sebastian. Their 2021 presence will be chosen, but still strong.

Genre: New Revolution
After Cannes Award-winning “Titane,” another French femme writer, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s “Earwig” is certainly one of San Sebastian’s most anticipated titles. José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, said, “Expect the enthusiastic response of female horror directors later this year.” But another revolution is taking place. San Sebastian was used to prime the straight arrow art house. The classic horror plays “Earwig” and “La Abuela” are now competing. Another Golden Shell competitor, China’s “Fire in the Plains”, is a thriller, just like “Daughter”, out of competition. “Writers no longer want to make genre films, they want to tell stories and use genres to achieve that,” says Levordinos. Genre author films are set to revolutionize Europe’s former art scene.

buzz title
The “Official Competition” was well received in Venice. There are good reviews for “Good Boss” and two first works by a woman. “As in Heaven” by Dane Tea Lindeburg is a female-focused, adult-era piece created with a modern perspective. And Romania’s Aline Grigore’s “Blue Moon” is a portrait depicting the toxic masculinity of a shady clan of modern hoteliers: sexist, authoritarian, violent, and self-pity. The topic of ‘New Directors’ is Mar Pecio’s “That Weekend”, a mother-daughter drama with a Western-style atmosphere. “Julieta’s” a prison-set romantic drama in a fantasy soap opera starring Emma Suárez, “Josephine” by Javier Marco in Spain; and “Rust,” written by Colombian Juan Sebastián Mesa, critiques the weakness and devastating aftermath of the rural economy.

Johnny Depp
When San Sebastian announced the Donostia Award for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, it sparked international outrage. Why win a prize for a person who lost a defamation lawsuit against the British tabloid Sun, for beating his wife? San Sebastian refuted that Depp was never arrested, charged with or convicted of sexual assault, reminding critics that he had always fought “inequality”. Now, in collaboration with (H)emen, Basque women’s association in the audiovisual sector and in the landscape arts, we will organize a festival workshop dealing with gender equality and the Depp debate. “I think there was a divide between people and groups who shared a common goal,” Levordinos said. Look forward to more gender initiatives in the future.

Movistar Plus: Raising Expectations for Movies and TV Series
The second highly anticipated San Sebastian title is not a movie, but “La Fortuna”, a six-part series produced by Movistar Plus, AMC Studios and Mod, starring Stanley Tucci and Clarke Peters “The Wire’s”. This is the first TV series of ‘The Arthur’ directed by Alejandro Amenabar. “La Fortuna”, a humorous adventure thriller that spans America and Spain, past and present, is the largest international co-production in Spanish history. The world premiere of “La Fortuna’s” San Sebastian comes weeks after Movistar Plus released photos of Alberto Rodríguez’s “Modelo 77”. Now, the key is whether Movista Plus will jump into film production with the same vitality it showed in the drama. We are definitely moving more to San Sebastian, creating the groundbreaking San Sebastian Virtual Cinema on the platform.

for business
Most of the French international industry will move into San Sebastian this year. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible. Venice Business turns the lineup. Toronto 2021 is paralyzed by travel restrictions. AFM plays online. Across Europe, producers and sales agents are desperate to sit at the same table as potential partners and customers. Much of the film business cannot be done with Zoom alone. San Sebastian is as close to Paris as Cannes, an easy train ride to the fabulous resorts. Expect significant French and continental European presence this year.

Local Heroes: Spain’s Mighty San Sebastian Presence
Fighting fears that a new subsidy system will wipe out domestic film production, San Sebastian 2021 boasts the strongest official selection Spanish film presence in years. Seven titles, four final competition categories, and an “official competition” straight from the Venice premiere.
But what’s really surprising about this year’s Spanish film lineup is the high production standards and remarkable diversity the film shares, Rebordinos says. It can be seen from competitors. Iciar Bollain’s post-Basque conflict reconciliation drama “Maixabel” is “openly political,” he says. Fernando León de Aranoa’s “The Good Boss” puts weight on work comedy, and Paco Plaza’s “La Abuela” looks much more mainstream, but is a tale of a nightmare relative. “Quien lo imide” by Jonas Trueba, a half-fiction-doctor, celebrates the vision and virtues of Madrid’s millennials.

hot ticket project
Launched in 2012, San Sebastian’s European-Latin American Co-Production Forum has quickly integrated into the festival’s industrial hub, forming the latest projects from many of Latin America’s most popular art house directors and producers. This year is no exception. Hernán Musaluppi is sponsoring Paula Hernández (“Sleepwalkers”) from Argentina, “El Viento Que Arrasa” from Storyboards from Chile, and “El Porvenir de la Mirada” from Sebastián Lelio Cristian Leighton. Brazil’s Desvia Produçoes is behind Johnny Ma’s “Chin-Gone”, “Alemania” is Tarea Fina, and “La Sucesión” is behind Pasto and Gema Films. New Argentine cinema icon Diego Dubkovsky creates “People of the Night” by Romina Pola. A strong lineup. We expect many of these titles to play at major festivals in the next few years.

