Magazine article The Crisis

Couple Creates First Theater for Black Independent Films

Magazine article The Crisis

Couple Creates First Theater for Black Independent Films

Article excerpt

For more than a decade, ImageNation, founded by Moikgantsi Kgama, 35, and her husband Gregory Gates, 38, would hold a weekly screening of independent Black films accompanied by lively discussions inside a twostory Harlem brownstone.

The Harlembased organization's mission to counter the negative images in media became so popular that the weekly events spawned a film and music festival, as well as the Revolution Awards honoring socially conscious artists.

"A lot of these films would just be sitting on the shelf or [were] ignored by the mainstream," explains Gates. "Some were shown at Sundance and Tribeca [film festivals], but they wouldn't get picked up for distribution because they weren't being marketed properly. We wanted these films to find new audiences."

Now these films will have a new home in My Image Cinema, the nation's first-ever movie theater devoted to independent Black and Hispanic films. The cinema will be located in a $140-million, 12-story condominium building in Harlem called the Kalahari. The building is slated for completion in early 2008.

The project is a joint venture between Full Spectrum of NY, a Harlem-based housing developer, and ImageNation, whose support committee includes actor Danny Glover and singer Erykah Badu.

"Our goal has always been to develop theaters where people of color can consistently see themselves in meaningful and entertaining productions," says Kgama.

The three-screen digital theater promises a far different experience than the standard multiplex, from a state-of-theart performance space for music concerts to concession stands offering soul food delicacies like chicken wings and patties. …

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