Wednesday June 28th is something extra special we've been working on -- the first of our Summer 2017 outdoor screenings...the first of which is FREE!

by Asha Lovelace
(Trinidad & Tobago)

Based on the short story by her father, famed Caribbean novelist and playwright Earl Lovelace, the film tells the story of Joebell, a gambler, who concocts a risky plan to escape Trinidad for the promise and fantasy of a better future in America. Prepared to leave everything behind, including his newfound romance with the village beauty, Joebell sets out for his final destination, with each step of his journey revealing truths about himself and illuminating the island he had always taken for granted.

This edition is a special partnership with the Caribbean Film Academy's CaFA Cinema Nights long-standing program of Caribbean cinema, and UnionDocs, the center for documentary art that presents and produces pioneering records of reality.

The Hancock Community Backyard Garden Park hosts our Thursday, AUGUST 17th edition screening of:

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez
directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

An inspirational portrait of the poet and activist’s life and work, a seminal figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and pioneer of spoken word poetry, who harnessed her gift for words as a champion against racism, sexism and war, fusing art and activism over the past six decades.  The prodigious Sanchez has been on the front lines of art and activism for 60 years—teaching, writing, performing, protesting, and fought to establish the first university Black Studies program in the country.  But, her commitment to justice for all people has come at a cost. This film captures the breadth of Sanchez's rich and often unsettled life.

seating begins at 7pm, film begins at 8pm
Hancock Community Backyard Garden Park, 324 Hancock Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216 (btw Throop & Tompkins Avenues)


Special thanks to California Newsreel for supporting this screening.

Curated by The Luminal, and set to amplify African diaspora immigrant cinematic voices, the Weeksville Freedom Film Festival is the cinematic expression of the history and ideals of Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC), Brooklyn’s largest African-American cultural institution and one of America’s first free Black communities, and their commitment to provide a platform to voices that fight to preserve history through freedom-driven works.

Imbuing Weeksville’s themes of sanctuary, self-determination, and activism, this is a multi-genre celebration of quality independent films, dialogues, and reflections of international immigrant culture, inhabiting direct immigrant themes of freedom, displacement, abandonment, and human rights violations.

click HERE for tickets

$10 for all day entry and other specials

In MIDDAY RAMBLE, challenging youth-oriented Black/Black cast films will be presented in a collective environment where teens & pre-teens have a safe-space to learn from the important themes each film presents.  Each film will have guided talking points with discussions before and after.  All films will allow the young people to further discover that they are not just one way, one thing, that they come in a wide variety of arrays and can be so many things - despite the perspectives that popular culture perpetuates about young black women and men.  Done in conjunction with the Bailey's Cafe 'Rites of Passage' program.


Midday Ramble is sponsored by by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The 2017 Cinema Garden Party is sponsored by the Citizens Committee for New York City. 

Where it all began...

Ten years ago, a daring and sexy film made its debut, and extended to the modern film world a merciless and unusual view into the myths and truths of Black sexuality, creating a touchstone that still exists today. 

With “A Good Day to be Black & Sexy,” writer/director Dennis Dortch offers audiences a ‘mixtape’ of deftly arranged vignettes that show how men and women in Los Angeles explore desire, sex and love - and now we celebrate its anniversary and impact. 

Unjustly overlooked upon its release, yet a game-changer in establishing a highly successful webseries network model with the popular online Black&Sexy.TV network (with "Hello Cupid," "RoomieLoverFriends", "Chef Julian" and more), “A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy” stands as a smart, steamy, and still all-too-rare exploration of black relationships and sexuality featuring a top-notch ensemble cast that includes Allen Maldonado (“Black-ish”, “The Last O.G.”), Marcius Harris (“Vice Principals,” “Rebel”), and Kathryn Taylor Smith (“Criminal Minds”), and set to a choice soundtrack.

