Behind those Books (press release)
Film Reviewed by Troy Johnson
Behind Those Books: A Thought Provoking Documentary Tackling Societal Ills Through Literature
Behind Those BooksExecutive Produced by: Mark Manderson & Elaine Watkins
Written & Produced by: Kaven Brown
Associate Producer: Franchesca Ho Sang
Edited & Directed by: Mills Miller
The infamous adage, "If you want to hide something from people, put it in a book or put it in writing," couldn’t be further from the truth when dealing with the street literature genre. Never has there been such praise and condemnation for one form of literature. "Behind Those Books" reflects the harsh and unpleasant realities of inner-cities across the United States and sheds light on the rationale for these stories to be told. It doesn’t stop there. The viewer is taken on a journey that tackles social issues that have been brought to the forefront as a result of this art form. The urban and hip-hop cultures have discussed this topic but it has never been given the attention that it deserves on such a grand scale until now.
The first and only comprehensive documentation on film of this controversial genre, gives viewers a raw and uncensored look inside this emerging industry. The film chronicles the evolution of the gritty street tale through interviews with pioneer authors, publishers, industry insiders, fans, activists, hiphop artists, book clubs, editors, literary agents and vendors.
"I am a abandoned child. My mother was a whore. And the things I saw through these eyes, no child should have to witness or experience. So am I wrong for writing about my life that I saw?" —Treasure E. Blue
"Behind Those Books" is a documentary that is guaranteed to change the perception of some and challenge how others feel about tales of street life in the inner-cities. However, the importance of supporting and promoting literature cannot be overlooked. The film promises to be a great socially relevant historical piece that will be referenced for years to come. The extended 13-minute trailer was recently released via the Internet and has generated a viral buzz and has garnered much praise. We would love to share this great documentary with your readers.
WHO IS IN THE FILM?
The film features notable authors and artists: Terry McMillan, Zane, Omar Tyree, Teri Woods, Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Kevin Powell, Queen Pen, Vickie Stringer, Nikki Turner, K’wan, Treasure E. Blue, Nick Chiles and more.
Teri Woods, author and publisher of the ground breaking and modern day classic, True to the Game, sold her books out of the trunk of her car before going on to become a self-made millionaire. Vickie Stringer, author of the street classic, Let That Be the Reason, wrote her novel while incarcerated and would later build Triple Crown Publications into the top urban book publishing company in the world. Zane, the Queen of erotica; Michael Eric Dyson, an academic, author, radio host and professor known for his outspoken voice on social and political issues; Cornel West, a philosopher, author, critic, actor and civil rights activist, all share their perspectives on these books .
PRODUCTION OF THE FILM
The documentary was written, produced and directed by maternal cousins, Kaven Brown and Mills Miller, who at the time the project was initiated were attending college at the Katharine Gibbs School in New York. Personal finances funded this documentary. Production started Spring 2007 and would last through Summer 2010. Roughly three years later, the film is ready to be viewed by the masses.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Kaven Brown is a multi-talented entrepreneur. An author, photographer and producer, who has been making waves in the publishing industry and music video circuit since the release of his first novel, Two Face, a suspense thriller with an urban flair that delves into the world of organized crime, merciless killers and crafty lawyers. Brown’s latest literary foray is the companion piece to the documentary, Behind Those Books, which is a non-fiction book of the same title. He has written 4 novels, a screenplay, several treatments for music videos and documentaries. Brown is the creative editing manager for The Urban Book Source, an online publication that has focused on urban literature since its inception in 2006. Brown was responsible for designing the website and contributing to many of the sites features including: UBS TV, Who’s Your Favorite Author’s Favorite Authors?, 50 Authors 50 States in 50 Days and several others. The website has grown from a grassroots following to one of the premiere online websites for urban literature, African American authors and publishers that offers insightful editorials, interviews and book reviews. Brown has photographed several celebrities and his work has appeared in People Magazine, Daily News, TMZ, The New York Post, Essence Magazine and numerous online publications. Brown currently resides in New York City where he continues to work on photography, writing and producing.
Mills Miller is a director of music videos and films. Mills launched his production company, Mills Miller Media in 2008 with the objective to build media for artists and showcase other directors. His first television placement came when he directed a video for Panamanian artist, Panama featuring Skyzoo, which aired on MTVU. Since then, Mills has received placements from MySpace featured videos to MTV Jams. In 2009, opportunity knocked for Mills to direct major artists, when he was hand selected by producers, Beatnick and K-Salaam to direct a video featuring Bun B, 88-Keys and Colin Munroe.
Soon thereafter, Mills directed the single "Body Ya" for hip hop heavyweight Fabolous, which was nominated in 2010 for a MTV Sucker Free Summit Award. Not content to rest on his laurels, in a twoyear time span, Miller continued his pursuit of directing videos and promotional material for veteran artists, The Dream and Jadakiss as well as emerging artist, Fred The Godson. "So Crazy," Fred The Godson’s first single received airplay on MTV Jams. Mills is committed to ensuring that each artist’s project represents his or her vision, while maintaining his artistic integrity. The Kaven Brown and Mills Miller brand will be synonymous with quality projects in the literary, film and photography arenas for the hip-hop and urban community and beyond.
Read More AALBC.com Film Reviews