» Catalyst Series
Brown CINEMA Café

Tru Ruts and Intermedia Arts present
Brown CINEMA Café
In Partnership with IFP Minnesota
Curated by E.G. Bailey

Brown CINEMA Café is a film series presented by Tru Ruts and Intermedia Arts featuring films by and about communities of color.

Waist Up: Films About Youth
June 1, 2017 | Thursday | Free!
6:30PM | Music Mixer + Snacks
7PM | Film Screening

June's Brown CINEMA Café features a series of short films created for and about youth. The evening will feature a selection of US and international films including Nick Brooks’ Hoop Dreamin’, a documentary about jazz prodigy Kojo Roney, a Brazilian film about kids keeping their mother’s secrets, a documentary about a group of young skateboarders in South Africa, and additional films.

Featured films include: Nick Brooks' Hoop Dreamin’; Tim Drabandt’s Outlangish: Skateboarding Against Poverty; Michael Fequiere’s Kojo; Claudia Mattos’ Snack Time;  Muffy Levy’s INA; Daniel Olabode’s Olodumare; Jibril Mailafia’s The Throne.


Hoop Dreamin’
Directed by Nick Brooks

An 8-year-old Tariq Edwards has recently been let out of school for the summer and all he wants to do is play basketball!! Unfortunately, Tariq and his friends realize they’ll never get to play at the neighborhood courts so they move on to other things. Tariq, still stuck on playing ball, gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he spots a basketball hoop for sale, but he doesn’t have enough money to purchase it. Tariq has to make a tough decision, to work for his hoop or enjoy his summer with his friends. Will his wildest dreams come true? 6:17 min | US | Narrative

“The film Hoop Dreamin' was created for two very specific reasons. The first being to inspire young men of color around the world and show them that any dream can be achieved through sacrifice, hard work and purpose. The second reason this film was created was to provide an opportunity for young men in the community to exercise their creativity in a positive, productive way. The young men in this film all attend school in the South Oak Cliff feeder pattern of Dallas, TX which has been deemed the "worst" feeder pattern in all of Dallas, TX. Having these young men create this film promoted teamwork, incentivized good grades in school and most of all showed them that they are brilliant, talented individuals capable of all things. My goal was to expose these young men to something they've never experienced, broadening their minds and inspiring new passions.” 

- Nick Brooks

Outlangish - Skateboarding Against Poverty
Directed by Tim Drabandt

Outlangish is a South African social project that offers kids from disadvantaged areas in Cape Town an alternative to life on the streets through skateboarding. The sport of skating gives them the opportunity to learn a lot about themselves and their environment. It unifies young people and will keep them in positive spirits. 8:38 min | 2015 | South Africa | Documentary

Directed by Michael Fequiere

A short profile piece on child prodigy Jazz drummer Kojo Roney. 14:18 min | 2016 | US | Documentary

Snack Time
Directed by Claudia Mattos

If it wasn’t for the free lunch at the public school, the brothers Joalisson, Joedson and Jowilson would starve the entire day, because their single mother is unemployed and the family is in a big financial problem. But she doesn’t want the neighbors to know they have no food at home. Every afternoon she obliges the boys to stand at the front window pretending they’re having snack time. How long will this humbug go on? 14:48 min | 2015 | Brazil | Narrative

Directed by Muffy Levy

A daughter retells the story of her mother’s deteriorating health. 1:59 min | 2016 | Canada | Animation

Directed by Daniel Olabode

A short avant-garde psychedelic piece about a woman trying to understand her mind. 3:40 min | 2016 | UK | Animation/Experimental

The Throne
Directed by Jibril Mailafia

In Africa it is common place for leaders to want to clinch to power against laid down law, and also against the will of the People. The Throne is one of such tales. A story of a prince’s greed and desire to satisfy his thirst for power at the expense of his people. 14:44 min | 2014 | Nigeria | Animation/Experimental



Nick Brooks is an aspiring filmmaker born and raised in Washington, DC. Nick graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Education from George Mason University. While pursuing his Master’s, Nick taught Kindergarten, First Grade and Middle School in inner city of DC. Here is where he found his passion for serving his community and educating young minds. Merging his newfound passion with his love for creativity and art, Nick began writing film and created a children’s books series, The Adventures of Yani. As a filmmaker Nick strives to create powerful images that not only entertain, but inspire and educate.