Q&A with director Dennis Dortch, producer Adetoro Makinde, and actor Allen Maldonado ("Black'ish", "The Equalizer")

Presented by The Luminal Theater, Black&Sexy.TV, the Black Tv & Film Collective, and BAMcinematek

Watch our inaugural edition of Beyond the Cut, featuring filmmaker Shaka King

​​The First Quincy Street Community Garden hosts our *Saturday, JULY 15th Cinema Garden Party screening of:


directed by Luke Meyer

Chronicles the break-out year of the band UNLOCKING THE TRUTH, following 12 and 13-year-old members Alec Atkins, Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins as they first encounter stardom and the music industry, transcending childhood to reckon with their rock-star dreams.

Special thanks to See Think Films and Abramorama for supporting this screening.

*event postponed from July 14th to the 15th due to rain

Our guest  is filmmaker NIKYATU JUSU.  The Sierra Leonean-American filmmaker's short films have played at festivals nationally and internationally garnering her NYU’s prestigious Spike Lee Fellowship Award, the Princess Grace Foundation Narrative film grant and Director’s Guild of America Honorable Mentions.  Her feature screenplay Free The Town was one of 12 projects invited to participate in Sundance Institute’s first Diverse Writers Workshop. Additionally Free The Town was hand selected for Africa’s most prestigious Film Market, the 2013 Durban Film Mart and one of five narrative films selected for Film Independent's Fast Track.  Presently Nikyatu is in development on her feature film FLOWERS.  The short film rendition of Flowers, which she co-wrote/co-directed with Yvonne Shirley, won the HBO Short Film Competition at the American Black Film Festival (2016) and is currently touring the festival circuit. 
Nikyatu studied narrative filmmaking at New York University’s MFA film program and teaches filmmaking full time. She is a resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. This edition is co-presented and produced by Weeksville Heritage Center.


Beyond the Cut is a live discussion series featuring influential artists from the realms of film, art, and culture. Here, their storytelling perspectives are celebrated, and their career journey is examined, with emphasis on how live audience members can learn from and share these stories.  This first season will shed a continuous light on the contributions of African-American influencers who live or work in and around Bedford-Stuyvesant, focusing on the impact their work has on the world and their community.

Weeksville Heritage Center is Brooklyn’s largest African-American cultural institution, is a multidisciplinary museum dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn - one of America’s first free black communities. A not-for-profit organization, their programming is sponsored, in part, by the new York City Deptartment of Cultural Affairs.


by Klaus Wildenhahn, 97 mins, 1968
presented by Maysles Cinema and The Luminal Theater

Tickets available HERE  and at

Harlem, 1968.  The hope of the Black nation has been assassinated. But Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy takes center stage at the New Lafayette Theatre.  This is where filmmaker Klaus Wildenhahn turns his lens Uptown to follow Harlem’s New Lafayette Theatre members as they rehearse scenes, conduct acting exercises for their upcoming season, and run politically radical workshops for the community.

 Founded by actor-director Robert Macbeth, the New Lafayette Theatre was a significant institution within the Black Arts Movement, creating politically and artistically radical theatre by Black people for Black audiences. To further empower the community Macbeth recruited Ed Bullins – the former Black Panthers Minister of Culture - as the theatre’s playwright-in-residence.    In addition to recording the theatre’s workshops, the movie contains lively street interviews with Harlem’s residents, and scenes from a Black Panther fundraiser held for Eldridge Cleaver, whose quotes bracket the film (though oddly read by the German filmmakers). The film also heavily profiles NLT director Macbeth, whose wit, skill, charm, and salesmanship (even among excruciating group-therapy exorcisms) spur the New Lafayette players to succeed at their craft.

Part political and historical document, part classic arts manual, HARLEM THEATRE speaks to contemporary concerns regarding justice for Black people, the instrumentality of art to bring about change, and the limited opportunities available to Black performers.

Co-presented by Rochelle S. Miller.  Special thanks to archivist/collector Ira Gallen for saving and preserving the film Harlem Theatre.

Extended thanks to Jack Hardy at Grapevine Video for digitizing the print from the Ira H. Gallen Archives
This program is part of the series Made in Harlem: Class of '68


July & August 2018

Beyond the Cut is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). 

