There is in it a fullness of black life. It’s not some little plot-bound genre formula. , American music video, film, commercial and television director, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (. African-American Film Critics Association, Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Awards, Online Association of Female Film Critics Awards, "The Provocateur behind Beyonce, Rihanna and Issa Rae", "How Melina Matsoukas Went From Music-Video Visionary to 'Queen and Slim, "The Provocateur Behind Beyonce Rihanna and Issa Rae", "From Beyoncé to the big screen: the whirlwind rise of Melina Matsoukas", "Jodie Turner-Smith to Star Opposite Daniel Kaluuya in 'Queen & Slim' (EXCLUSIVE)", "FX Orders 'Y' Drama Pilot Based On 'Y: The Last Man' Comic Book Series", "Makeready Sets 'Queen & Slim'; Daniel Kaluuya Stars, Melina Matsoukas Directs Lena Waithe Script", "Bjork promo triumphs at UK Music Video Awards | News | Music Week", "Antville Music Video Awards 2012 – THE WINNERS", "One Direction beat Justin Bieber and Rihanna at MTV awards", "UK Music Video Awards 2013 – all of last night's winners! “Uncle Earl,” says Matsoukas, “is who Joshua in Jason… The death of the theater experience was unthinkable at the time of Waithe’s 1974 fave, Claudine (starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones). “How do we change that? The imagery, mood, and setting of “Formation” bleed slow into Queen & Slim, like the Mississippi into the Gulf. Queen’s Uncle Earl calls them “the Black Bonnie and Clyde,” but Matsoukas wants audiences to think of Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice — real people who were posterized and flattened into something both more and less valuable than a human being. Starring Larenz Tate and Nia Long, it’s about the complicated romance between a poet and photographer. “Someone’s always rebelling against the status quo.” The filmmaker means her stars, be they Beyonce or the Best Actor-nominated Kaluuya. Hers is a detached silence that means, I’ll wait for an alternate response. It was also the first feature directed by a black woman to be released widely in theaters. But to most of the people they meet, they’re scapegoats — maybe even heroes. It’s a lush, vibrant vision that plays off an aesthetic she’s honed in her shorter work; she even alludes to one of “Formation’s” most powerful images, a young boy facing down a phalanx of cops. Your dreams get to come true.”. If they felt like it, they could kiss. She earned her degree at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and completed her graduate work at the AFI Conservatory with an MFA in cinematography. “It’s wild to say, but me and Melina, our relationship is very Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson,” she says. Sign up for our newsletter. Aquamarine walls. " In an interview for Venus Zine's Fall 2010 issue, she says about being part of the music video world, "I love it. Blood coloring has been added to one character’s ear and to another’s leg. Her father is of half Greek and half Jewish descent, and her mother is of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Jamaican descent. How do we change that? “Every frame is a still life.” (See, for example, a shot of her actors sitting in a diner booth, which plays like a beautifully Afrocentric take on a Hopper painting, or a scene in which characters stand silhouetted against a burning car at dawn.). Bang! “My grandfather was a black cowboy,” Matsoukas says. Beyonce, Daniel Kaluuya, Melina Matsoukas. Add contrast. See also the purposefully awkward pageant video for Beyoncé’s 2013 “Pretty Hurts.” See Matsoukas’s 2009 work with Lily Allen — “Not Fair” — which plays with ideas of country music and corny moods and Allen’s perch as an It Girl. As they zig zag across America in borrowed, and sometimes stolen cars, the media calls them murderers. At a pinkish dawn, two people walk from a truck in flames. For an eventual No. Queen & Slim is fueled by a similar question: Can we honor black lives while they’re alive? (Only Mark Romanek, at three, has more.) “She’s a true artist,” says Turner-Smith. There may be no better evidence of that collaborative energy than Matsoukas’s career-defining video for Beyoncé’s “Formation.” Released on the eve of what would become a controversial Super Bowl 50 halftime performance, “Formation” illuminated the cultural sensibilities and influences at the soul of Beyoncé’s art. I knew I’d grow into film, TV, and other mediums, but I wanted to start in video. They are Communist believers, so they don’t believe in organized religion, but we believe very much in culture and in food — Greek food, Cuban food, soul food, Jamaican food, all on one plate.”, Left to right: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluuya and Matsoukas on the set of ‘Queen & Slim.’, She entered NYU as a math major, but graduated with a thesis project on music videos — a change of lanes more parallel than perpendicular. “I didn’t want to go into someone else’s world, someone else’s [creative] language,” says Matsoukas, “all in the middle of things.”, Then Waithe reached out. In a pivotal scene, black and brown activists are assembled around a corrupt NYPD precinct. “She fought to have me because she appreciated what I had done in my space. The Bronx was burning, and it was poor, but it was also so culturally rich that hip-hop was born there. “I had never done something with that much money and effort,” Matsoukas said in 2010 to the website Def Pen. “She was a tremendous influence … on my voice.”, At New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Matsoukas went from photographing friends to shooting music videos. Each clip subverts personas and reclaims stories. Matsoukas’s ability to not overlight or underlight brown skin tones (a longstanding problem in the film biz) did not go unnoticed. Mike Brown. “This movie is saying something really strong, and it’s on the right side of history,” Matsoukas later tells me. “It’s different when you’re black,” says Matsoukas.
