NEW VOICES in OUR TIME Marty Majeske, Esq. and Tiasia


NEW VOICES in OUR TIME Marty Majeske, Esq. and Tiasia
OUR TIME PRESS March 12 – 18, 2015 |
Marty Majeske, Esq. and Tiasia O’Brien
arty Majeske and Tiasia
O’Brien are the soul of ActNow
Foundation and its premier Film
Festival, New Voices in Black Cinema (in partnership with BAMCinematek), returning for its
5th year, March 26-29 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It’s four days of films, panels
and networking, but it also is a study in young
genius at work “willing” a new global culture
movement from the heart of Brooklyn. For
schedule and ticket information, visit: http://
Moving to New York City from Chicago
several years ago, Marty began working as
counsel for ASCAP while pursing film production. After meeting diverse artists in Fort
Greene, Brooklyn, he assisted Aaron Ingram
with starting the ActNow Foundation in 2004
and has worked to pursue its mission for more
than ten years.
Tiasia has used her creative background to operate for seven years the MMBC marketing firm,
dedicated to supporting artists & small business
owners. Working with ActNow as their Development Director since 2013, she is honored to be a
part of an organization with community roots in her
home borough. With her superior skills in advocacy, creative strategies & marketing she continues to
pursue film projects, is currently working to develop
disruptive innovation for the accessible adaptation
of social media, and will bring messages, news and
new innovations of 21st century technology to the
pages of Our Time Press beginning in April.
Our Time Press is a sponsor of the ActNow
Foundation’s 2015 New Voices in Black Cinema, and we’re proud to bring you the voices of
Marty and Tiasia in this Q&A.
OTP: Why should filmmakers pay as
much attention to the business side of filmmaking as they do to the creative side, and
where do they find the funds to produce
their films?
Marty: I could not say that filmmakers
should spend as much time, as an artist’s primary responsibility should be to their craft, but
they should spend some time, and if necessary
for want of business help, significant time
studying the business side of filmmaking. For
all sorts of practical reasons-- protection of your
intellectual property, to understand the value
of your product, to know how to market your
work. If you wish to pursue filmmaking as a
career, it’s going to require commercial success,
and in film that means from the very beginning
ascending above a lot of competition.The time
to start understanding the factors that produce
business success in film is very early. Finding
funds is a complicated question. There are any
number of possible avenues – personal and
family money, private investors, government
entities, the public. But the key is the quality
of your investment, the script. So to begin, one
must look to relationships, contacts, resources, and if you don’t have any you have to start
working on some. The next would be to consider a professional who can help you make
those connections and construct those asks
to the public-- agents, attorneys for example. What makes things difficult in the beginning
is that without a track record, agents, investors,
banks, venture capitalists will have a hard time
considering you for an investment of their time
and money. Even with a great script. There’s
never any guarantee that a film idea will pan
out. So it’s a big-time challenge. But there are
many books, seminars, professionals, resources, Film Festival seminars (i.e., New Voices) out
there to at least describe the avenues and steps
to take depending upon your source.
Tiasia: Having worked with artists to develop
their business & marketing plans, I have learned
that there is so much effort put into their artistry
About Marty Majeske, Esq. Biography
Marty Majesje, Esq. grew up on Chicago’s North Side and attended South
Side Catholic high school. He graduated undergraduate and law school at the University of Illinois (downstate Illinois) with Accounting and Law degrees. Afterwards, Marty’s career began in law for the public sector: representing abused kids
in Chicago’s Juvenile court, then moving to Washington DC as a legislative aid for a Philadelphia
Congressman and the National Black Caucus of State legislators. After joining Washington Area
Lawyers for the Arts, he began to merge his passion for the arts & law. In 1999, after attending the
Acapulco Black Film Festival, he was moved to immerse himself in acting and film production.
ActNow Foundation and BAMCinematek Present
the fifth New Voices in Black Cinema festival,
Mar 26—29
Four New York premieres, one US premiere, one world premiere
The Wall Street Journal is title sponsor of
BAM Rose Cinemas and BAMcinématek;
Our Time Press is Community Media
Sponsor of ActNowFoundation.
