Afrocentricity is a collection of seven short films by the next batch of up and coming Black filmmakers and by the looks of things, we should expect some powerful cinema from this collage if you will of talent. All seven films deal with different concepts, themes and directorial perspectives.
Breakfast at Ben's tells the story of a young Black successful man looking to give something back to the community from which he was reared. It's insightful and a message that's truly universal in it's application. Literally everyone who watches this short can learn a thing or two about how we deal with one another rather how we can so easily misjudge a book by it's cover.
Kings the story here is one of a successful Black attorney who has abandoned his ethnicity and indeed his friends for the sake of corporate success. But at what cost? The questions posed are that of introspection and the order rather, the level of importance with which we assess those things and people in our lives that had an impact on who we have become and are becoming.
Hip Hop: The New World Order More a documentary than anything else, HHTNWO takes you on a global tour of the hip hop community as it is in other parts of the Globe. In particular, Japan, the UK, Paris, Amsterdam and Cuba are visited. While there is something extremely unique about young Japanese men garbed as though they just came out of South Central LA, it goes to show that Rap/Hip Hop culture is a global form of communication that crosses all lines of ethnicity and country. The hip-hop community outside of the US is actually larger than the hip-hop community of the US! Imagine that! Two guest interviews are conducted with? uestlove love of the "ROOTS" and Chuck D of the ever-current Public Enemy. Not afraid to shy away from the issues, it's all laid on the line and extremely informative. Put simply, it's not a Black thing…it's a music thing!
The Gift the gift tells the story of a young blind artist/sculptor who is presented with the opportunity to receive the gift of sight through an experimental laser eye surgery procedure. The theme of the short however, has nothing at all to do with literal vision, although it is a true story. Rather it deals with the deeper issues of looking beyond the exterior and into the heart of humanity and extracting those elements that we all need to "see" to survive. An incredible expository on the human spirit and the levels to which we all can achieve if we just open our "eyes".
True OK, how many of you "haven't" seen the Wazzzzzzup guys?! Well, this is the short that started it all. It's absolutely hilarious primarily because I know I have had the same kind of phone conversation a million times with any number of good friends! No social commentary, no agenda just down right funny!
Breakdown tells the story of a day in a New York bus terminal. Based largely on the real life experiences of the director and a former girlfriend, Breakdown is easily the best visually produced short on the disc. It carries something of a "Set It Off" feel and really paints a picture of what can happen in a bustling metroplex like NYC.
A Gut Feelingis a short produced by 40 Acres and a Mule Film works AKA a Spike Lee Joint. Spike is easily one of my favorite directors for far too many reasons to explain here. Suffice it to say, one of his production assistants put this short together. It has something of a supernatural/Jeffrey Dahmer tone to it. I've probably given away too much in just that line but it's definitely worth checking out.
The audio for each short varies in quality. The overall audio for the disc is 2.0 digitally remastered for the features while, the menus are in 5.1. All of the audio tracks are clear and solidly in the right/left channels of the theater. Each feature also boasts a 3-5 minute interview with each director regarding their impetus in creating the images contained on the disc or a screen specific commentary track is included on those without the interviews.
Much like the audio, the video varies from entry to entry. They range from wide to full screen and grainy bad camera work to solid camera shots and a fully technically produced feature short. None of the titles could be counted as "beautiful" technically. I think here at least from my standpoint the emphasis is on the subject matter first and it's presentation second. That having been said, understanding the embryonic levels at which these films were produced, explains away any and all transfer errors and visual mistakes.
The extra included is a trailer for Romeo Must Die. Not related to any of the films or director's on the disc but an entry from Warner Brothers-who produced the disc.
Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed every entry on the disc. Actually, better yet, I learned something from most of the entries and was entertained by the balance. This is a good disc with some really great indie stuff. If you are a fan of Sundance and the Sundance channel or Bravo, this is your thing. Afrocentricity-as a title may turn some people off thinking it's just a "Black" thing but trust me it's much much deeper than any one ethnicity can handle. There's information that everyone can benefit from and enjoy. Definitely recommended