Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #58

Contents

MOVIE BIZ BRINGS TOWNSEND TO BOSTON

THE ART OF ART HANDLING

OUT OF THE BOXX ENTERPRISES

IN THE BUSINESS OF BETTERING BOSTON YOUTH

GET SMART

MAURICE STARR, NEW EDITION & TANYA HART

UP-COMING EVENTS


MOVIE BIZ BRINGS TOWNSEND TO BOSTON

by Kay Bourne

(click on Townsend’s image to visit the Black Family Channel’s website)

26f6d90541b968c0b4bb13761eb332f7.82.124 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #58“Getting there isn’t half the fun, it’s all the fun,” says indie filmmaker and entrepreneur ROBERT TOWNSEND, whose joy in his work is his personal hallmark.

Townsend is one of the special guests slated for the up-coming ROXBURY FILM FESTIVAL, this year commemorating its 10th anniversary as a festival celebrating film makers of color.

Townsend stars in the opening night film, “OF BOYS AND MEN” alongside ANGELA BASSETT, FAIZON LOVE, and Boston daughter VICTORIA ROWELL.

Directed by CARL SEATON, the feature is told through the eyes of the youngest child in a family overcoming the loss of a parent. Townsend will attend the opening night reception on July 30 at the Roxbury Center for the Arts. He will also appear at the opening night film screening on JULY 31 at the Museum of Fine Arts. Tickets for the festival go on sale JULY 14.

An icon to young filmmakers since the days of his ground-breaking comedy “Hollywood Shuffle” (1987), the slightly built Townsend is a sort of Clark Kent with a phone booth at the ready. “Hollywood Shuffle” fearlessly jabbed at the big studios for the stereotypical roles they insisted Black actors portray – and even more heartening to the other filmmakers out there without a bank roll, the movie had been funded by Townsend’s maxing out his credit cards in a bet that paid off big time. Clearly, risk taking has been worth it for Townsend.

For the past four years, Townsend has been president and CEO of TV’s Black Family Channel, on what had been MBC founded in 1999. Townsend told this writer in a recent phone interview the channel had been bought out by the Gospel Music Channel after Townsend’s programming had garnered some 16 million subscribers into the fold. Black Family Channel may go broadband at a future date. But as Townsend looks back, the satisfactions were pushing the creative limits to produce “eighteen to twenty different TV series. We’d finish a batch. Take a breath. Whew! Then shoot a movie.”

Despite the pressure, Townsend said he only experienced “little stresses. When you love what you’re doing it’s not overwhelming.”

So, it’s back to Hollywood. “I like creating in Hollywood,” says Townsend whose next projects include a documentary about African American comedians which he intends to complete in time to catch a plane to Boston.

“Why We Laugh” will go back in history to the days of the vaudeville with Bert Williams and come up to the present time. “From Chris Rock to Bill Cosby,” summarizes Townsend. Next project on the burner is writing a modern day version of The Little Rascals.

“The value of being an entrepreneur is that you get to create and build something,” muses Townsend. “It’s the most incredible feeling to have an idea and give birth to a film and have people come to see it.

“Being an entrepreneur is having the spirit that trusts that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.”

10th Roxbury Film Festival website


THE ART OF ART HANDLING

by Kay Bourne

4fd5c99dc66061d78f41f38d0c0f127f.124.93 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #58From a few dollars to many, many thousands of dollars, TONYA CAMERON determines the price of an item with the words, “once, twice, sold!”

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