Spotlight: New Filmmaker Koran Dunbar - Greencastle

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Last month I attended a Reelblack Dinner and a Movie event at Cafe Mills Point of Destination Cafe (6460 Greene St Philadelphia 19119). Just days before, my car of 23 years died it's final death.  In addition to grieving for the loss of such a long standing entity in my life and needing to get back and forth to work; I was most concerned that I'd miss a lot of blogging opportunities while working out the transportation dilemma.

I was given a sign of hope immediately, as the first email I opened while feeling dismay, was an invitation to this dinner and a movie - located less than 10 min on foot from where I live!

So see, you have to have faith in things big and small; something new filmmaker Koran Dunbar experienced first hand while making his film Greencastle.  As a child, Dunbar started his life as an inner city youth, but a family tragedy brought he and his sister to be raised by a white foster family in rural, Greencastle PA.

Writer/Director Koran Dunbar with Mike D of Reelblack

Dunbar (age 32) has experienced quite a bit (not necessarily in order), including losing a wife, raising a son as a single father, being homeless, becoming a production assistant with NBC, remarrying, buying a home, draining his savings and mortgaging that home to make this film, even though, he's never even made a short, or attended a single film class.

He's done everything by faith, luck, talent, perseverance and perhaps a little stupidity.  Much of which he wrote and directed into Greencastle, in which he plays the lead, Poitier, a black man living in Greencastle PA, who's a single father and just kinda out of sync with life.  He earns his living working at a pet store, while attending a 2 year online program to earn a certificate in animal care. 


His son Julian, played by his real life son (Aurelius Dunbar) is big on church and doing good. So when he sees a woman run into his yard in the middle of the night and hide under his plastic swimming pool, he brings her food, a blanket, and come morning, after his father leaves for work, he lets her into the house to take a shower.  Needless to say, this woman (Nikki Estridge) with a mysterious past becomes Poitier's love interest.  The film is also about Poitier's need to confront his biological parents and basically find himself.

Dunbar with PR Agent and Production Mgr

This is a filmmaker spotlight, meaning, I don't review the film, but you can go visit the Greencastle official site to see its success at some smaller film festivals, and I read some good comments on Indiewire.com.  The film features a multi-cultural cast, however, Dunbar said he had trouble getting black actors interested in being in his film. That was then, now it's a completely different story, with actors telling him they are impressed and that (shot on Sony ES1) "it looks like a real movie"!


On to the dinner portion of dinner and a movie, the gloves are off for this next part - 

The Cafe Mills staff was completely overwhelmed and discombobulated.  There was no direction on where to order - at first we got in line at the counter; then we were told to go upstairs where the screening and seating was located, because they'd be serving dinner from the chaffing dishes set up.  Then we were told to go back downstairs, get back in line with the patrons who were only getting take-out, and order off the menu; finally we were directed to get out of line and order with another person off a limited menu set up for movie patrons.

The movie was more than half over by the time we were served. I ordered Curry Chicken which tasted like something from a mall food court right before closing. Was charged $14, no bread.

I became friendly with a woman at my table during all the confusion. She ordered the Salmon Platter, when it finally arrived, it was stone cold.  She sent it back to be heated and never saw hide nor hair of her dinner the rest of the night - So sorry to end this spotlight on a low note, but Tinsel & Tine rates this dining experienced - Tarnished!

Dining "Tine" Rating System:
* Excellent - 4 Tines / * Great - 3 Tines / * Good - 2 Tines / * Fair - 1 Tine / * Poor - Tarnished



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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.
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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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