Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PARIAH Director Dee Rees & Adepero Oduye

Produced by Charlotte Robinson


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Director Dee Rees and Star, Adepero Oduye about their new must-see film PARIAH. We chatted with Rees and Oduye at a special screening of the film presented by Focus Features and the Boston LGBT Film Festival at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Massachusetts. Pariah is the feature-length expansion of writer/director Dee Rees' award-winning 2007 short film Pariah. Spike Lee is among the feature's executive producers.

Adepero Oduye, who had earlier starred in the short film, portrays Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents Audrey and Arthur (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister Sharonda (Sahra Mellesse) in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry and is a gifted student at her local high school. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), Alike is especially eager to find a girlfriend. At home, her parents' marriage is strained and there is further tension in the household whenever Alike's development becomes a topic of discussion. Pressed by her mother into making the acquaintance of a colleague's daughter, Bina (Aasha Davis), Alike finds Bina to be unexpectedly refreshing to socialize with. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity - sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.

When asked about dealing with homophobia among the Afro-American community, Dees stated, “I wasn’t trying to make any general statements about homophobia in the Afro-American community because it’s such a varied experience. I think there’s still homophobia across all communities. But in this particular story I actually want to show how people reacted to it differently. Alike’s mother and father have different reactions versus Bina, the love interest and even the fast girls at school. I wanted to show how there’s not a single response to it within the community and that’s what complicates Alike’s journey as she tries to find herself. And I just wanted to show, if people take away one thing, I want them to know that it’s OK not to check a box; it’s OK to be yourself because Alike’s struggle is as much within the gay community as it is in the straight community. She’s being told to dress a certain way, act a certain way or a certain persona and she realizes that that is not so.”

PARIAH opens in select cities on December 28th.
For More Info: pariahthemovie.com

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