​​The First Quincy Street Community Garden hosts our Friday, September 15th Cinema Garden Party screening of:

A feature length documentary inspired by nostalgia and a romantic idea of family legacy, IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE follows acclaimed hip-hop artist Che "Rhymefest" Smith as he decides to purchase his childhood home on Chicago’s South Side
and raise his new family in the same house where he grew up.  Through this journey, Che realizes the importance of reconnecting with his estranged father and finds him living on the streets as a homeless alcoholic just a few blocks away. Through authentic sharing and storytelling, this powerful film shines a light on systemic issues facing our nation today -- like fatherhood and homelessness -- as Che hesitantly sets  out to reconnect with the man who abandoned him over 25 years ago.

seating begins at 7pm, film starts at 8pm

First Quincy Street Community Garden, 397-410 Quincy Street, Brooklyn, NY 11221

​ Special thanks to Break Thru for supporting this screening.

SHAKA KING is a Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn raised, award-winning filmmaker, known for his bold and challenging film work. “Newlyweeds” (2013), his ambitious feature film debut, was a bitingly funny ‘black’ comedy and a truly focused character study of two young people refusing to begin to take their lives more seriously.

Beyond the Cut is proud to have Mr. King examine his ongoing and ever-evolving film career for our inaugural edition.

Our guest  is EPHRAIM 'Fetti' BENTON, a true force to be reckoned with. His work in the arts as an actor and producer are only matched by his devotion as a community leader, entrepreneur, and father.

Having appeared in award-winning & critically noteworthy films such as "Precious," "Gun Hill Road", "The Place Beyond The Pines" and Lisa France’s “Anne B. Real,” Ephraim was the lead in Rik Cordero’s "Inside A Change" as teenager Chris Price, a young man forced to reexamine his life and bring his crumbling family together for his mom’s birthday in Rik Cordero's "Inside A Change."

In addition to creating Daddy Daughter Publishing with his young daughter, Ephraim has used his life experience to give back to the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn community with the annual Daddy Children’s Day, The Bed-Stuy Community Youth & Cultural Fair, and the Chillin On Da Corner & Beyond Film Series.

Special thanks to 500 Men Making A Difference and graphic designer Raquel Rivera.


These CINEMA GARDEN PARTY is an intimate, nighttime, outdoor film series serving as inter-neighborhood artistic alternatives

for Bedford-Stuyvesant, instilling an enhanced film-centered sensibility, with empowering narratives, into the community --

while also uniting neighbors into public & common spaces with entertainment not commonly provided.  

Friday June 23, 2017

Welcome Reception


Opening Night Film!

directed by Ousmane Sembene (the father of African cinema)

Senegal/France  | Narrative Feature |  1966 |  59 min.
A young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by M’Bissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.

special introduction by Boukary Sawadogo, Ph.D., Asst. Professor of Cinema Studies, Department of Media and Communication Arts, City College - City University of NY

preceded by  KHAYALAMI

Directed by Denise Khumalo
USA/Zimbabwe - Documentary Short | 2015  |  15 min
A story about an African woman’s struggle to keep her traditions and customs alive while living in an increasingly Western world.

Saturday, June 24th


Directed by Rachelle Salnave
Documentary Feature | 2015  |  65 min
La Belle Vie: The Good Life takes a personal look into Haitian-American filmmaker Rachelle Salnave's journey to discover her Haitian roots by examining the complexities of the Haitian society, chronicling her voyage to find hope in this nation on the brink of a new Haiti.


Directed by Christopher Everett
Documentary Feature | 2015 |  89 min.
An in-depth chronicle of the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, a bloody attack on the African-American community by a heavily armed white mob with the support of the North Carolina Democratic Party on November 10, 1898 in the port city of Wilmington, NC. It is considered one of the very few examples of a violent overthrow of an existing government and left countless numbers of African-Americans dead and exiled from the city. This event was the springboard for the White Supremacy movement and Jim Crow segregation throughout the state of North Carolina and the American South.

