Save the best for last: a recap of MusicMoviesThoughts 2013 highlights

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Well MMT Family, this is the last post of 2013.  Can you believe how fast this year went?  And what a great year it has been! I was able to share some really great interviews, including Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler,  The Sapphires director Wayne Blair, The Purge producer Jason Blum, The Best Man Holiday writer/director Malcolm D. Lee, and interviews with Lee Daniels’ The Butler cast Yaya Alafia, Cuba Gooding Jr. and director Lee Daniels himself.  I also met several of my faves and “mentors in my head” including Cathy Hughes, Smokey Robinson, and Berry Gordy.

And don’t even get me started with the cool Twitter mentions and thanks received from major films/companies, independents and several of my industry faves, including Debra Lee, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Anika Noni Rose, Omari Hardwick, Lisa Lisa, and Will Downing!  In addition, I’ve received feature promotion on Examiner.com for several of my stories, which helped to introduce MusicMoviesThoughts to a whole new audience.  It has indeed been a great year, to say the least! 😉

I am so very thankful for all of the support, comments, and thank-you emails sent to me for the giveaways, promo items and screening passes received.  It is my absolute pleasure to share my passion with you and I look forward to sharing even greater things in 2014.  And lastly, but certainly not least, thanks so much to Michael Tozzi of ijazzglobal.com and Monica Lyons of Sista Pics for their wonderful contributions and support.

Well that’s it for me family!  Until 2014, Thomasena 🙂

GIVEAWAY: “The Sapphires” soundtrack

courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment
courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment

What’s up family?  So, who took my advice and saw “The Sapphires?”  If you did, it’s about to pay off! 😉  I have several copies of the film’s soundtrack to giveaway to the lucky winners that can answer the following question (spoiler alert):  Which song did The Sapphires perform the night the camp came under enemy fire?

Think you know?  Email your response, with your full name and address, to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com. Winners will be selected and notified by Friday, April 12th.  For those who still haven’t seen the film, you can check out my posts from last month by scrolling down, or clicking the link March 2013 to the right.  You can also get additional info at http://thesapphires-movie.com/.

Good luck Music Movie lovers :).

Until next thought, Thomasena

The Sapphires opens today at the Ritz Five (Philly, PA)

The Sapphires opens Ritz Five 3/29/13

It’s that time family!  The Sapphires opens today, in Philly, at the Ritz Five theater (214 Walnut Street, between 2nd and 3rd Streets).

You can check showtimes by clicking the image above or use this link: http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/philadelphia/ritzfive.htm

This is a great movie to see this Resurrection Day/Easter weekend.  Check out my q & a with director Wayne Blair in the previous post, and remember to let me know how much you’ve enjoyed the film.

Until next thought family!

Thomasena

The Sapphires: A rare gem of a film

The Sapphires movie

What’s new Music Movie family?  I am excited to write finally about one of the films I screened earlier this month, The Sapphires.  Hands down, it is one of my favorite films.  Yes, you read that right!  No favorite “of the year” or “of the decade” to be added!  Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires tells the remarkable story of four young Aboriginal women, who set out to begin a professional singing career touring 1968 South Vietnam to entertain the troops.

Adapted from an Australian stage play by the same name, the story also highlights Australia’s history of segregation and racism towards Aboriginals.  And for those like myself who weren’t aware of the extreme, legal segregation measures taken by the Australian government regarding children, the film also serves to educate on the impact this had on the family unit and society at large.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the director of The Sapphires, Wayne Blair, during the film’s promo tour stop in Philadelphia earlier this month.  Wayne is an acclaimed actor who starred in the original stage production, written by Tony Briggs (son of one of the original group members).  Still excited from the audience’s response at the prior night’s screening, Wayne gave some insight into the mission behind the project, his favorite parts of the film, and even sang snippets from a song, or two. 🙂

I heard you singing some of the tunes from the film at last night’s screening.  What is your favorite sing-a-long car or shower song?

There’s always a go to song in my system! At the moment, I’m singing a little Bruce Springsteen (sings part of Streets of Philadelphia chorus; aside: he also broke out a little Isley Brothers “Who’s That Lady!”).  One of my favorite songs just happens to be in the film, the Jackson 5 song “Who’s Loving You.”  That was one of the first songs picked, it was my choice, and that is one of my go to songs.

The music and dancing in the film was astounding.  I was among those in the audience nodding my head along to the music, and I wanted to be at that house party with the sailors! Did you have a favorite musical number in the film? 

I had a few, but I loved (the performance) of Linda Lyndell’s “What A Man,” the “Land Of One Thousand Dances” and ” I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).”