Tim Drabandt is a freelancing director and cinematographer. He was born in Northern Germany in 1988. After finishing high school he worked in different design agencies and film productions, including ‘Sterntag Film’ in Hamburg and ‘AVA Studios’ in Berlin. In 2010 Tim started studying film and video at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover, Germany, and the CPUT Film School in Cape Town, South Africa. He graduated with Master of Arts in 2015. Since then he works as a freelance filmmaker for various film productions.

Michael Fequiere is a Brooklyn based filmmaker and photographer. His short films have screened in numerous festivals such as the L.E.S. Film Festival, the Big Apple Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner. His photos have appeared on editorial websites such as Popcrush, Loudwire, The Boombox as well as in XXL magazine.

Claudia Mattos is an experienced newspaper journalist who changed careers to film business. “Porto da Pequena África” is her debut as feature film director. But she has experience in scriptwriting and production for TV and cinema. She also directed the making of her first fiction feature film as writer and producer, “180º”, as well as its theatrical trailer.  For “180º” she was awarded as a producer (best fiction film/audience choice/Gramado Film Festival 2010) and as a writer (best script/jury prize/Inffinito Film Festival Miami 2012 and Screenplay of the Year by the Brazilian Foreign Press Association 2012). The film was selected by over 10 film festivals around the world.  She has a solid academic background with an university PhD degree in Communication and Culture (Thesis: “A film by…”) and several published fiction and essay books.

Muffy Levy is a graduate of Sheridan's animation program in 2016. Born and raised in Canada, a tiny artist filled with big dreams and lots of candy.

Daniel Olabode is recent graduate from the University of Hertfordshire who aspirations to direct and film make - with Olodumare being his first solo directed film.

Jibril Mailafia is a young Nigerian filmmaker. His specialty includes directing, editing and animation. He has a diploma certificate in theater arts (UNIVERSITY OF JOS) and a bachelor of Film Arts Degree (National Film Institute, Jos). He has won over 13 awards and numerous nominations from the short films and animations he has produced and directed. In 2013 his animation MISSION POSSIBLE was nominated in the Best animation category at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA 2013). In 2014 he won the best experimental film award at the Abuja international film festival (AIFF 2014). In 2015 he was listed among the 2014 Top 6 Most Achieved individuals under the age of 30 by www.speshworld.com. Also, his experimental animation “The Throne” won the most innovative program at the Mohammed Amin Africa Media Awards in Nairobi Kenya.

ABOUT TRU RUTS | truruts.com
Tru Ruts is an artistic organization based in Minneapolis with a history of high caliber artistic work ranging from films to theatre performances, a record label to workshops and residencies. Tru Ruts projects include Freestyle Theatre, Foto Libre, Speakeasy Records and others.


IFP Minnesota’s mission is to advance a vibrant and diverse community of independent film and media artists through networking, education, funding, and opportunities for showcasing their work. IFP MN envisions a world where expression through images is encouraged and valued. It is the goal of IFP MN to lead the way in supporting the independent filmmaker by creating a healthy and viable filmmaking community in Minnesota.



Brown CINEMA Café Launch Party Films:

Best When Sung From The Gutter: The World's First Motion Picture Ballad
by Toussaint Morrison, Jon Steinhorst, and Ryan S. Johnson
A preview of a cycle of spoken word films created/developed by MN spoken word and hip hop artist Toussaint Morrison.

Directed by Jennifer Reeder
A fictional portrait of a group of Muslim teen girls who take over a skate park in the middle of the night. This group of skaters strap helmets over hijabs and form an all-female force field on the half pipe. There at night, with no boys around, they are thriving and visible.
USA | 2016 | English | 15 min

A Film by D.A. Bullock
North Minneapolis - The day after peaceful protests were traumatized by terrorist violence, white supremacists shooting and injuring 5 residents.
USA | 2015 | English | 5 min

SOKO SONKO (The Market King)
Written & Directed by Ekwa Msangi
When her mother falls sick, Kibibi’s father, Ed, is tasked with taking her to the market to get her hair braided before school begins. Soko Sonko is a hilarious, fish‐out‐of‐water roller‐coaster of a journey, about a well‐intended dad who braves the fires and goes where no man has gone before...because only women have been there!
USA, KENYA І 2014 І Comedy І In Kiswahili, Sheng & English with English subtitles І 20 min