Women Directors of the Diaspora
short film block – 99 min

Q&A hosted by Melissa Lyde, founder of Alfreda's Cinema film series

AFRICAN BOOTY SCRATCHER  Directed by Nikyatu Jusu | Narrative Short | 2007
with DeWanda Wise (Netflix/Spike Lee's "She's Gotta Have It"), Ebbe Bassey, Stephen Hill, Sofia Rodriguez
Prom nears and things seem to be spiraling out of control for the typically composed Isatu. In this coming of age story, West African tradition conflicts with American idealism and Isatu is forced to reassess her alliances.

FAREWELL MEU AMOR   Directed by Ekwa Msangi | Narrative Short | 2016
The morning of the long-awaited reunion with his exiled family, a man (“Fela” stage play star Sahr Ngaujah) is faced with the heartbreak of a different type of parting - from his lover (Nana Mensah).

ORI INU: IN SEARCH OF SELF   Directed by Chelsea Odufu & Emann Odufu  |  Narrative Short | 2016
With Helene Beyene, Trae Harris, Les Nubians, and Tonya Pinkins
A coming of age story about a young immigrant woman who must choose between conforming her identity and spirituality to the cultural norms of America or revisiting her roots in the Afro-Brazilian religion called Candomble.

   Directed by Martine Jean  |  Narrative Short | 2016
At the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Rosa Jean-Louis fights for her life and the survival of her child. This film is a depiction of the impact of the DR Constitutional Tribunal's decision of September 2013 on Dominicans of Haitian descent. The ruling rendered thousands stateless.

SWEET, SWEET COUNTRY   Written & Directed by Dehanza Rogers | Narrative Short | 2013
with Danielle Deadwyler + Gbenga Akinnagbe
With her parents and younger siblings living in a refugee camp in Kenya, 20 year-old Ndizeye struggles to support not only herself, but provide for a family she’s not seen in five years. Living in a small southern town, her struggle becomes so much more when her family literally shows up at her doorstep.

THE YOUTH  Written & Directed by Dehanza Rogers | Narrative Short | 2015

with Feikamoh Massaquoi, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, and Yolonda Ross
A recent college graduate is frustrated that his life is going nowhere until an old friend offers him the opportunity to make a difference.

Sunday, June 25


Directed by Matthew Newton

Narrative Feature | 2017 |  89 min.
With J. Mallory McCree (ABC's "Quantico"), Octavia Chavez-Richmond and Raquel Castro,

Julianne Nicholson (NBC's "Law & Order), and Denis O’Hare (HBO's "True Blood")
Three undocumented teenagers — a Dominican girl, an African boy and a Peruvian girl — are just about to graduate high school in the Bronx. Like most teenagers, all they want to do is hang with their friends, fall in love, and figure out where to go to college; but unlike their American classmates, these three live with the threat of being discovered by the authorities and deported. When one of their teachers connects them with a lawyer to help them get their papers, the teens start to dig into their family histories to assist their immigration cases. As they continue to deal with the everyday problems of adolescence, the teenagers are forced to confront their
past and, at the same time, fight for their future.  Winner of the SXSW 2017 Narrative Spotlight Audience Award.

preceded by YOLANDA

by Cristian Carretero
Narrative Short | 2013 | 14 min
A single mother struggles to raise her children in the poverty stricken outskirts of Santo Domingo. She soon decides to risk it all and illegally immigrate in the search of a better life.


Closing Night Film!

Directed by Andrew Dosunmu
Narrative Feature | 2013 | 106 min.
with Danai Gurira (Michonne on AMC's "The Walking Dead", Isaach De Bankolé ("Casino Royale", "Chocolat") Yaya Alafia, and Angelique Kidjo
Ayodele (Isaach De Bankolé) and Adenike (Danai Gurira) marry and start a new life. As months pass without a pregnancy, Adenike feels torn between her Yoruba culture and her new life in America, struggling to save her marriage.