On the Aboriginal civil rights and segregation themes in film:

One of our (he and screenwriters Tony Briggs & Keith Thompson) mission statements was to remind people, especially Australians, of Australia’s history.  And Australia’s history has not been the best thus far; so it was just a reminder to say this country is not all strawberries and cream.  We still have the nation’s first people living as 2nd class citizens and it’s 2013, so we have to get our act together.  But, (the film) has been accepted in Australia and a lot of people have seen the film.  And (this story) is very new to a lot of places in the world it has gone, not just America, and that’s one of the great things.

It’s billed as a musical comedy, but it has these heavy themes, segregation, assassinations, etc.  Are there parts of the movie you feared wouldn’t work?

You just want to get the tone right.  For example, this major thing happens to (the character) Gail, and they are away from family & friends, in Vietnam, and it just happens to be the same night Dr. King gets assassinated.  So to get that type of storyline right, and make it real and believable (was a concern).  You’re doing it a bit for the drama of the story, but the correlation for African-Americans and Aboriginal Australia is there…it actually happened like that.  We just wanted to make it real for a 2013 audience.  And it feels real good that the film has gone worldwide and resonated with the American audience.

The Sapphires movieThe Sapphires was the first film to shoot on location in Saigon in 10 yrs.   Did you experience any challenges?

Getting from point A to B in (in the heavily populated city of) Ho Chi Minh could take 2 to 3 hours, so you had to really plan your day.  The amount of people was the biggest challenge. Everything else was really great.  The Vietnamese people were very generous and supportive of us as foreign filmmakers; (even though) we stopped traffic in the middle of the day there to shoot on a bridge and that was pretty amazing.

In going back to the music, movie theme: if you could direct a film about any singer, musician or group, who would it be and why?

There’s a number (of artists).  Maybe the Rolling Stones, who would make great protagonists.  And David Bowie, who came to Australia and shot videos for two of his famous songs “China Girl” and “Let’s Dance.”  So David Bowie, at that specific time he came to Australia to shoot those.

The winner of 11 prestigious AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) awards, with one for Blair as Best Director, The Sapphires has an amazing cast that includes Best Actor AACTA winner Chris O’Dowd (This Is 40, Bridesmaids) and 2006 Australian Idol runner-up, and Best Supporting Actress AACTA winner, Jessica Mauboy.  But my favorite character in the film was the big sister, mama bear character Gail, played flawlessly by Best Actress winner Deborah Mailman.  She nailed the “I can be sensitive, but choose to be tough, so don’t test me” act to the hilt, and made the audience laugh while doing it.

In short, The Sapphires is that rare gem of a movie, tailor-made for a socially conscious music movie lover like myself.  It is infused with passionate performances, head nodding musical numbers, and themes of equality, redemption and love.  It has a PG-13 rating, and with heavy topics, including some sexual references, it is definitely one for teens and over.

The movie opens in Philadelphia, and the surrounding area, this Friday 3/29/13; however it opened 3/22/13 in many areas nationwide, so check your local listings for showtimes.  You can also check out the previous post to view the official film trailer and link to the movie’s website.  Make sure to stop back and leave a comment below after your see it.  Always love to hear your thoughts :).

Until next thought family, Thomasena.

GIVEAWAY – Win Passes to Screen “The Sapphires” Monday, March 4th (Philadelphia, PA)

The Sapphires Movie - courtesy of Weinstein Company

Hey Music Movie family, since I’ve been on pause for a couple of weeks, how about a peace-offering?  Music Movie Thoughts has obtained 20 admit two passes for the Monday, March 4th Philadelphia screening of The Sapphires, which opens locally on Friday March 29th.  Director Wayne Blair will be in attendance for a post-screening Q &A.

To enter the contest, make sure you are signed up to follow this blog AND leave a comment below with your email address.  You can double your chances of winning by following me on Twitter @ledfarr.  I will alert the winners via email by Friday March 1st.  Check out a synopsis of the film, and the official trailer, below.  For additional info go to http://thesapphires-movie.com/.

Good Luck family, Thomasena

The Sapphires Synopsis:

Four smart, gutsy young Australian Aboriginal women become unlikely stars in the most unlikely of places, with the most unlikely of allied, in THE SAPPHIRES.  Set in 1968, the film follows Gail, Cynthia, Julie and Kay as they seize the risky, but irresistible chance to launch a professional music career singing for U.S. troops in Vietnam.  Under the tutelage of an R&B loving Irish musician, Dave Lovelace, the girls transform themselves into a sizzling soul act and set out to make a name for themselves hundreds of miles from home. Inspired by a true story, THE SAPPHIRES is a triumphant celebration of youthful emotion, family and music.