Middle of Nowhere (Day #4)

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One thought on “Middle of Nowhere (Day #4)

  1. Moritz Christ
    Middle of Nowhere

    Middle of Nowhere is a drama/love-story of a young African American woman who’s husband gets sentenced to several years in prison and she is determined to keep the relationship behind bars intact. It is extremely challenging to her as she finds herself with no support from her surroundings and struggles with her faithfulness as she is torn apart when she meets another man and gets involved with him while her husband is still in prison. Throughout the movie it is her emotional struggle that has torn her apart to where she finds herself in the middle of nowhere. The movie discusses a predominant issue for many African American women in our society. It targets a niche market and was filmed as an independent production by female black director Ava DuVerney. Ava DuVerney has recently gained recognition as an director through her documentary This is Life (2008) and her first film I will Follow (2011). With her now most recent film Middle of Nowhere she was the first African American woman to receive Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival, a festival that promotes independent film productions. Ava DuVerney was determined to produce Middle of Nowhere as an independent film in order to really have full control over where the movie is going and is shown. She said she would rather go a hard way of struggling to produce her movie and face low distribution, than having to conduct elements of other producers. DuVerney said otherwise she would have not had the freedom she has enjoyed to conduct her movie. She critics the industry for stereotyping black individuals in all movies and she wanted to present a cast and movies that targets a niche marked but would be a piece of work she would be willing to represent and stand for with her name. She turned down the money she could have gotten for her movie to follow her ideals and morals of showing a real struggle of African American women in American society. A group that is not usually targeted by many films because they do not attract a large audience and promises a large profit for producers. This goes against the movies that we have seen and discussed in class so far, where filmmakers criticized black actors for portraying a stereotype of Africans Americans in “white film”. DuVerney now, in 2012, represents a counterpace of true African American filmmaking that addresses social issues in many black communities in America without portraying stereotypical behaviorism. It was important to Ava DeVerney to make a movie about a ”human movie” and not an African American story, as many know it. Her effort to go down the hard road of no funding for the greater goal of making a film that is independent from the mainstream entertainment and allowed for an “unbiased” movie of an African American narrative. I personally think it is very bold move by DeVerney to take on the challenges to make an independent movie as she would have had the credentials to attract investors. I thought it was very noble of her to not chase a career and money but to stand up for an ideal of hers. DeVerney does not give into the money industry to publish her art and portraying a stereotype. Other than Mantan and Pierre (Bamboozled) she does not sell her ideals for money and fame and stays true to herself witch I find to be very remarkable.

    Interesting Quotes from the reading:

    “A film marketer turned filmmaker, she knows her audience and how to stoke its desire. She speaks both as an artist and as an entrepreneur who is clearing a new path for film distribution.”

    “Ms. DuVernay shot “I Will Follow” in 14 days on a $50,000 budget. “That’s how much was in my bank account,” she said. “Middle of Nowhere” had a 19-day shoot, half the studio average of 40 days, and cost under $500,000.”

    “Working with Hollywood studios, I’m just used to having seven different projects in seven different stages,” she said. In the prelude to the release of “Nowhere” Ms. DuVernay is completing “Venus Versus,” an ESPN documentary about the tennis star Venus Williams and her successful campaign to win female players equal prize money at Wimbledon.”

    “Ms. DuVernay makes features and documentaries about women at turning points. She herself is one of those women.”

    “A common trope within the history of African American cinema has been movement. Given the history of slavery, Jim Crow, migration, de facto segregation, stop-and-frisk, and racial profiling, movement has been central to the representational field.”
    … -> “Clearly Middle of Nowhere ties movement to feeling, emotion, and pleasure. The ability to be moved spiritually, lovingly, physically, and sensually is all constrained by incarceration.”

    Questions taking from the reading:

    Why do films like “Middle of Nowhere” don’t get any financial support from the start and have to prove first to be a good movie?

    Should producers have such a large role in how the movie is being conducted? In our modern day society where we base a lot of our education and free time on Film are we preconditioning society through stereotypical behaviors in Film?

    Is DeVorey a groundbreaking individual or are there other filmmakers out there thriving with the same ideals? If so could you name one of their works?

    Will “Middle of Nowhere” be a turning point in Film towards a less prejudge-mental film culture?

    Ask yourself, would you turn down money and possible fame for racial stereotyping knowing you might not be able to make a difference due to low distribution rates?

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