Thursday, November 6, 2014

Black Horror Films - Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire

Art by Katherine Hyunkyung Oh
If  “The horror is not what is imagined, but in what is real” (Antonin Artaud), then a horror movie to me is one that reflects the problems of our external world and how it informs our internal worlds, the countries within us. The horror is us, our everyday politics, habits, and choices.  And the horror, specifically in this movie — shall be the effects, acknowledgment, and awareness of colonization in all its forms and how it has marred the spiritual life of black people throughout the Diaspora, and therefore man at large….
-Dennis Leroy Kangalee

Get excited. A highly ambitious and thoughtful vampire film centered around a Black woman is in production now titled, Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire (or Endless Shards of Jazz for a Brutal World) thanks to the precocious mind of diverse actor/filmmaker Dennis Leroy Kangalee.
Kangalee, a Queens native and New York City resident wrote and directed his first feature film, As An Act Of Protest (2002) was a coming-to-terms feature that demonstrated an intense passion for anything Kangalee puts name on. He wants to discuss the complications of race in his work, whether people are comfortable with that or not. His style is "urgent," "experimental," and frenetic. It's hyper- aware of the frustration of those that are Othered feel. With Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire, Kangalee conjures a supernatural cocktail of reality and what's beyond it, placing a Black woman at the center of an intersectional conflict that sounds so promising, it is as if a prayer has been answered in the form of such an overt sign:

Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire is about a 150 year-old black vampire who is driven to suicide as a result of the apathy in the world. Part poem, rock opera, and “Brechtian” play — this will not be a traditional horror/vampire genre-film but a cubistic portrait of a woman trying to come to terms with the perennial problems of racism, misogyny, and the startling lack of consciousness in the world. Throughout her spiritual journey, we glimpse various chapters of her life as an activist, punk rocker, and cleaning woman.

During the movie, there will be ‘shards’ of memories from her past previous lives; the punk band’s protest music and the lynching of her father at the tail end of chattel slavery will hover and linger throughout. This film will be a meditation on colonization and lost love among the malaise of the 21st century. Inspired by artists as diverse as filmmakers Bill Gunn and Nicolas Roeg, to authors Octavia Butler and Bertolt Brecht, the film will be highly experimental formally in that it envelopes various styles and blends poetic realism, expressionism, and Theater of the Absurd in a way that strives for a new kind of “horror.”   It has already recruited extremely disciplined and intellectually adventurous participants and we have been blessed with our ever-growing tightly knit band of artists who have sacrificed, committed, and lent their energy to this passion project.

Cast and crew are working hard right now in NYC, with the title role going to Numa Perrier. Numa's presence on screen is far from her only molding outlet. She is a producer and content creator with a long list of past and present ventures that "has her in the forefront of emerging contemporary artists."
I imagine this will be a real breakout role. Octavia is on course to set a high standard for a heroine truly unlike any other we have seen, in horror or any genre.

As more news breaks about Octavia, you will be informed!

Support this project on Twitter (@newpoetcinema)
Facebook & Kangalee's Blog

Blogger Template Created by pipdig