Previously at the ICA - Films
4 Nov 2015
"A bracing, brutal blurring of film and photojournalism..." Indiewire
“Both gorgeous and achingly sad.” The Guardian
“So beautifully constructed that nothing in it ever seems obvious.” New York Times
Director Khalik Allah joins us for a Q&A following the screening.
Pulse Films and Frames of Representation (FoR) present the UK premiere of the acclaimed Khalik Allah documentary Field Niggas (2014). This hour-long documentary is a startling portrait of a Harlem street corner. Allah describes his intimate and singular vision as quite simply "taking the hood off of the hood and showing you the head." The film's title recalls Malcolm X’s Message to the Grassroots, in which he delineated his concept of two types of slaves.
Field Niggas is the first film screening of the new FoR curated series looking at cinema's role in bringing excluded communities into the centre of conversation.
Shot entirely at night on the corner of 125th and Lexington Avenue in Harlem, the film captures the mental, physical and spiritual struggles of the neighborhood's most exhausted and oppressed inhabitants. Photographed by Allah himself, Field Niggas spotlights its subjects in stunningly composed, dignified portraits that are hypnotically woven with street images. The non-synch audio track consists of conversations with and among those faces: dreams, regrets, arguments, affection, observations, opinions.
Shot in July of 2014, with the heinous death of Eric Garner by an NYPD officer occurring mid-production, Field Niggas is a breakthrough non-fiction film that serves as an ardent call to rise above social constructs.
"I don’t see other photographers where I shoot, only surveillance cameras. When asked if fear was the main theme of my work I said it’s not fear, but the removal of fear leading to the awareness of Love that interests me. We don’t react to anything directly in the world, only to our interpretation of things. And our interpretations are mostly wrong. Photography is a therapeutic tool I use to confront my own perception, and challenge my ego. It strengthens my spirit when I see passed appearances and approach people who I would’ve otherwise avoided."
Khalik Allah, born in 1985, is a self-taught filmmaker and photographer. His work has been described as visceral, hauntingly beautiful, penetrative and profoundly personal. In August 2010, Allah asked his father to loan him a camera to take some casual photographs of his emcee friend, GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. But when Allah was given a fully manual, analogue film camera, his casual interest quickly became serious.
Up until that point he was focused mainly on filmmaking. Photography became an extension of that filmmaking, allowing Allah to create more quickly by telling stories in a single frame. Photography and filmmaking are two overlapping circles that form a Venn diagram in Khalik Allah’s mind; the area where they overlap is the space he inhabits as an artist.
Field Niggas, dir. Khalik Allah, USA 2015, 61 mins.
Frames of Representation (FoR) is a new curated screening series. FoR provides a platform through which new forms of documentary cinema can be experienced and discussed.
The inaugural programming strand will focus on ‘the new periphery’ and cinema's role in bringing excluded communities into the centre of conversation.
Pulse Films is an award-winning, independent, modern-day studio encompassing the development, production, financing and distribution of cross-platform content for audiences worldwide. Pulse’s “artist first” mantra has allowed the company to build a thriving talent management component to the business that completes its holistic approach to content creation. Headquartered in London with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Berlin, Pulse Films was founded by Thomas Benski and Marisa Clifford in 2005.
Dedicated to creating moments of culture through innovative storytelling, Pulse Films operates under the following divisions: Film, Television, Branded Entertainment, Music and Commercials.
Pulse Films’ current and past projects include: feature films such as Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, 20,000 Days on Earth with Nick Cave, Shut Up and Play the Hits with LCD Soundsystem, Edward Lovelace and James Hall’s The Possibilities are Endless, Robert Eggers’ The Witch and Kahlil Joseph’s The Reflektor Tapes; TV projects such as Payday (Channel 4) and When Björk met Attenborough (Channel 4).