Tag Archives: avant-garde

Interview with Filmmaker Alain Gomis

If you don’t know his work, at least familiarize yourself with his art.

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Another Revolt, The End of Song, No More

Another Revolt, The End of Song, No More

My latest “haiku” had the honor of being published in the Poets Basement section of “Counterpunch,” a wonderful Left wing publication. 

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New Poet Cinema Preparing for First Production of 2014

New Poet Cinema - photo by Nina Fleck

New Poet Cinema – photo by Nina Fleck

After a long stretch after our 2011 collaboration Gentrified Minds, I am proud to announce that my partner, Nina Fleck, and myself have resumed work on a series of films that are at once personal and political and highly personal. Like poems.  Shards of Glass Spindled Tears Broken Dreams a trilogy of short films meditating on the nature of disappointment and endings will be shot and edited in May, 2014.  We’ve allowed our approach to “Avant-garde”  and experimental films to be highly intimate and informed by our work as poets and theater artists.

Currently we are looking to hire a MALE actor, 50, any race, with a tragic face that can emit a quiet intensity and one capable of expressing without speaking. 
Actor must also but must be comfortable interpreting and reading text aloud as you will be recording a poem as a voice-over. 

Union and non-union actors.

Email us for more information. One day shoot and voice-over recording in May. Paid. New Media SAG Agreement.

(Note: Year round,  we look for actors and actresses; performers who think OUTSIDE the box (or “models” in the Bresson sense) and possess expressive faces who can easily identify with themes of failure, death, memory, injustice, and the desire for hope.   A link to the New Poet Cinema project will be published by May 1st when the film is in production.) 

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A Thanksgiving Nightmare: a clip from “As an Act of Protest”

On Thanksgiving day, Cairo Medina (Che Ayende) visits author/Professor Walker Eastman (Ward Nixon) in an attempt to gain solace and understanding as he is descending into madness due to the police brutality and institutionalized racism around him. Eastman has prompted Cairo to take an interest in “Black alliance” and work with other African-Americans to improve their political situation in the West — but only when it is convenient for him. Although both characters give a strong argument, this memorably expressionistic scene is at once absurd and moving due to its acknowledgment that colonization & capitalism has succeeded in destroying the black community at large.

Made with an uncompromising passion, Dennis Leroy Kangalee’s powerfully strange film was an artistic response to the police murder of Amadou Diallo by the NYPD in 1999.

Made with the sweaty thrust of a political punk or hip-hop record, this “cinematic tone poem” was misunderstood by most establishment critics (‘too angry”, and not “hopeful” enough) and was the antithesis of a Hollywood Production, but found a life outside of America and within avant-garde and more politically progressive circles.

— Notes from Donald Griffith’s 2004-2005 Tanz Theater-Black International Cinema Festival program, Berlin & Paris Edition.

NOTE: This footage was re-assembled from various bootlegs and we’ve tried hard to retain the original sound, however difficult.

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It was two days after the crash when I realized I had been given a second chance.

Although I did not know what had happened & only felt the transition taking place –I knew it meant opportunity: A new beginning.  That’s how I interpreted it.  And despite not being able to reference it in a bible or mantra – I knew it was a sacrament that had been given.  If I could have danced, I would have. I’d glide along the edge of my sanity and gently leap off.

Perhaps I already had…

The Triple Threat Who Changed My Life: Artist & Dreamer Nina Fleck

The Triple Threat Who Changed My Life: Artist & Dreamer Nina Fleck

Zero Moonlauten

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Dennis Leroy Kangalee’s 2001 cult classic is now available online!

“Raw, provocative, and demanding.”
— Cara Buckley, The Miami Herald

As an Act of Protest (2001)

Commemorating the 13 Year anniversary of AS AN ACT OF PROTEST, a restored assembly of scenes has been uploaded and released on the web in an attempt to make parts of the film available to its cult fans and introduce it to a new generation as well.

