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Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, in Partnership with Focus Features, Hosts a Special Community Screening of the "Made in NY" Film 'Pariah'

Meaghan "Lyric" Perez, a "Made in NY" PA who worked on Pariah, is applauded at the community screening of the film at BAM. Photo courtesy of MOME.
December 21, 2011 - The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Focus Features hosted a special advance screening of the new “Made in NY” film Pariah on Wednesday, December 21 at BAM. The Focus Features movie, which shot on location in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, follows a 17-year-old African-American woman who is quietly embracing her identity as a lesbian as she struggles to confide in her family. The screening was the latest in a series organized by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to thank New Yorkers for hosting film and TV production in their neighborhoods.

Constituents from the offices of City Council Speaker C. Christine Quinn, City Council Member Letitia James and Council Member Stephen Levin as well as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s office and Brooklyn LGBT groups were invited to attend this free screening.

Before the screening, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver, producer Nekisa Cooper and actress Adepero Oduye welcomed the audience.

Actress Adepero Oduye (l.) shares memories from filming, like traveling two subway stops from her home to the set. Producer Nekisa Cooper (r.) joined her in thanking the community for hosting the production. Photo courtesy of MOME.
“It’s a holiday gift to see Brooklyn, New York and its artists showcased in Pariah,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Pariah is not only set in New York, but also filmed on location in Brooklyn. Congratulations to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Focus Features and BAM Rose Cinemas for organizing this screening and highlighting an issue that resonates with so many of our LGBT youth: the struggle for equality and justice – even in their own homes. Thanks to everyone who worked to make this screening possible and everyone involved in the ‘Made in NY’ initiative that brings new film and TV productions, and with it, new jobs to our City.”

“We’re proud that a film like Pariah showcases the diversity of perspectives that exist in New York City,” said Commissioner Katherine Oliver. “Our City is a thriving center of production, and more than 100,000 New Yorkers earn their living working behind the scenes in film and television. This screening is our way to thank residents for hosting crews on their streets and show our support for ‘Made in NY’ productions.”

“I applaud the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Focus Features and BAM Rose Cinemas for hosting this special Brooklyn screening of Pariah, filmed in Fort Greene with a real Brooklyn pedigree, from writer and director Dee Rees and executive producer Spike Lee to star Adepero Oduye and producer Nekisa Cooper,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Brooklyn is proud home to one of the City’s biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations – including the largest lesbian community in the nation – and Pariah showcases an often under-represented subject in movies: the coming-of-age of a young, African-American LGBT teenager. I can’t think of a more ideal location than Fort Greene and Brooklyn – aka ‘Hollywood East’ – for this special premiere.”

“Films like Pariah are important because they shine a light on the challenges that LGBT teens face,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “We have seen the ugly face of hate in my district, and I was proud to go out in the community and spread a message of acceptance. I hope that films like this show why it is so important to be tolerant and accepting.”

Pariah deals with the experience familiar to so many LGBT youth of color who find themselves navigating familial expectations, cultural and gender roles and stereotypes within both the straight and gay communities,” said Council Member Letitia James. “This story will resonate with so many young people, and I am proud that the backdrop of Alike’s story is the historic and diverse community of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Pariah carries on a tradition of black filmmaking and artistry in this community.”

Pariah opens in limited release on December 28.
Written and directed by Dee Rees, who was recently honored as Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, Pariah world premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival to a rousing response. Adepero Oduye stars as Alike, a Brooklyn teen who’s trying to find her own voice and figure out her identity while struggling with competing expectations from her family and friends. Rees was inspired to write the film in notebooks during breaks while she was interning on the set of the Spike Lee film Inside Man in 2005. The film shot extensively in Fort Greene. Pariah also stars Pernell Walker, Aasha Davis, Charles Parnell, Sahra Mellesse and Kim Wayans; Spike Lee is among the film’s executive producers.

Pariah will be released by Focus Features in select theatres in NY, LA, and SF on December 28, and in additional cities in January.
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