Film

Okayplayer's 14 Most Exciting Movies At Sundance: From 'Afronauts' To 'Concerning Violence'

Okayplayer's 14 Most Exciting Movies At Sundance includes Difret, Concerning Violence, We Come As Friends, Fishing Without Nets, Finding Fela and more.


Last week Okayplayer and Okayafrica took to the freezing streets of Park City, Utah, to join the Finding Fela entourage at the Sundance world premiere of the Alex Gibney-directed (and Okayafrica/Okayplayer produced) monster portrait of our afrobeat father. Earlier today OKP passed the popcorn on the most exciting films to come out of this year's series, including Ghanaian filmmaker Frances Bodomo's Zambia Space Academy mystery-popping short Afronauts, neocolonialist indictment We Come As Friends, the Frantz Fanon-guided Concerning Violence, Ethiopian drama Difret, Cutter Hodierne's story of Somali pirates told from the perspective of the pirates Fishing Without Nets, and of course Finding Fela. Take a look at what our very own gingerlynn & vanessawithoutborders had to say:

Our days were ram packed with Fela events and press junkets, but in between we managed to catch a grip of screenings, party at the “Black House,” (the hang-out/hub for African American filmmakers) and talk to some of the most promising new filmmakers out there. What follows is a list of what we judged to be the most exciting films that screened at this year’s festival, relevant to both Okayplayer and Okayafrica. Some we saw with our own eyeballs, some are included of the strength of word of mouth buzz or co-signatures from homies and colleagues–and a few we are in the process of begging for screeners for after hearing rave reviews. Whatever the source, the proof is in the popcorn.

>>>Okayplayer's full report on the 14 Most Exciting Movies To Come Out Of Sundance

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Pictures courtesy of Maeva Heim

Maeva Heim is the Founder the Beauty Industry Has Been Waiting on

The 31-year-old founder of Bread Beauty Supply is changing the conversation around haircare for textured hair.

It's nearing 9 p.m. in Australia, and Maeva Heim is dimly lit from behind and smiling warmly at her computer screen, ready to talk shop. We're here to discuss hair care, namely her brand Bread Beauty Supply, and how black beauty has made the globe smaller.

The 31-year-old is the founder of Bread Beauty Supply, a haircare line that encourages all textures and curl patterns to come as they are. "We don't want to tell you what to do with your hair. Enough people do that already," Heim says of Bread's brand philosophy. "We are just here to provide really good products for whatever you want to do with your hair at any point and not dictate to you how things should be. We're just women making the good products. You're making the good hair, and that's it. We're not here to define the rules."

But it's impossible to talk about recent strides in beauty products for textured hair without talking about the summer of 2020. In the weeks following the murder of George Floyd in the United States, a crescendo of cries rallied through global streets asking for not just equality but equity. The world watched with scrutiny as black boxes filled social feeds and brands made pledges to diversity. Those calls pinged from executive boards to the shelves of some of the world's largest beauty retailers. Meanwhile, after years of formulation, fundraising, and perfecting formulas and ingredients during a global pandemic, Maeva Heim introduced Bread beauty to the world in a perfect storm of timing and execution. The July 2020 launch filled a wide gap for Black beauty between homemade beauty products and behemoth beauty brands as Heim focused on an often under-explored direct-to-consumer middle.

Lauded on social media for their innovative packaging and nostalgic scents (the brand's award-winning hair oil smells like Froot Loops), Bread is a brand that makes hair care basics for not-so-basic hair. Typically, women with textured hair have not been included in the conversations around the idea of "'lazy girl hair" with minimal and effortless maintenance and styling - something Heim wanted to change. Part of Bread's mission is deleting category terms from the brand language – e.g. 'anti-frizz — that the brand feels unnecessarily demonizes characteristics that are natural to textured hair.

Photo courtesy of Bread Beauty

Born and raised in Peth, Western Australia, to an Ivorian mother and a French father, Heim grew up as one of the few Black kids in her neighborhood. Her days weaved between school and helping her mother run her braiding salon, one of the only of its kind in 1990's Australia. From sweeping floors, answering phones, and assisting with product orders, Heim's introduction to the world of beauty was rooted in the practice of doing.

Heim would go on to study business and law at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, before working in marketing at L'Oréal, followed by an internship at Procter & Gamble in Singapore. But it wasn't until her relaxer exploded in her luggage during a flight between New York and Chicago that she began to think seriously about not only her personal hair journey but also about the beauty industry's gaps.

After ditching chemical hair-relaxer and returning to her natural texture, she pitched her idea to Sephora and, in 2019, was selected as one of the first-ever Australian participants in the Sephora Accelerate program, securing a launch deal for both in-store and online.

But what's most striking about Heim, aside from her penchant for focusing on the brand and the consumer, is her focus on the innovation gaps for Black beauty products. Uniquely shy on social media but poignantly focused on every nuance of her brand and serving Bread's prior overlooked customer base, Maeva is the founder the beauty world has been waiting for.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity

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