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HOW TO EAT YOUR WATERMELON IN WHITE COMPANY (AND ENJOY IT)

USA, 2005 (MIFF 2006, Film on Film)

Director: Joe Angio

“Somebody once asked me, ‘Melvin, how'd you get to the top?'. It was simple. Nobody would let me in at the bottom.” - Melvin Van Peebles, 1986

While the revolutionary 1971 film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, earned Melvin Van Peebles the title ‘godfather of modern black cinema', the film's impact extends far beyond blaxploitation genre conventions. Functioning as a virtual one-man studio, he wrote, financed, produced, directed, scored and distributed the film - as well as starring in the title role - which grossed US$10, million making it the most successful independent film of its time.

Taking a broader view of a remarkable life (Van Peebles is also the author of five novels written in French, a recording artist, the creator of two Tony-nominated Broadway musicals, an American Stock Exchange floor trader… and quite the ladies man), this documentary tells it all through cooler-than-cool archival footage and interviews with friends, colleagues, ex-lovers, relatives and a still vivacious Van Peebles now aged 72.

Director Joe Angio is a guest of the festival and will introduce the film on Wednesday 2 August, 5pm at Greater Union.

D/S Joe Angio P Michael Solomon WS Films Transit TD video/2005/85mins

Joe Angio was born in Chicago, USA, in 1960. His films include A Feast of Fools (1987, short doco) and More Than a Game (1991, short doco). How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) (2005) is his feature film directing debut.

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