Brooklyn, NY/March 2015—From Thursday, March 26 through Sunday, March 29, BAMcinématek presents New Voices in Black Cinema,
the fifth festival presented with the Fort Greenebased ActNow Foundation. Reflecting the wide
spectrum of views and themes within African and
diasporan communities in Brooklyn and beyond,
the series features four New York premieres, one
world premiere, and one US premiere. Home to
a variety of ActNow programs since 2009, BAMcinématek continues this partnership which provides a showcase for new and established voices
in black independent cinema.
Martin Majeske, managing director for
ActNow Foundation, says of New Voices in
Black Cinema: ActNow is honored to continue
highlighting and supporting a diverse group of
artists through this festival. In our fifth year, we
are even more thrilled to bring unique programming from around the world to this eclectic borough that we call home.”
Opening the festival on Thursday, March 26 is
the world premiere of Ben Bowman‘s Knucklehead, a hard-hitting Brooklyn drama starring Alfre
Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire) as
a dysfunctional mother-son pair. When mentally disabled Langston realizes he must break free
from his mother‘s toxic grip, he seeks out a celebrity health hack he believes has the key to his
independence. This screening will be followed by
a Q&A with Bowman and Akinnagbe.
The fifth year of New Voices in Black Cinema
offers an array of strong narrative features, including
the New York premiere of C.J. Fiery‘ Obasi‘s edgy
throwback zombie film Ojuju (2014—Mar 27), in
which a group of friends must dodge ravenous reanimated corpses in a cramped Nigerian slum. Jahmil
X.T. Qubeka‘s South African monochrome thriller
Of Good Report (2013—Mar 26) follows a schoolteacher (Mothusi Magano) who conducts a wild affair with his 16-year-old student. Originally banned in
its home country, this Lolita-esque noir shocks with
a strong performance by Magano, who recalls Jack
VOL. 20 NO. 11
and less on the business side. In order to continue
to pursue artistic endeavors revenue is necessary
for supplies, administrative needs and operations.
There should be a strong understanding of business & how it operates. As an artist who has been
in business, I have seen how it helped me to think
more strategically and achieve a more successful
project. It is crucial to understand the industry you
are in from both sides. This also helps to be a better advocate for yourself when entering contractual agreements. If you can manage a strong brand,
finding funds is not as hard. Developing strong
relationships is also a part of raising the necessary
dollars for a project.
OTP: You have brought New Voices to
great heights in just five years! How did you
do it? What is the personal life-motto you
applied to this endeavor to make New Voices
have such impact.
Marty: New Voices has grown exponentially,
but we have a long way to go. Our success is based
on our foundational leadership-- Aaron Ingram, all
of the staff, our supporters, Letitia James-- an early
advocate, the folks at BAMCinematek deserve a
lot of credit, too. It’s been a team effort. If we had a
motto that would attribute to the festival’s success
it would be something like “quality and consistency builds respect”.
OTP: Did you grow up liking films, and
what were some of your favorites? Also,
who are some of your hero filmmakers -with regards to their business models?
Marty: Loved films coming up. I was
blown away by “Star Wars” and it went from
there. Hero filmmakers-- Spike Lee, Stanley
Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Oliver Stone. Independence, select personal style, defiance of the
status quo.
Tiasia: I came up with my first idea for
a film at the age of 7. Two years later, I was
sketching designs for a clothing line. I have always been obsessed with creativity. As a child
a favorite was Beetlejuice; I have always loved
unique characters that were out of the “norm”.
I also grew up discussing comics with my dad,
so that has heavily influenced my interests. My
hero filmmakers would be Tim Burton for his
creativity, Darren Aronofsky for his exploration
of the dark side of humanity and the Hughes
Brothers for being daring & ground-breaking in
so many respects.
OTP: What are some of the goals of New
Voices for the next five years, or where would
you like to see New Voices in five years?
Marty: In 5 years New Voices will be a
major national Film Festival with major donors and sponsors who have the same vision
as ActNow.
Tiasia: I would love this as well to be a
major festival with major backers. Additionally, we want to be able to support and promote
more artists of color.
