John Cassavetes Award To Black Lesbian Drama

One of the ways that the Independent Spirit Awards remains true to its original vision of promoting and honoring new voices in American independent cinema is with its John Cassavetes Award, which is given to a new film with a budget under $500,000. This year’s worthy winner was PARIAH, a moving and involving feature debut by Dee Rees about a young African-American teenage girl’s road to acceptance of her homosexuality despite her disapproving family and community. The film offered a true immersion into the Harlem community in which it is set and showcased the rising talents of such promising young actresses as Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker and Aasha Davis. Moving beyond the standard coming-out story, this is a film about family ties and conflicts and the need to explore one’s truth nature despite the negative consequences that such a journey may conjure up. It is a film of courage, and we no doubt will be hearing more in the future from these young actresses, as well as the film’s adventurous and courageous director.

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