Basque Talent Cultivation
There is Basque production, but Iciar Bollaín’s highly anticipated “Maixabel” is a sign of how much the Basque industry has developed over the past decade, with the news that Koldo Zuazua produced no Basque director in this year’s main competition. Top Basque Costume Kowalski Films. The strength of the Basque industry will be felt in many other ways as well. The San Sebastian ecosystem of the Festival, Tabakalera, Filmoteca Vasca and Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola is still growing. 2deoseriak, the latest high-performance drama series development lab, will be presented at the festival. Leire Apellaniz produced “Sacred Spirit”, which received high marks in Locarno. A new generation of Mikel Gurrea, Alauda Ruíz de Azúa, David Pérez Sañudo and Esti Urresola have films in the works. Public broadcaster ETB is immersed in premium fiction, yokeing Basque roots and innovations, and targeting a youth audience.

$1.9 billion in the Spanish AVS Hub
On March 24, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez stepped up Spanish film and TV production, large foreign players set up filming and production centers in Spain. How it works is another matter. Details will be provided in a two-hour presentation at San Sebastian on September 21st. Rather, it is most likely packed. But the bigger picture is encouraging. José Nevado of Spanish producer assn said: “For the first time, audiovisual is on the agenda of the Spanish government. head. And in a big sense.



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Sundance Winner ‘Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma’, NYTimes Premiere

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Sundance Winner 'Don't Go Tellin' Your Momma', NYTimes Premiere

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The New York Times’ Op-Docs Initiative selects “Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma,” which won the Jury Prize for Nonfiction Short Film at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, to be released at the NYTimes on September 14th. .com.

Directed by Topaz Jones and film production duo Rubberband (Jason Filmore Sondock and Simon Davis), the 38-minute film features Jones himself by presenting “The Black ABCs”, inspired by a set of alphabetic flashcards developed by black educators. Explore Jones’ education on identity. In 1970 it was used as an alternative to the commonly available European-centric educational tools available in Chicago. Jones created his own version of Black ABCs, updated for the lives of now black Americans, resulting in 26 scenes that served as companions to Jones’ musical album of the same name.

Winner of a Special Jury Award for Fantastic Storytelling at SXSW 2021, the film will premiere as part of Op-Docs, a short documentary series for the media company produced by an independent filmmaker.

“At the heart of ‘Don’t Tell Mom’ is a desire to preserve,” Jones said. “We found the joy of discovering new and creative ways to record life moments as long as we can speak to the spirit of many lives. We are honored to partner with a historical institution such as The Times to present a primitive and unconventional exploration of thought and memory as a documentary of the complex relationship of identity with early black Americans. I hope to inspire and see others discover their selves for the next generation.”

“We often think of creating a three-dimensional object in a two-dimensional space while making this piece,” said Rubberband. “People who love him have tried topaz-shaped holograms for those who love him,” he added. “In that sense, this film was an effort by the villagers who believed in our portrait of topaz and the process of making it. We keep talking about bringing movies home. We truly believe that the physical city and place this film belongs to exists in this world. Small nooks and crannies are carved where Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma’ fits. like Chicago. and Montclair. and 8th grade classrooms. And on a hot summer day, covered in sweat.”

Christine Kecher, Senior Commissioning Editor at Op-Docs, said, “We are excited to release a short film that pushes these limits on The Times’ digital and mobile platforms. “Op-Docs has been following the film’s journey since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year. We’re excited to partner with filmmakers to share this incredible work of visual and musical imagination with a global audience.”

“Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma” was produced by Smuggler in collaboration with Frenzy Paris, BWGTBLD GmbH and Section 80. Luigi Rossi is a producer along with Executive Producer of Kevin Storey, with creative direction by Eric J. McNeal and photography by Chayse Irvin. Op-Docs are produced by Adam Ellick executives.



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‘Queen’s Gambit’ Wins Night 1 at Creative Arts Emmys 2021

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'Queen's Gambit' Wins Night 1 at Creative Arts Emmys 2021

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“Queen’s Gambit”, “The Mandalorian”, “Saturday Night Live”, “The Crown” and “Pose” were among the top winners on Saturday. The first wave of this year’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards was presented in downtown Los Angeles. .

Netflix dominated the network and platform with 12 victories along with 7 trophies collected from the limited series “The Queen’s Gambit”.

The event was held in an outdoor tent at the LA Live Complex due to the pandemic situation. Due to the need for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the number of attendees has decreased significantly compared to previous years. Those who attended the show in person were vaccinated and went through a lot of paperwork and on-site screening to prove that they had tested negative for the virus within the last 48 hours.

The “Queen’s Gambit’s” hall included awards for period costumes, period makeup, production design and cinematography for a limited series. It was emphasized that several of the program’s award-winning works are becoming increasingly international, with residents living outside the United States. “We’re bringing this baby to Berlin,” said Sabine Schaaf, “Queen’s Gambit” set decorator, as he lifted the Emmy.

The first presentation of the three Creative Arts Emmy Awards was also on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. That milestone was also not lost by Keith Raywood, one of the “Saturday Night Live” winners of the variety series’ production design category. This was one of three categories taken by the venerable NBC Late Night Series, which is entering its 47th season this year. In his remarks, 37-year “SNL” veteran Raywood pointed out the parallels between the upheaval sparked by the 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon and today’s fight against the epidemic.