Featuring a cameo by the Last Poets and original music by Michael Wimberly and Charles Gayle, this cinematic tone-poem is a “clear line in the sand” that demands the eradication of racism and police brutality and seems all the more, creepily relevant somehow in the aftermath of the murder of 7-year of Aiyana Jones and Trayvon Martin. Shot on the first Canon XL-1 on the cusp of the so-called “digital revolution”, this feature film was not only representative of a new “urban-guerilla cinema”, but a personal one as well, setting a bar for the new wave of protest art and ‘concrete basement’ film-making that took the ethos of early Rap and Punk and mixed it with a freewheeling desire to express the darker corners of our society and allow genuine rage (as opposed to the offensive, forced pandering of Hollywood media) back into the frame of American cinema. Ambitious and supremely flawed, what the movie lacks in formal technique it makes up with style, passion, and originality — just like a punk band or rap group might have done if they had made films instead of albums.

Gritty, strange, and unexpectedly poetic, this movies is an artistic response to the rampant police brutality under the Giuliani administration in the 1990′s, which culminated in the murder of Amadou Diallo in a hail of 41 bullets by four white NYPD officers, As an Act of Protest was deemed the best black film of 2002 by East Coast cultural critic Kam Williams and developed a cult following.

Not screened publicly in the USA since 2003, the master tapes were destroyed by Kangalee while living in Berlin, depressed and feeling a failure as a “protest artist” and nearly ashamed of his own past work. Renewed interest in the film came as a result of the publication of his poetry in 2010 and the more recent police brutality incidences and egregious examples of racism that only continue to prove that America is “walking in terrible darkness.” Both editor Isaiah Singer and Dennis Leroy Kangalee tried their best to salvage the most recent cut of the film and repair the shoddy sound mix.

“…Powerful…Almost more of a documentary than a feature film, As an Act of Protest aims to teach and shock and succeeds on both counts.”
— Walter Dawkins, Variety

Che Ayende as Cairo Medina, the actor who goes insane due to the racism & apathy around him

Che Ayende as Cairo Medina, the actor who goes insane due to the racism & apathy around him

Re-discovered a decade later, the movie can now be seen as a coming of age story and meditation on colonization, class, violence, and what it means to be an artist–especially in times of great social turmoil and confusion. Although the film specifies “racism” as the eternal evil of society, it becomes a broad metaphor and can be applied to any form of oppression and any circumstance where brutality of thought or deed has encorached upon another living creature’s life.

The result is an exhaustive blend of neo-realism, expressionism, melodrama, and B-Movie Horror. Acerbic, urgent, and emotionally arresting at times — it deserves repeated viewings and the opportunity to be re-discovered. Boasting excellent performances, strong writing, and radical editing, it was Dennis Leroy Kangalee’s first movie and was made as if he knew it would be his only one.

“While watching As an Act of Protest, as was true in a Cassavetes film, I felt as though the principal actors weren’t so much acting as they were pouring out before the camera, depictions of the way people really behave…it is in the scenes where Abner and Cairo discuss with each other, their rage as African American men, that the film is so compelling.”

– Hugh Pearson, author of Shadow of a Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America

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Petrification of Dennis Leroy Kangalee
…He kissed Cary again, who now lay in his hospital bed – covers up to his eyes, terrified, praying and hoping for something, muttering to himself.

And the room was cold and the wind outside started to howl and the wheel in the psychedelic junkyard kept spinning and he thought he saw Redd Foxx leap out from behind a wall of cranberry and there was no theme music, no laughter, no religious applause, , no Gold no Geld no Guilt no signs of warnings no trees and no stump, just poor Nancy in a corner intoxicating herself with crayolas and Freddy doing his Little Sid Vicious and the Plastic Man’s broken legs and Cary’s broken heart and the nurses’ twisted souls and the doctor’s bloated pockets and it was all just too…

He felt now he was going to die. Someone was going to die.
There were people dying at that very moment clutching a rock or a stone, swallowing sand, or trying to fight the Beginning of Time. Noble causes and desires.

Like sons and ladybugs.

— from “Where Ladybugs Go to Die” by Dennis Leroy Kangalee, (c) 2006

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“He Thought He Saw Redd Foxx Leap Out From Behind a Wall of Cranberry”

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