Filmmaker extraordinaire Ava DuVernay is known for directing hit movies like Selma along with riveting T.V. dramas like When They See Us. However, before mainstream critical acclaim, DuVernay was busy being an entrepreneur and launching her own movie distribution company ARRAY.
In 2010 DuVernay launched African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) to distribute movies created by or focusing on Black people. Eventually, AFFRM became ARRAY with a new focus on women filmmakers.
Now, in the midst of quarantine life due to the coronavirus pandemic, ARRAY is launching #ArrayMatinee on April 1. The weekly digital film series will feature five independent movies from the Array Releasing roster of global films. Each subsequent Wednesday after April 1 will showcase a movie and fans will be able to “watch and tweet” on social media while using the #ArrayMatinee hashtag. Deadline listed the movies being showcased and where you can watch them below:
AYANDA (South Africa) – April 1, 1PM PST (Vimeo)
After tragedy strikes, a young woman begins a journey of self-discovery as she struggles to save her father’s car repair shop along with her memory of him. Ayanda is a coming-of-age story from writer/director Sara Blecher that takes us into a vibrant Johannesburg community alive with love and humor, risk and reward, tragedy and triumph. This film held its world premiere screening at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival winning the Special Jury Prize in the World Fiction Competition.
OUT OF MY HAND (Liberia) – April 15, 1PM PST (Vimeo)
Directed by Takeshi Fukunaga, Out of My Hand takes viewers inside the humble life of Liberian rubber plantation worker Cisco. Severe working conditions, failed unionization and corporate corruption ultimately drive him away from his family and his country to the foreign streets of New York City where his past forces him to confront his sense of isolation and belonging. This film debuted in the Panorama Section of the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.
THE HOUSE ON COCO ROAD (Grenada) – April 22, 1PM PST (Netflix)
The House on Coco Road is an intimate documentary exploration of heritage and history against the backdrop of a brewing Afro-centric revolution as the U.S. government prepares to invade the island nation of Grenada. First-hand accounts from activists Angela Davis, Fania Davis and Fannie Haughton weave together director Damani Baker’s family portrait of utopian dreams, resistance and civil unrest with a film score composed by music luminary Meshell Ndegeocello. The film held its world premiere at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival.
VAYA (South Africa) – May 6, 1PM PST (Netflix)
In filmmaker Akin Omotoso’s Vaya, the title is a phrase spoken in South African townships meaning “to go.” Vaya takes viewers along on a journey of three young South Africans who travel away from their rural homes on a train bound for Johannesburg. Stirring and suspenseful, the intertwining stories of these naive strangers as they struggle to survive culminates in an explosive moment not soon forgotten. Based on real accounts, Vaya made its World Premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and garnered Mr. Omotoso the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Director.
THE BURIAL OF KOJO (Ghana) – May 13, 1PM PST (Netflix)
Through a magical realist lens, The Burial of Kojo follows the story of Esi, as she recounts her childhood and the tumultuous relationship between her father, Kojo and her uncle, Kwabena. Directed by TED fellow, music composer and musician Samuel “Blitz” Bazawule, the film chronicles the tale of two brothers through the gifted eyes of a young girl who transports the audience to the beautiful lands of Ghana and other worlds that exist between life and death.
Born from a newspaper article and a Kickstarter campaign, Bazawule skillfully captures the beauty of a family, even when the circumstances aren’t beautiful. The Burial of Kojo is an essential human story of courage and survival. The Burial of Kojo is a 2019 Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) Official Selection and 2018 Urbanworld Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Winner.