“We did our first show again two weeks ago, 20 years ago,” Raywood said of “SNL”‘s return to production after the attack. “It was then that I first realized that I did more than the show, but it was much more important in people’s lives. “It felt very similar to that moment last year.”

The biggest challenge for the staff was whether it was okay to laugh again or if it was okay to be funny. said Raywood. “The country was in shock and comedy could be very inappropriate,” he said.

Among the bewildered winners was HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” for photo editing for a variety show, where she battled Emmy’s lovers like “SNL” against fellow HBO series “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”.

Winner Daysha Broadway, who leads the “BLSS” team, which includes Stephanie Filo and Jessica Hernandez, took note of what the trio meant for the top prize in the editorial category, a craft that was traditionally male-dominated, but also a notable springboard. Famous female cutters like Thelma Schoonmaker.

Broadway was moved by emphasizing how rare it is for a woman of color to achieve the highest level of success in crafts, let alone three women. Broadway said the recognition of her industry peers has shown that black and brown women have a variety of talents not yet seen on the world stage.

Broadway credited the star and showrunner for the show’s backstage diversity at every level, saying “Thank you for being you” to “BLSS” head Robin Ted. Backstage, Broadway urged others to get Thede’s signal. “I think it’s very important for people to build a diverse and inclusive workforce, while also listening to them and getting them to work when they arrive,” she said.

These career opportunities have already opened the door to potentially long careers in TV to the show’s many crew, craft and craft workers. It tells black and brown women, “We see you, we love you. You are not one.”

Naturally, FX’s “Pose” won three of the Style Awards, winning trophies in the Contemporary Makeup, Hairstyling and Costume categories in a very competitive year. The winners of the drama series, which aired for three consecutive seasons in June, were also touched by the show’s legacy of driving change and opportunity in the industry for the underprivileged, beyond the previously hoped for a career in Hollywood.

Hairstylist Tene Wilder, one of six on the team to win a Contemporary Hairstyling Emmy on FX’s groundbreaking drama “Pose”, said, “For a little girl from ‘The Hood,’ this is a dream.

lazy loaded images

The “Pose” hairstyling team celebrates behind the scenes. From left: Greg Bazemore, Rob Harmon, Barry Lee Moe, Tene Wilder and Timothy Harvey.

Barry Lee Moe, Head of Hair “Pose” gave a moving speech dedicated to the win to the transgender community. Mo said, “This award is for all transgender people who have felt abandoned and invisible in this world, but who have found the courage and strength to somehow survive each day despite the constant challenges that are thrown at the door every morning.” . “This award is for transgender people who carelessly steal and shorten their lives through ignorance, hatred and violence. This award is for transgender sisters and elders who have laid the very foundations on which we stand today.”

This year’s frontrunners, Disney Plus’s popular “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” and Netflix’s “The Crown” were overshadowed by “Queen’s Gambit” on the crafty Night 1’s category slate. (2 more) The Creative Arts Awards Ceremony will be broadcast live on September 12, and the main event will be broadcast live on September 19.) ‘The Mandalorian’ won three awards including a 30-minute series single camera shoot and prosthetic makeup.

“WandaVision”, which won two Emmys for an outstanding production design for a narrative program (30 minutes) and outstanding fantasy/sci-fi costumes, gave Marvel Studios the first award. Costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo felt emotions while speaking backstage.

“As female managers, immigrants and Mexicans, we are working hard to get here.

‘Crown’ won two trophies in the single camera series (1 hour) shooting category and the drama series photo editing category. “Mandalorian” and “Crown” were top nominees this year with 24 bids each.

Apple TV Plus’ delightful comedy mastermind “Ted Lasso” added two more pieces of hardware to the trophy case, winning Emmys for photo editing and sound mixing. The series is a comedy leader this year, winning a record 20 Emmys in its freshman season. Most of the nominations for “Ted Lasso” will be picked up at the Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony on September 19th, which will be broadcast live on CBS.

Another memorable moment from Saturday’s Creative Arts presentation was a moment almost reminiscent of the 2017 Academy Awards, when hosts June Diane Raphael and Paul Scheer announced the erroneous Best Picture winners in the first place by presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Raphael and Scheer stopped themselves before sending misinformation into space.

“I feel this is not right. I feel bad.” Scheer was stunned on stage. “I was careful enough to know that this person was not a candidate.”

Afterwards, Raphael told reporters backstage that the moment was real and not scripted. “There were moments when I looked at Paul and thought, ‘Have we heard of that candidate?’” Raphael said. They had the correct card, but it turns out they were reading the wrong section. “I yelled at the accountant,” Scheer added backstage. “The best part of my night was being yelled at by the PricewaterhouseCoopers staff.”

The highlights of this weekend’s three Creative Arts Emmy Awards will air September 18th at 8pm on FXX.

(Pictured above: Deisha Broadway, Stephanie Philo, Jessica Hernandez, winner of HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show”)



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