The Film That Almost Reshaped Hollywood

Sep 19, 2018

In the mid-70s the president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority came up with a novel idea that could have changed the way Hollywood did business.

Tired of the representation of African-American women in blaxploitation films, Lillian Benbow set out to tell a more empowering story. The goal was to sell a ticket to each of the women in her sorority which had thousand of members nationwide. The movie’s initial budget was based on the price of a movie ticket multiplied by the number of members in the sorority. If anyone else attended the movie, like a date or friends, it would be pure profit for the women. “Countdown at Kusini” was released and the results are debated in the new documentary “The Kusini Concept: The Pride and the Sabotage.” Both films will be screened and discussed at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center’s Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film. Filmmaker S. Torriano Berry joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his documentary “The Kusini Concept: The Pride and the Sabotage” and why he says “Countdown at Kusini” is one of the most influential black films. He is joined by Joseph Jordan, director of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film kicks off Sunday, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m. at the Varsity Theater in Chapel Hill.

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