Selections from the America Now! Film Programme
August 2016’s Brown CINEMA Café featured selections from the America Now! Film Programme which premiered at the Tampere Film Festival (Finland). America Now! examines questions on the current face of America and the response of citizens, artists, and filmmakers while mobilizing a responsive dialogue through original and innovative works by today’s cutting edge independent media makers. 

by Valerie Schenkman Sanjines
Joel (26), an up and coming Latino immigration officer, moves to a small Hispanic town to pursue his career. After the first day of training, Joel realizes that his job is in direct conflict with his personal identity. Joel must decide how to serve his country while honoring his culture.

The Lovers 
by Johnny Vong
While on vacation in Los Angeles, the lives of a young Canadian couple are torn apart by an unspeakable act of violence.

An award winning film by Zak Cederholm and The Poet Azeem
With a foundation of raw emotional truth, and visual art, balanced on the thin line between fact and fiction,POSTERA is a poetic mosaic of past, present, and future, crafting a journey into the mystic mind of 'The Misfit King,' The Poet Azeem.

Women's Work

December 2016’s Brown CINEMA Café featured short films by and about women including Dark Space by Eri Mizutani'Amo' - uncle by Haya AlghanimStabilia by Mariama Slåttøy & Sveinung Gjessing, There was a Place by Irene Garces, and Primary Colors by Derek Price, produced by Emily Ramsay, featuring poet Roua Ajied.

Dark Space
Eri Mizutani


The movie revolves around a woman who has been involved in an accident and suffers from amnesia. Not remembering her own identity nor what the world was like before she was locked up in a hospital, she tries to discover the world for what it really is. Absorbed in her loneliness, the patient forms a relationship with a man. Both of them are lost and try to find a direction to live. They secretly meet up at nights without the egoistic doctors knowing. They are forced to face the consequences of their flame which is pregnancy. The movie presents the balance between forbidden love and reincarnation. The story is intertwining the past, the present and the future of their life struggle. One of the biggest role in the film is a light and shadow play, which creates an incredible impression for the viewer to follow the storyline happenings.

'Amo' - uncle
Haya Alghanim


'Amo’ is a portrait of the vibrant Arab hospitality and lifestyle rooted in the diaspora of Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn. ‘Amo’ is an archaelogical journey of ‘Oriental Pastry and Grocery’ managed and owned by ‘Amo’ Ghaiath. ‘Amo’ explores belonging in the Arab diaspora.


Mariama Slåttøy & Sveinung Gjessing


A massive circular chamber, constructed of steel and heavy concrete. Play of light is created on the wall by an opening in the roof. A woman is laying motionless with her eyes closed on the rough surface, demarcated from the outside world in the rusty room with no exits. She seems small and fragile, but then she opens her eyes.

There was a Place
Irene Garces


Carlos has lived for years remote from the site near the sea where he and his family grew by an aversion to the figure of his father. When he dies, Carlos returns to face his disappearance in a way to reconnect with a part of his past that seems lost.

Primary Colours
Derek Price


A cinepoem by Sudanese-Canadian artist Roua Aljied, aka Philosi-fire, about the realities of domestic violence and how each step a woman takes is a new colour to paint on the canvass of her life. Created in partnership with Women in International Security Canada and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and performed live for the 2016 International Women's Day ceremonies in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

"The first time I heard Roua recite Primary Colours was when we filmed it, wanting her delivery to be raw and honest, and most of that first take is still in the final product. It was overwhelming and beautify. Her slam poetry is a privilege to hear and is extremely personal and touching. She is not only a poet and artist, but an inspiring mover and shaker in the realm of activism and social justice. Her work draws you in and leaves you feeling like you've been punched in the gut with the poignant words in which she tells her stories. She is a force to be reckoned with."


Teenage Girls' Journey to Glory
February 3-4, 2017 | Friday-Saturday

Friday, February 3 - 7:30PM
Saturday, February 4 - 2PM

An uplifting documentary of a Nepali women's soccer team and its journey to the national championship. Sunakali will be preceeded by the Iraqi short film Baghdad Messi about a 10 year-old soccer fan whose television breaks just before the long-awaited clash between football legends Messi and Ronaldo. 

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota


A Part of Intermedia Arts' Catalyst Series