Backlight: Harassment Ain’t Cool

Content warning: sexual abuse

Well, it’s been another bleak week for sexual harassment in film and TV, but don’t lose all hope! Upcoming projects from diverse creators showcase the originality, creativity, and inclusivity that creators of colour and female creators can bring to our screens.

Harry Knowles Accused Of Sexual Assault And Harassment

Harry Knowles has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by at least five women. Knowles is the founder of Ain’t It Cool News and has “stepped away” from the site amidst the allegations. This comes after last week’s news that Ain’t It Cool News would not be sponsoring Fantastic Fest this year.

This is hardly the first time we’ve seen allegations of abuse and sexual harassment within film and television, which remains an issue at all levels. This week, we also heard that Battle of the Sexes star Natalie Morales received attempted upskirt shots from a paparazzi. Morales’ Twitter response is fierce but indicative of the misogyny and harassment issues that have yet to be addressed within the industry.

New Films In Production About Rosa Parks And Gloria Steinem

Despite harassment making the industry a hellhole for many women, female creators continue to produce inspiring work. This week, we learned two films are being developed about two important women in history: Rosa Parks and Gloria Steinem.

Julie Dash will direct a film about Rosa Parks’ early activism and her investigation of the rape of Recy Taylor. Based on Danielle McGuire’s book At The Dark End of the Street, the film hopes to shine a light on the often underrepresented actions and activism of black women, in the face of events that led up to the Civil Rights movement.

Meanwhile, Julie Taymor will direct the adaptation of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life On The Road. Taymor also directed Frida, a biopic about radical artist Frida Kahlo. With this latest film in the works, Taymor hopes to bring Steinem’s story – and her legacy – to the big screen.

Cool Projects From Cool People

Kenya Barris is attached to the Coming To America sequel. Black-ish creator Barris is set to write the film, which is likely to star Eddie Murphy, although details haven’t been finalised.

Kumail Nanjiani and John Cena will star in a buddy cop movie helmed by Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer. Further details haven’t yet been announced but this acting duo is unexpected and intriguing. Nanjiani is outspoken when it comes to politics and justice, but we’re yet to see whether the movie reflects this too or if it’s just typical buddy cop fare.

‘80s assassin high school comic Deadly Class is being adapted by Joe and Anthony Russo for Syfy. The Russos are currently working on Marvel flick Avengers: Infinity War, so they’ve got their comic book adaptation chops already, plus they’re bringing back The Warriors, so they should be able to capture Deadly Class’s ‘80s underground vibes. Deadly Class is full of characters of colour, queer and female characters, so here’s hoping for some stellar representation when it comes to putting together the show’s cast and crew.

Melina Matsoukas will adapt Marlon James’ A Brief History Of Seven Killings into a series for Amazon Studios. The book explores the history of race, class, and politics in Jamaica. Matsoukas, who has worked on Insecure as well as Beyoncé’s Formation, will be working alongside James to ensure the show captures the complexity of the subject matter.

Cradle is a sci-fi short starring Dante Basco, who played Rufio in 1991 classic Hook. Cradle follows a man’s attempts to rewrite history after suffering a trauma. You can watch it here.

Charcoal is an award-winning short about colourism from Haitian-American filmmaker Francesca Andre. Charcoal explores the ways self-hatred and internalised racism are taught across generations by colourism within the black community. You can watch the film here.


Zainabb Hull

Zainabb Hull

Zainabb Hull is a disabled, queer, and brown freelance writer and sort-of artist. You can find them screaming about screens and raging against colonialism on Twitter at @ZainabbHull.