Friday, September 4, 2009

Van Peebles Baadasssss Song

Legendary filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles is on his way to Seattle for a rare appearance at the Northwest Film Forum. In addition to introducing his latest film "Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-Itchyfooted Mutha," Van Peebles will be teaching a director's masterclass on Monday, September 7 and hosting a Q & A on September 9.

After making a series of short autobiographical films in the late 1950's and early 60's, Van Peebles became suddenly and widely known for his uncompromising 1971 film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. The film - directed, scripted, edited, scored and marketed by Van Peebles - was also privately funded with a combination of his own money (including a worker's compensation payout after Van Peebles contracted gonorrhea during shooting) and a $50,000 loan from Bill Cosby. The film went on to gross more than $10 million and became a seminal document during the 1970's Black Power movement. The film - which tells the story of a ghetto hero on the run from the white authorities, and is dedicated to "Brothers and sisters who have had enough of the Man" - is cited by many film scholars as the single most influential movie in the history of Independent Black Cinema.

Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-Itchyfooted Mutha is based on Van Peebles' 1982 Broadway musical "Waltz of the Stork," and stars who else but Van Peebles as the main character from childhood to age 47. It plays the Northwest Film Forum from September 8 to 14. The trailer, below, is irresistible.

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