Candyman-event: screening and panel in Rotterdam

Nia DaCosta, who directed and co-wrote Candyman

Nia DaCosta (pictured here): “Throughout the making of the film, the thing that I always came back to was the truth that was at the center of the story of Candyman. In the real world, we create monsters of men all the time. People are murdered, they become either saints or they’re vilified. Throughout the last year and a half, it was always coming back to that truth. Horror is a very effective tool when it comes to telling stories about things that impact us on a social level. The very function of it is to make you uncomfortable and I think if that discomfort is attached to explorations of race or gender, you have to then reconcile your feelings about race and gender.”

The basics
Date and time: Sunday September 19, 16:00h-18:45h.
Moderator: Tracian Meikle.
Panelists: Lyse Ishimwe Nsengiyumva, Adison dos Reis, Cye Wong-Loi-Sing and myself.
Ticket link: https://www.cineramabios.nl/film/3318 . Our event is the 16:00h screening (and not the 16:45h screening).

Please note: This conversation will be in English. You don’t need proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-test to attend.
Organized by: Lyse Ishimwe Nsengiyumva (Recognition, Bruxelles), Aruna Vermeulen (HipHopHuis) and myself (as a programmer for Amsterdam-Bijlmer’s Bijlmer Parktheater).

About the event
26 years after the original was released, Jordan Peele signs on as a producer for the remake of one of the Blackest horror classics Hollywood gave us: Candyman. In November of that same year, 2018, it was confirmed that Nia DaCosta would direct the film. When that first trailer with the haunting remix of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” was spread all over our timelines, it was clear that this film would rightfully demand our full attention and excitement. And then… the pandemic hit.

Fast forward to now. Sunday September 19 in Rotterdam, to be exact. Lyse Ishimwe Nsengiyumva (Recognition), Aruna Vermeulen (HipHopHuis) and I (as a programmer for Bijlmer Parktheater) teamed up to co-host a Candyman-event in Rotterdam. We rented a space at Cinerama, the Rotterdam based cinema where the event will take place. After the screening there will be an hour long panel about the film. During this talk, we’ll focus on the artistic brilliance of the film, its pro-Black imagination, the social commentary-references that stood out to us and the place it holds within the genre of pro-Black horror. The conversation will be in English.

Son of Baldwin: “It’s like author Brit Bennet said, a lot of these films being made in the wake and spirit of Get Out fail to do the transformative work of making this situations something other than trauma porn. If you’re going to use a racially traumatic paradigm as the basis of horror cinema, I believe you have to do something artistic to transform it into a considered, thoughtful morality play or cautionary tale that goes beyond simply torturing the Black characters for kicks, sh*ts, giggles and the white gaze. And you have to do that artistic work because the racially traumatic paradigm is ALREADY HORROR IN REAL LIFE.”

Blacker Blackness – we’re starting

It’s happening, good people! After two intro sessions where the students will be properly introduced to each other and our Blacker Blackness team, we’ll start our first classes on Monday September 27. Blacker Blackness is a two year, temporary master program that will take place at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. I send it in as a pitch as part of a call for temporary programs in September 2020 and… here we are.

Many, many thanks to Flavia Dzodan and Tom Vandeputte who involved me in their work at Sandberg and who brought this call to my attention.

During the introduction to one of her keynotes, Ava DuVernay once said: “I think it’s important to share what happens in rooms like these beyond rooms like these.” Our team completely agrees with that so each semester of Blacker Blackness will have a public event. We’ll also send out a newsletter where, every six weeks, we’ll share some of the questions, insights, film tips and reading material that were part of the conversations we had.

For more info about the Blacker Blackness program, please check this website.

Art work by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. I don’t own the rights to this work and, aside from us discussing her awe-mazing work throughout the semesters, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye isn’t involved in the Blacker Blackness program. I borrowed this image for this post because it has a prominent spot on the moodboard of this course and I believe in amplifying art we love.