Filmmaker Menelek Lumumba Interview: 1 ANGRY BLACK MAN

Sunday, August 12, 2018

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By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

In preparation for the 7th Annual BlackStar Film Festival (August 2-5, 2018), I sent interview questions to many of the filmmakers screening short films; because it seemed to me since their work is shown in blocks, it would be nice to highlight each individual director and/or writer.
Click HERE for Short Interviews with Shorts Filmmakers.

But that doesn't mean I can't give some love and attention to a filmmaker debuting his first feature length film - Menelek Lumumba's film "1 Angry Black Man" had its World Premiere in Philadelphia during #BlackStar18. Here's the Synopsis:
Mike Anderson is a senior undergrad and eight weeks away from graduation at Frost College, a quintessential New-England liberal arts school. And on this particular day he has his African-American Literature class with his favorite professor. But today, Mike is feeling sad. He’s feeling isolated. He’s feeling Angry. Taking place in real time, “1 Angry Black Man,” provides a voyeuristic view of the difficult conversations young people engage in as they try to navigate the society and current climate in which they live. Drawing from the intellect of master writers such as James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, they search for modern solutions to bridge the divide, uncover new questions, and push political boundaries, forcing each other to reckon with the truths they keep hidden in the dark. TRAILER


1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Menelek Lumumba: I have played with the idea of doing a film taking place ONLY in a classroom for many years. I wrote a treatment about a high school class of seniors on their last day of school. 1 Angry Black Man evolved into this experiment about the current state of campus climate. How do young people communicate? That was the main inspiration.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Menelek Lumumba: For me, directing starts on the page. I working on screen writing every day. I have had this daily routine of writing for almost 15 years now. The main strategy for directing this film was to shoot what's on the page. Period. If that script works the film will work. I'm very confident about that. And letting the actors do their jobs. I never want to "direct" a performance. If a performance requires TONS of hand-holding and micromanaging, you just cast the wrong person.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at BlackStar.

Menelek Lumumba: Hans Charles (DP, Producer of 1ABM) is why this film happened. He placed all of his good will and his reputation on me. One day he called me and said "We are are shooting our feature this year." And he was right. He and I really are a team. We see cinema the same way.
Hans Charles and Menelek Lumumba met in film school. They have talked to each other about film for ten years. During BlackStar Film Fest Menelek and Han's Podcast "Back of the Theater" did a live taping of the show, interviewing filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu, director of In the Morning, a feature film noted as a ‘love letter to Black women. Click HERE to listen

4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Menelek Lumumba: My biggest "First Time Director" moment happened during our one day of rehearsal. I stayed on the set to work with Hans on the lighting plan, so I was late to dinner. When I went back to eat with the cast and crew I whispered to our First A.D., "Am I allowed to eat this food?". From across the room, Hans starts to laugh. I was so afraid to do the wrong thing, that I was even afraid to eat the food.

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 7th Annual BlackStar Film Festival?

Menelek Lumumba: This is the culmination of my wildest dreams. Five years ago, it would be crazy to even dream about screening a short at BlackStar. This is the heartbeat of Black Independent Cinema. To screen 1 Angry Black Man here is the perfect festival, the perfect audience, the perfect city. We had a packed house and the audience reaction to the film was amazing. It means the world to me.

Here's a video of Menelek & Hans from their Indigogo Campaign way back before shooting.  It seems there's nothing like making a film to show you where you started and how far you came, and nothing like that sense of accomplishment when it's shared with an audience:

The crowdfunding campaign brought in 55 backs totaling $10,821.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see Menelek's film at the fest, so no Tinsel & Tine #MiniMovieReview for this one, yet, hopefully the film will garner distribution and I'll catch it at the Ritz!

Menelek Lumumba is a writer and director who was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from Colorado College with degrees in English and Film Studies. Menelek then went on to study Cinema at Howard University in their Master of Arts program. His screenplay In My Skin was named a finalist for the 2010 Colorado International Film Festival and the 3rd Annual Rap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Subject Film Competition. Menelek currently resides in New Mexico with his wife and son.

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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.

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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