May 16, 2013, will go down as a banner day in Seattle cinema, bringing opening-night galas for not one but two film festivals. At McCaw Hall, there's the 39th Seattle International Film Festival, which is curated by a board of professionals and commences with Joss Whedon's brand-new Much Ado About Nothing. And at Central Cinema, there's the first-ever Black and Beautiful Film Festival, which is curated by Franklin High School senior Mia Roberson and commences with 1971's Shaft. For full info on the Seattle International Film Festival, see The Stranger's SIFF Guide (thestranger.com/siff). For an interview with Roberson, keep reading.
How did the B&B Fest come to be?
As a senior, I have to do a senior project. My mom used to show me lots of old movies—Imitation of Life, Carmen Jones, Sparkle—and I loved them. They felt like something my generation needed to see. My teacher gave me the idea of contacting Central Cinema. I e-mailed [Central Cinema programmer Jason Miller] and told him what I wanted to show, and he gave me the whole week.
You're showing four films—Shaft, The Wiz, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, and Jackie Brown. What films didn't make the cut?
I thought about putting in Foxy Brown, but I wanted to keep [the opening-night gala] more family-friendly. Foxy Brown focuses on her sexuality in a way that I thought would be more thrilling to one audience (male) than another (women and kids). So I went with Shaft, which felt more suitable. You get the blaxploitation mixed with action that lots of people can relate to.
Are you old enough to see Jackie Brown?
I'm 17, so I think so. I think Jackie Brown's struggle and determination are things that a lot of women all over the world who are working to get somewhere in life can relate to.
The Black and Beautiful Film Festival runs May 16–23 at Central Cinema. Full info at central-cinema.com.
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