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Our Image in Film Weekend at Rice University to Feature Houston DJ Documentary

Our Image in Film Weekend at Rice University to Feature Houston DJ Documentary
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By Marc Newsome

For half a decade, Houston based arts organization, Our Image Film & Arts (OIFA), has been dedicated to curating and exhibiting compelling films and artworks by and about black cultures of the world through film screenings, organizational collaborations, and community embracing events. Each year OIFA produces its Our Image Film & Arts Festival. The events are open to folks of all cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds who enjoy great content and creativity.

This year April 17th-18th OIFA will be showcasing Our Image in Film a weekend of great cinema at Rice University’s Media Center in celebration of independent movies including shorts, international cinema, and an insightful documentary on the history and influence of Houston DJ culture, This Thing We Do.

Produced by Jason Woods (aka DJ Flash Gordon Parks) and funded in part by a grant from Houston Arts Alliance This Thing We Do is a visual tour of a major component of Houston cultural influence, the DJ. In it, Parks gets insight from a DJ who’s who list of Bayou City pioneers including Daryl Scott of Blast Records, Gracie Chavez, DJ Sun of Soular Grooves, and Chuck Roast of Vinyl Edge Records and the legendary punk rock show Funhouse, to name a few.

Flash Gordon Parks who describes himself as an “ethnomusicologist, collector, and documentarian from the city of Houston” feels the “deejay is a conduit of information supplying his or her audience with history, awareness and entertainment” and that “Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Soul, Funk, Rock and Hip-Hop are the cornerstones of Houston’s diverse cultural makeup.” The film, shot and edited by Damian Randle of Ill Mannered Media, “masterfully connects the dots between different genres, different eras and different sections of the city of Houston.“

This Thing We Do will make its Houston debut April 18th, 7pm at Rice Media Center. (Rice University campus, inside of entrance 8, on University Blvd. at Stockton Dr.) The film will be followed by a Q&A talk with Parks and a panel discussion consisting of some of the DJs present in the film.

On the international cinema side, OIFA will be screening White Shadow, a film shot in Tanzania, executive produced by Ryan Gosling and featuring a cast of talented and powerful non-actors, which follows the story of the hunting and killing of albino Africans due to the belief of their flesh possessing mystical properties. The film was screened recently at Sundance Film Festival. The film wil screen at 5pm on April 18th.

On April 17th OIFA will showcase Friday Night Short Night! including short films by local and national black filmmakers. The 1st film starts at 7pm.

For a complete list of films, trailers and schedules go to www.ourimagefest.com.

More about OUR IMAGE:

Our Image Film & Arts is a collaborative effort and labor of love by founders Marc “Furi” Newsome and Monie Henderson. Newsome, an award winning filmmaker and Henderson who relocated to Houston after a career in the New York arts community came together 5 years ago to create an organization which showcases positive, non-stereotypical imagery by and about black cultures of the world.

“I always would go to film festivals in other cities and see these fantastic movies that never got seen again outside of the festival circuit. Before that I would wonder where are the black science fiction films, the thrillers, the non goofy love stories?” asks Newsome. “When I’d travel to other countries, I’d see the effects of mainstream rap video imagery, and stereotypes as diplomats of African American culture. They (the residents) would think we really act like that.”

“Meanwhile your average Hollywood movie showcases the same ethnicity/gender as this messiah like character via superhero movies, spy films, space movies, post apocalyptic genres – Captain Kirk, James Bond, Mad Max, Captain America, Neo from the Matrix, Luke Sky Walker, Moses, Jack Bauer – it’s repeatedly the same character, the heroic white male. Don’t get me wrong they’re all entertaining. But where’s OUR IMAGE?”

As a result, OIFA set out to curate a healthy alternative and supplement the imagery that’s out there with images depicting black cultures of the global diaspora with great films and artworks showing black people as the problem solvers, the protagonists, the heroes using film and art as a community vehicle. Most of the films screened are completely independent of the Hollywood structure and still fantastically compelling and entertaining. OIFA has brought to Houston some of great documentaries, dramas, African science fiction films, and avant garde movies which have made their debuts at film festivals of the caliber of SXSW and Sundance.

Our Image Film & Arts welcomes all ethnicities to come out and experience their thought provoking and entertaining events. In the past, the organization has had a great history of screening music documentaries including, Sly Stone: Coming Back For More, Finding Fela (a Fela Kuti biopic), Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome, and have had appearances by Ali Shaheed Muhammad of Tribe Called Quest, Saul Williams, and Taleb Kweli at the events.

OIFA has had an illustrious collaboration track record with some of the majors in the arts community including Project Row Houses, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston Cinema Arts Society, and Houston Museum of African American Culture. To follow the organization and what its up to regarding events and social media visit its website, www.ourimagefest.com