Journalists often refer to her dad as a carpenter, yet she prefers the world “builder,” as in someone who can make anything if they just have the materials. Take Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” which captures the entire arc of a disastrous relationship in four and a half minutes. Especially one: “Sea foam is my favorite. Kamuzu Banda, Tim. “Uncle Earl,” says Matsoukas, “is who Joshua in Jason’s Lyric would have become.”. John Hughes directed his first film, Sixteen Candles, with Universal, seven years after Robert Zemeckis made his first, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, with the studio. “It’s when you get to paint. “”An understanding of math or technology is extremely important in film,” Matsoukas insists. As a black woman, you’ve got to know your craft. It was diminished,” says Matsoukas. Melina reprised her role as visual architect for the pop icon’s 2016 surprise album, Lemonade , directing the … Journalists often refer to her dad as a carpenter, yet she prefers the world “builder,” as in someone who can make anything if they just have the materials. The resulting 34 minutes of television put the culture on notice. She’s staring at a wintry scene from her first feature film, Queen & Slim. Bleached white cottons on glowing chocolate skin. © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. They did on the first take. “Everyone was looking at me like, You don’t have the experience to be doing this. ", "2014 MUSIC VIDEOS COMPETITION NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED", "Here's Your Full List of 2014 VMA Winners", "Beyonce's 'Formation' Music Video Wins Grand Prix at Inaugural Cannes Lions Entertainment for Music Awards", "2016 Kinsale Shark Awards - Short Film and Music Video", "MTV VMAs 2016: the MTV Video Music Awards – as it happened", "2017 Gold Derby TV Awards nominations: 'This is Us,' 'Veep,' 'The Leftovers,' 'Stranger Things' among top contenders", "Hidden Figures, Loving, and Queen of Katwe nominated", "Here Are The Winners Of The 21st Annual Webby Awards", "DGA Awards 2018 Winners: The Complete List", "DGA Announces Nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television, Commercials and Documentary for 2017", "Jordan Peele's 'Us' Named Best Film by African-American Film Critics Association 2019", "Director Melina Matsoukas To Receive AFI's Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal", "Austin Film Critics Association Awards 2020", "Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 2019 - Winners", "National Board of Review 2019: 'The Irishman' Wins Best Film, Adam Sandler Named Best Actor", "Online Association of Female Film Critics 2019 Awards", "Online Film Critics Society 2019 Awards (23RD ANNUAL)", "CBS announces it will simulcast the BET Awards; here are all the nominees", "Black Reel Awards Nominations: 'Queen & Slim' Lead The Field, Kelvin Harrison Nabs Double Nomination", "Directors Guild Nominees Include Bong Joon Ho, Sam Mendes, Taika Waititi", "NAACP | NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR 51st NAACP IMAGE AWARDS", Black Reel Award for Outstanding Emerging Director, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Melina_Matsoukas&oldid=981943284, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2020, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing - First Time Feature Film, This page was last edited on 5 October 2020, at 09:01. Like your greenest blue, pale,” she says. Her work is described as "chock full of bright colors or crisp black and white images, smooth spotlights, and tasteful retro video models.