Film

Ava DuVernay's Array Film Collective Releases Exclusive Clip From Liberian Migrant Drama 'Out Of My Hand'

Watch an exclusive clip from the Liberian migrant drama 'Out Of My Hand' ahead of the film's release through Ava DuVernay's Array collective.

Zenobia Taylor (Joy) and Bishop Blay (Cisco) in 'Out Of My Hand'


“I always wanted to see New York with my own eyes,” says Cisco (played by Bishop Blay) in Takeshi Fukunaga’s Liberian migrant drama Out Of My Hand.

The film follows the struggling Liberian rubber plantation worker who, in the aftermath of a workers’ strike and a failed attempt at unionization, moves to Staten Island’s close-knit Liberian community and starts a new life as a New York City cab driver.

Fukunaga, a 33-year-old Japanese filmmaker based in Harlem, shot the first half of the project in Liberia with an all Liberian cast. For many of the actors, this was their first time being involved in film. The project also happens to be the second narrative feature film shot in Liberia by a foreign production.

“While my own personal background is both culturally and geographically far from

Liberia, the themes I’m trying to relay through this story are universal,” Fukunaga writes in his director’s statement. The film's writer, director, editor says he believes that his outsider’s perspective allowed him a unique opportunity to find “universal points of connection between the Liberian people and the rest of the world.”

In February, the film had its world premiere in the Panorama section at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival, and in June it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

This week, Out Of My Hand hits U.S. theaters as one of two feature-length films to be released in November by Ava DuVernay’s recently relaunched Array collective, a Los Angeles-based film distribution company dedicated to propelling independent films by people of color and women filmmakers.

Says Array’s Executive Director Tilane Jones, “AYANDA and OUT OF MY HAND are films that represent the breadth and width of diverse filmmaking. A drama dissecting love in all forms directed by a South African woman and a story of migration and masculinity directed by a Harlem-based Japanese man, both starring all-black casts, prove to be a powerful duo.”

Ahead of Friday’s release, we’re excited to premiere an exclusive clip from Out Of My Hand. Watch below.

‘Out Of My Hand’ and ‘Ayanda’ open in U.S. theaters on November 13.

Opening week theatrical releases for Out of My Hand and Ayanda:

November 13 at Downtown Independent in Los Angeles

November 13 at Imagenation RAW Space in New York

November 18 at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York

One-night tour engagements for Out Of My Hand:

November 14 at Georgia Pacific Auditorium presented by Bronzelens in Atlanta, GA

November 17 at the African American Museum presented by Reelblack in Philadelphia, PA

November 20 at Imagenation RAW Space in New York, NY

November 22 at Pure Art Literary Café in Montgomery, AL

November 24 at Ark Lodge Cinema in Seattle, WA

November 26 at Houston Museum of African American Culture in Houston, TX

December 1 at South Brunswick Islands Center in Calabash, NC

December 6 at Museum of Fine Art Boston in Boston, MA

December 8 at Anacostia Arts Center in Washington, DC

December 12 at The Artist Bloc in Greensboro, NC

One-night tour engagements for Ayanda:

November 13 at Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C.

November 14 at Georgia Pacific Auditorium presented by Bronzelens in Atlanta, GA

November 17 at the African American Museum presented by Reelblack in Philadelphia, PA

November 19 at the Houston Museum of African American Culture in Houston, TX

November 22 at Pure Artistry Literary Café in Montgomery, AL

November 24 at Ark Lodge Cinema in Seattle, WA

December 1 at South Brunswick Islands Center in Calabash, NC

December 5 at Arts Emerson presented by Reel Life Experience in Boston, MA

December 5 at The Artist Bloc in Greensboro, NC

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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