Thursday, March 1, 2018

Back to Toronto Part II: 'Brown Girls Begin' Premiere

Red carpet style.
Athena Film Festival and planned Toronto trip fell on the same weekend.
I usually volunteer at the awesome made by/for/about women at Barnard College. However, I couldn’t pass up another trip to Canada, having not visited my dear friends in almost two years. As for the Athena Film Festival, Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman was the highlight. I don't see myself in that character for endless reasons. Shiri Appleby (from Roswell onto UnReal), the NYC debut of Rungano Nyoni's I Am Not a Witch (recently won a rising star BAFTA among awarded honors from Stockholm, Adelaide, and Mumbai Film Festivals), and Tracy Heather Strain's PBS documentary on playwright/activist Lorraine Hansberry Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart were the bigger misses.
Thus, on an euphoric Saturday night, I was more than thrilled that my friend and I attended the spectacular opening of Sharon Lewis's feature film release of Brown Girl Begins, an adaptation of Nalo Hopkinson's celebrated dystopian novel, Brown Girl in the Ring. Remaining an exceptional treat, maybe this could be played at Athens Film Festival 19. I believe everyone would enjoy it as much as I do.
Isn't it grand that a woman uses another woman's work as a means of creating a piece guaranteed to inspire all women? Hopkinson had revealed Lewis's persistence in obtaining the book rights, of wanting that story to be brought onto the screen no matter how many years it would take. I loved the narrative of a futuristic world that not only included black people, but also starred a courageous black woman leading the fight against evil.
Art Gallery of Ontario provided a nice, relaxing environment, a great opportunity to mingle: saying hello to the stars, receiving a hug from Emmanuel, asking Nalo Hopkinson writing advice, congratulating Sharon on the street, experiencing the film through my dear friend's eyes. She knew the film locations and some of Toronto's hottest talent like Nigel Shawn Williams who plays Papa Legba.

Us on the red carpet.
Across the red carpet were original concept sketches for the important characters in Brown Girl Begins futurist Toronto. Whip and all, gotta love that Grace Jones was a focus behind Rachel Crawford's vicious villain, Crack.
Tony (Emmanuel Kabongo)'s rustic jacket and boots plus the multi-patterned sweater with asymmetrical white lines outlined in black and vivid orange that he often shares with Ti-Jeanne (Moara Traore).
The sketch and the inspiration-- futurist.
One of the biggest characters in the later part of the film is Ti-Jeanne's vest. It was awesome to see this in person, the details, the cut. Also, I enjoyed it on a smooth, black mannequin.
Art and style inspiration. 

Frills and thrills collide in this fetching long sleeved, silver gray gown with floral adornments and giant faux fur fringes that Measha Brueggergosman's character wears.
The Future is Her....

As fashionably worn by Mouna Traore, serving epic hairstyles and headwrap flawlessness.

With the gracious"brown girl in the ring" herself.
And leading handsome actor Emmanuel Kabongo.
If you missed out on the gorgeous AGO premiere, do not fret. All of Toronto and surrounding Canada still has the chance to see Brown Girl Begins starting tomorrow at the Cineplex Duplex on Yonge-Dondas. For a limited time, please go out to see what audiences are raving about. Plus, last year, I wrote a review on my film blog, FemFilmRogues.
Also, the DVD is on sale now. Yay!!!!!!

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