Tag Archives: film

Why “Licks” was powerful: it’s based on a true story


by Janaya Andrews

It was no ordinary Friday afternoon at McClymonds, as 25 students and community members talked to the Berkeley director who filmed the award-winning “Licks.”  He was with two of the actors, who both grew up in the Lower Bottoms.

The event was organized by Alternatives in Action and featured a panel on “manhood.”

“The movie shifted between humor and sadness and anger,” said freshman Dazhane Labat, who attended the event. “It had moments of redemption; like when the baby is brought to a family to save him from his drug-addicted mother.”

The movie hit home. It actually shows us  teenagers how  life is  in  Oakland and how  things work out; with the realistic scenes of places you know, and dialogue that rings true, you recognize how the  hood works.

The movie follows guy named “D”, as he moves back  to his hometown Oakland where he was charged with robbing a store and wielding a gun.

The most compelling scenes centered on personal relationships. At home with his girlfriend, she told him,”Promise me you wont hit up no more places. His response: baby, look i’m with you now and  she  expresses her doubts and warns him not to bring back his stolen merchandise.”

In his oustside life, friends become more prominent, asking him, “Are  you ready to go make hit this lick.” He answers, “Yea, man let’s go to their approval, “alright that’s my boy.”

Minutes later, they drove to a meat market and went in the store with a black masks on.  Then they  told  the  store clerk to  get on  the  floor;  they held his  head down  on  the  counter making  sure he couldn’t get  a  good  look  at  their faces.

“Licks” touched us all, because of the real hard times we face and the choices we make: the film shows, with  great compassion, that thugs have problems with money and only rob because they are trying to get money for their families.

For Jonathan Singer-Vine, a 24-year-old writer and director who was born  and  raised in Berkeley, California, “Licks” is  his  first feature film. It opened in Oakland’s Parkway Theater in November and won several awards.

He said the film was aimed at 16-year-olds because they will understand how and why the movie was made and its real message.

Winning students’ films explore Black Panthers and homelessness

By Anthony Beron

A 17-year-old Skyline sophomore’s video based on an R & B song by Moria Moore that uses footage of the history of Black Panthers won the Judges Award last week at  Project YouthView.

Lily Yu, a Chinese immigrant who plays jazz bass, created the R&B film Limitations, which revisits the Black Panther Party’s lasting presence in West Oakland.  She won a $500 cash prize, a Kindle and and a private screening of her film and luncheon at the Dolby studios in San Francisco.

Organized by Alternatives in Action, Project YouthView, which took place last Thursday at the Alameda Theatre in Alameda, screened films by nine finalists. “Human,” a film by Fremont High School graduates Andy To and Dara So, which tells the story of a local homeless man, won the Audience award.

For Yu, film was a new venture. “I really love music,” Yu says, “I’m in my school’s jazz band. I had just started in film, and I didn’t know much about it, so I decided to do a music video.”

Since filming Limitations, she’s contributed to three videos for KQED chronicling the Oakland dropout crisis.

The Skyline High School student came to film through the Bay Area Video Coalition, or BAVC, a group that organizes classes, events, after-school programs, and resources to help students. Yu found her inspiration in BAVC member, Moria Moore, who has since moved to Los Angeles.

“[Limitations] talks about African- Americans, and it came from Moria Moore’s album, History in the Streets,” Yu says. “I used found footage from documentaries about the Black Panthers, and I decided to focus the video on that. You’ll see [Moore] in the spots that the Black Panthers were in many years ago,” she told Oakland Magazine.

Yu said she did not show her family the video until it was completed, as it was so different from anything she’d created before. “I didn’t know if they’d understand,” she said. But they did.

Her BAVC mentors helped her shape her story. ” I had to write out locations for each shot—‘Where do I imagine this part of the song?’”

Mack’s Young Female Filmmaker Talks about Alienation

In this Q&A with editor Pamela Tapia, filmmaker Bonita Tindle talks about her experiences as the only female filmmaker at Mack (so far), her travels, her challenges and the themes that she plumbs.

Q: How many films have your made?

A: I began making films in 10th grade. I experimented with acid and math, which made me forget things and gave me stinky breath.

Q: What inspires you?

A:  I saw a fat guy bending over and saw his butt crack, which inspired me to make a video about “Dancing Robots.”

Q: What will you miss about Mack?

A: I will miss the hos and the man-whores.

Q: What was your biggest challenge?

A: Carrying around 120 pounds of equipment on BART, boom lights, tripods and cameras.

Q: Did your mom ever drop you on your head?

A: On several occasions. My favorite fall was down the stairs. Why do you think I’m an artist?

Bonita Tindle’s “Dancing Robots” finalist in Bay Area video contest

by Pamela Tapia

Bonita Tindle,  a senior at McClymonds High School and a writer, Twitter novelist, musician and filmmaker, was selected as one of ten  finalists in a Bay Area competition for her video “Dancing Robots.”

The video will be shown May 12 at 6:30 pm as part of Alternatives in Action’s 7th annual, a one-of-a-kind youth film festival at Alameda Theatre & Cineplex.

“It deals with a lonely workaholic who finds happiness at work by spending a day with his doppelganger,” says Tindlee. ” Happiness is represented by the red ribbon shown in the film. ”

Tindle worked in collaboration with two students from McClymonds, seniors Marwaun Brooks and Myquan Brooks, and Fifer Garbesi, a junior at Berkeley High. This was her second major film. She’s now working on her first independent film about a frustrated artist. Her last film focused on truants in San Francisco,

Co-Presented by Comcast and East Bay ROP and sponsored by HBO, Project YouthView showcases youth-created film shorts from across the Bay Area. Each finalist wins prizes and two are selected to win $500 awards.

Tindle’s fanciful video follows a man’s dreary, robotic routine at work. All that changes when the man meets a man who plays music in the elevator and then exits on a floor where everyone is happy, lively and dancing to the beat of music. The man then brings back music to his work environment, pinning a magical pin on a co-worker.

The ten selected youth-created films were chosen through a competitive process by industry and community judges from over 50 pieces submitted by youth throughout the Bay Area. These shorts focus on topics from youth culture and street dance and the Edible School Yard to youth prostitution.  The shorts and filmmakers represent schools and organizations from cities including San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Leandro, Union City and Danville.

Tindle also worked on “Independence In Sight,” produced at Miramonte High School.


Thursday, May 12th, 2011 at 6:30 pm. Doors open at 6.

Information and Tickets available at www.projectyouthview.org


Historic Alameda Theatre & Cineplex

2317 Central Avenue, Alameda, CA