OTP: How has your partnership with
BAM been of benefit?
Marty: BAMCinematek does a great job
promoting the festival in partnership with ActNow. They have relationships with major media outlets that benefit the festival considerably.
6. Do you have any personal thoughts on
people of color controlling their “voices” and
their “imagery”?
Marty: No special thoughts. We know
that we should control those things. But then
we must take responsibility for providing productive, creative, useful, thought-provoking images as well. We should be aware, conscious,
of what we’re doing, how we’re projecting
ourselves to the world and whether or not what
we’re showing is worthwhile.
Tiasia: My only thoughts would be to focus
on diversity; people of color come from such
different backgrounds & histories that I would
love to see this represented in film. If we can
better exhibit these rich, diverse stories through
film we can help eradicate many social stigmas.
About Tiasia O’Brien Biography
Obsessed with creativity since childhood, Tiasia O’Brien has actively participated in
various artistic projects. After attending acting workshops during her grade school years,
she graduated to attend Adelphi University studying Communications with a focus on
Moving Image Production & Ethnic Studies. During this time she began Mad Run Productions, a company dedicated to creative projects that would change the media’s mainstream standards
of culture. With the goal to “unplug individuals”, her first project Khameleon Designs was started in 2006
and continued as a women’s ready-to-wear apparel line for four years. Khameleon Designs was exhibited
at various fashions shows at LIU, Adelphi, Hofstra, venues in NYC and Downtown Atlanta Fashion Week.
Nance in Eraserhead or Anthony Perkins in Psycho
(Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian). Also screening are
the US premiere of Rob Brown‘s Sixteen (2013—
Mar 29), which recounts a former DR Congo child
soldier‘s struggles to reconcile his traumatic past with
his new life in London, and Nefertite Nguvu‘s atmospheric Brooklyn ensemble piece In the Morning
(2014—Mar 28). Nguvu will appear in person for a
Q&A following the screening.
This year‘s festival also includes an extraordinary selection of documentaries charting the
political climate across the globe. Among them is
acclaimed cinematographer Arthur Jafa‘s (Crooklyn and New Voices selection, In the Morning)
feature-length directorial debut Dreams Are Colder Than Death (2014—Mar 27), which screened
at last year‘s New York Film Festival and contemplates the black experience in America via
interviews with Charles Burnett, Kara Walker,
and others; Joanna Lipper‘s The Supreme Price
(2014—Mar 28), an ambitious look at Nigeria‘s
political evolution through the eyes of feminist
Hafsat Abiola and one of ten films all human
rights activists should see (The Huffington Post);
and Life’s Essentials With Ruby Dee (2014—
Mar 28), a tender documentary directed by Muta‘Ali Muhammad about his grandmother, the
cherished actor and iconic activist.
Also screening is the New York premiere of
Rachel Perkins‘ Black Panther
Woman (2014—Mar 29), a portrait of one
woman‘s experience in the Australian Black
Panther movement.
Other highlights include the New York premiere of Andrew Adkins and George Potter‘s An
American Ascent (2014—Mar 27), a documentary about the first group of all African-American
mountaineers to climb Mount Denali; Kiara Jones‘
charming family drama Christmas Wedding Baby
(2014—Mar 27); the New York premiere of Destiny Ekaragha‘s Gone Too Far (2013—Mar 28),
a side-splitting comedy about the new relationship between a British teenager and his Nigerian
brother; and a Shorts Program (Mar 29) made up
of a biting new satire by BAMcinemaFest alum
Shaka King (Newlyweeds), a documentary on
a machete master in Haiti, and more. Christmas
Wedding Baby director Kiara Jones and producer
Ralph Scott will appear in person for a Q&A.
Since its inception, ActNow Foundation
has presented stories about race, love, family,
cultural differences, self-empowerment, the
corporate world, and the toils and aspirations
of the working, middle, and upper classes,
with a declared mission statement to promote
and preserve independent films and theater
that reflect the infinite range of African diaspora images across the globe. The complete
New Voices in Black Cinema schedule and
film descriptions are below.

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