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ADIRONDACK FILM SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE APRIL 2019
Adirondack Film Society Partners with John Brown Lives! and LPCA to Present Oscar-Winning Film that’s the First to Bring the Creative Work of James Baldwin to the Big Screen
LAKE PLACID, NY —The Adirondack Film Society (AFS) is partnering with the grassroots freedom education and human rights organization, John Brown Lives! (JBL!), and the region’s indispensable cultural hub, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), to present the first film to bring the written work of the great American novelist and essayist James Baldwin to the big screen—hailed by one film reviewer as a “bold, bluesy and beautiful” love story.
On Thursday, May 2, and Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 7 p.m., as the concluding program of the 2018-2019 AFS Screening Series at LPCA (Version 5.0), the three collaborating nonprofit groups will screen the critically acclaimed narrative feature “If Beale Street Could Talk,” winner of the 2019 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress—won by Regina King, in her role as Sharon Rivers. The film is written and directed by Barry Jenkins, whose previous film, “Moonlight,” won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 2016. For this latest film, Mr. Jenkins was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by Baldwin, an African-American who was a champion of civil rights and a fierce opponent of racism.
The author’s reputation as a seminal writer and social critic has only grown in recent years, and Baldwin, born in New York City in 1924, is widely recognized as one of the most influential American writers of the second half of the twentieth century. He died in 1987 at his home in France, where lived as a conspicuous expatriate most of his adult life. The narrative of “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a prime example of Baldwin’s major themes and mastery as a storyteller, as it charts the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world. Filmmaker Jenkins exhibits his own storytelling mastery as the movie poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.
Tickets to the screenings are $10 each and are available at the door as well as by advance reservation via the LPCA box office (518-523-2512, lakeplacidarts.org). To learn more about these screenings of other AFS programs, please contact Fred Balzac, AFS Screening Series Programming Director and Board Member, at 518-588-7275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about JBL!, including its annual John Brown Day celebration, taking place this year on Saturday, May 4, at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid, please contact Administrative & Outreach Coordinator Melanie Reding at 518-405-5912 or email@example.com.
Love Brought Us Here
Set in early-1970s Harlem, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple’s unbreakable bond and the African-American family’s empowering embrace, as told through the eyes of 19-year-old Tish Rivers (screen newcomer KiKi Layne). A daughter and wife-to-be, Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt who goes by the nickname ‘Fonny” (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together; but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
Through the unique intimacy and power of cinema, “If Beale Street Could Talk” honors the author’s prescient words and imagery, charting the emotional currents navigated in an unforgiving and racially biased world as the filmmaker poetically crosses time frames to show how love and humanity endure.
“I set off in the summer of 2013 to Europe to write an adaptation of James Baldwin’s ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ in the hope that one day I would have the privilege and permission from the Baldwin Estate to make it into a feature film,” said Jenkins in a director’s statement titled “Bringing Words to Life.” “Every decision I made to bring this project into the world had its roots in a fidelity to the source material, a fidelity to Baldwin’s vision. The characters in Baldwin’s work are drawn in a very specific way, from Tish to Fonny and on throughout their loves and families—Ernestine, the Hunts and, of course, her parents, Joseph and Sharon. Being the first person entrusted to bring any of Baldwin’s novels to the screen in his native tongue, it’s been a goal of mine to draw these characters as close to Baldwin’s imagining as possible….
“‘Love brought you here.’ My favorite line from Baldwin’s magnificent novel. And the spirit with which we all brought ourselves to make ‘If Beale Street Could Talk.’”
What some of the critics had to say:
• “Bold, bluesy and beautiful” — The Hollywood Reporter
• “A masterful, poetic romance” — Indiewire
• “Lush and heightened filmmaking” — Variety
• “One of the year’s best films” — Time Magazine
• “Are you in the mood for love yet? ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ will put you there.” — The Los Angeles Times
The film is rated R (for language and some sexual content), and its running time is one hour and 59 minutes. Filmgoers interested in learning more about the film can check out its official website, bealestreet.movie. And film lovers and movie buffs should save the dates for 18th Annual Lake Placid Film Festival (née "Film Forum"): Wednesday through Sunday, October 23-27, 2019 (details will be available at lakeplacidfilmfestival.org and adirondackfilmsociety.org as things develop)!
About the Partnering Presenting Organizations
• John Brown Lives! is a freedom education and human rights project that uses the lens and lessons of the past to inform and inspire civic engagement to address the critical issues of our time.
• Nestled in an Olympic village, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) is a year-round treasure to residents and visitors of the Adirondacks and is the premier art and cultural hub of the region. Orchestrating quality programming, performances, rotating art exhibitions, and education experiences to residences and visitors alike, the LPCA provides an ensemble of offerings in music, theatre and dance, and supports local, regional and national artists in its Fine Arts Gallery.
• The Adirondack Film Society has presented the annual Lake Placid Film Festival (originally known as the “Lake Placid Film Forum”)—the region’s premier multi-day film-related event—since 2000, among other high-quality, often curated screening programs, in dedication to its mission “to advance the art and appreciation of film and filmmaking in the Adirondack region.”
To view the movie’s official trailer, please visit:
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Photo Above: AFS Board of Directors 2019 - left to right: Fred Balzac, Heather Clark, John Huttlinger, Nelson Page, Amy Quinn, Nick Gunn, Eric Granger, Gary Smith (not in photo)
Annual Appeal 2018
The Adirondack Film Society is a 501 c-3 Non-Profit Organization
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Our mission as the Adirondack Film Society is to advance the art and appreciation of film and filmmaking in the Adirondack Region, and with that comes a great responsibility. As with so many other non-profits in the arts, we face many challenges each year. Our challenges include programming meaningful film and film related events for you all to enjoy year round in many locations throughout the area. Another major challenge is seeking funding to accomplish our mission. We are certainly reliant upon our event sponsors, grantors, members and volunteers, but most of all, our donors. You are the backbone of our organization and we have been fortunate enough that you have supported us through the good times and the not so good times. We could not do this without your support.
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Thank you for your support and we hope to see you in 2019 at one or more of our events and gatherings. Have a wonderful and blessed Holiday Season!