blackbird 2

Thanks to our good friend Chance Calloway for reminding me about Blackbird, a movie we first heard about in mid-February this year. It’s back in the conversation now because it’s been selected to screen at this month’s NewFest, New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival, 3 weeks from now. Blackbird is directed by Patrik-Ian Polk and stars Isaiah Washington, Mo’Nique, Julian Walker star.
Read on for more details.

NewFest, New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival, has announced a 2014 feature film lineup led by Karim Aïnouz’s “Futuro Beach,” the opening night presentation, with the New York premiere of Bruce LaBruce’s “Gerontophila” closing out the festival.

“In the year following spectacular LGBT civil rights advances across the country, the dynamic and fresh slate of 2014 NewFest films decisively demonstrates that artists and storytellers lead the charge in creating social change,” said Kristin Pepe, Outfest’s director of programming.

Also on the slate are Ben Whishaw starrer “Lilting” (pictured above), above a man struggling to connect with the Chinese-Cambodian mother of his recently deceased boyfriend; “Blackbird,” about a band of high school seniors in a small Southern town and co-starring Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington; “Jamie Marks Is Dead,” with Judy Greer, Liv Tyler and Cameron Monaghan appearing in the story of a high school track star haunted by a sexy teen ghost; and “Lyle,” which toplines Gaby Hoffmann in a queer twist on a “Rosemary’s Baby” story.

NewFest, in Partnership with L.A.’s Outfest and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, takes place July 24-29. (Variety)


Blackbird tells the story of 17-year-old Randy Rousseau, a devout high school choir boy struggling to come of age in the small religiously conservative Mississippi town he calls home. Randy juggles his role as star of the church choir with facing the everyday trials of life as a high school misfit- a misfit plagued by eerie visions and premonitions. Complicating matters, his little sister has gone missing and his parents have subsequently split up, leaving him to care for his heartbroken mother, Claire. When Claire discovers a shocking secret her son has been hiding, she blames him for the disappearance of his sister. Randy’s father, Lance, who has been keeping a watchful eye on his broken family, steps in to give his son a hand as he struggles to make the difficult transition into manhood.

Nice interview with Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington


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  • SallyinChicago

    Uh– I’m not on board, but since it’s a movie with minorities, I wish it well.

  • Chance

    Thanks for posting this, Ryan! Most exciting things about this film for me:
    1. Mo’Nique’s return. Phenomenal performer.
    2. Gary L. Gray, the scene stealer. First he was a cutie patootie on The Cosby Show, and then he was FANTASTIC in Patrick Ian Polk’s Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom. And he’s got the CUTEST smile. Anyway…
    3. Anything LGBT related is ignored in public black society – James Cleveland, Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansbury, James Baldwin, and more have all had their sexuality erased from black history, and it hurts each generation that doesn’t have representation on all fronts. (Who did I have to look up to? RuPaul and…???) I love the fact that this film looks to be ripping the band-aid off of skin that shouldn’t be considered wounded in the first place.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    I think it looks pretty good and refreshing! For a long time now, perhaps since the 90’s, almost every LGBT coming of age movie has been crafted at McDonald’s PR department. Glad to see something that *feels* different even though some imagery and dialogue seemed familiar. I’m on board. I have to be honest, save from Mo’Nique, I’m not familiar with the other performers and that always works for this “sub-genre’s” advantage. I’m on board.

  • twinzin

    Monique looks fantastic and it has new minority talent I’m in. I hope this new guy can have a great career. I’m looking into it making a little $ something more like 20-30 million during its run.

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  • Rob Y

    This looks good. Awesome that we get an LBGT film about gays of color.

    I do not want to take anything away from this film, but a thought popped up in my head while watching the trailer. Not knowing anything about this, I watched thinking Mo’nique was going to be in a Lesbian movie. Obviously, I was wrong. But, where are the Lesbian films with major Hollywood actresses in them? At this moment, I can only think of The Kids Are All Right. There has to/should be others. Or even a Black Lesbian film? (Or as a Black Lesbian friend of mine calls it, “The Trifecta of Minorities”) And I am not looking for films with Lesbian scenes or supporting characters. Are there any in production?

  • Sketch

    Rob Y,

    No major Hollywood players in it, but Pariah was a really strong step forward as far as African American lesbian characters on screen. Certainly a long way from the neutered romance of The Color Purple.

  • Chance

    Yeah, Rob Y, I cosign with Sketch regarding Pariah. Great reviews as well.

  • Aragorn

    Himmm…from homophobic comments targeting his gay costar in Grey’s Anatomy to starring in a gay themed movie…it seems Isaiah Washington has come a long way…I am not convinced yet though!!!

  • writingme

    I don’t like the guy either, but Washington starred in LGBTI-themed movies before he made that slur on the set of Grey’s. Whether that counts in his favour or not I don’t know.

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