Ashley McArthur on her new films and exploring the African market
Ashley McArthur is a highly sought after millennial film producer, screenwriter and director based in Atlanta, Georgia USA. For the last several years she has focused on independent projects working with up and coming actors starring in Judah and the Black Messiah, Step Up, All American, The Godfather of Harlem and many more. But, Ashley first garnered attention for her work on the hit youtube Side Chick Web Series. A show focusing on millennial relationships which gained over 4 million views and 35K subscribers. In our continuing series of interviews with key industry professionals, we welcome Ashley who sat down with our own Alaba Ayinuola for some quick insight of her new films, goals and perspective of the filming industry. Excerpt.
Alaba: What film project are you currently working on?
Ashley: I’m actually in post production of a short film, Goodbye, which I’m excited to share shortly. I think I’ll release it on my instagram page first to give my followers a chance to check it out. However, I’m currently in development of a new summer romance dramedy feature film. It’s pretty much about a medical student who joins her boyfriend’s family on vacation, where she’ll be meeting them for the first time.
Overall it’s a fun film with a unique plot that’s relatable to the Black community.
Alaba: Did you write this film?
Ashley: I did. I wrote this film earlier this year. As a writer, I always think my stories are amazing. But, I knew this story resonated well with people after receiving feedback from a service I use called, We Screenplay. They’re industry professionals who pretty much grade your script and give feedback. Well, I received incredible feedback with encouragement to move forward as they truly believe it will be successful. If you enjoyed films like Just Go With It, Guess Who, Roscoe’s Family Reunion, The Peeples, then you’ll enjoy this film.
Alaba: When you write, do you have actors in mind or do you just write?
Ashley: It truly depends. There are stories where I may write a story for a particular actor. I have this thing of wanting to contribute to the advancement of an actor’s career. To create that breaking role for an actor and/or just a role that I know an actor has been wanting to play. So there are times I do and times I don’t.
With this particular film, I had one actress in mind the entire time. Nicole Ari Parker. I have been watching her work since Dancing In September. Also, her performance on Soul Food definitely had me hooked to where she was an actress I knew I wanted to work with in the future. Her performances are so believable. On top of that, I believe she’s genuinely a kind and loving human being and character is important to me.
So prayerfully she connects with the script and enjoys the character I created with her in mind.
Alaba: The film industry is highly capital intensive. How are you funding the project and who are the investors you’re talking to?
Ashley: I have a great network of seasoned industry professionals who have been guiding me and connecting me. I currently have the interest of two investors which is a blessing being that this budget is over $2 Million. That may not sound much for some but as a Black indie filmmaker in the United States, that’s a great start.
Alaba: What are your goals with this film?
Ashley: Wow, I have a few… I definitely want this film to be a great summer film that people enjoy and reference in the future. I’m a very conscious writer/filmmaker but this film is actually light and fun. We had two years of trauma with this pandemic, we deserve to have joy and laugh again. I want to create a high quality, cinematic, Black film with great acting. A film that talent is proud to be a part of and the Black community is proud to support. We can be a tough bunch. LOL.
I want to give up and coming talent an opportunity to get more exposure. Collaborate with the African film industry.
Lastly, continue to prove that films with Black talent sell internationally.
Alaba: One of your major goals is the African film industry entry. Why and what’s the attraction?
Ashley: I have this goal of intersecting cultures. I already planned for this feature film to have a part two which I want to film in Africa to incorporate the culture within this story. It’s important for me to break the stereotypes that our film industry and government have created about Africa. A lot of the propaganda has caused many people to remain distant and it’s unfortunate.
Black Panther didn’t do well because it was a “Marvel” film. It did well because we saw our reflection. It was African inspired, it was a depiction of what we have known Africa to be from the beginning.
Alaba: Who are your favorite writers, producers and directors in the industry?
Ashley: Okay, so I’ve always admired Mara Brock Akil as a writer. Her stories are authentic and relevant. She uses her pen to change the narrative of Blacks in America and she’s a conscious storyteller. Most of all, I love how I hear her voice in every story she tells. She’s been in this industry for like ever and she’s never lost her voice.
I respect Spike Lee as a director because he was always using his art to address real issues. He was always trying to keep the Black community awake and alert. Most importantly, I respect him for remaining true to himself. Despite all the negative coverage, the lack of Hollywood support, little to no funding, Spike wasn’t going to change. He walked in integrity and in my opinion he didn’t sell out for money and fame.
As for a favorite producer, Ava Duvernay. She too uses her platform to uplift, change narratives, be inclusive and overall create a better atmosphere for her team and talent to create. She’s very purposeful in the stories that she tells and goes against the norm. She’s a change agent who gives voice to the voiceless.
I just laughed out loud, literally because I realized everyone that I named are all conscious creators who are truly what I would consider positive disruptors in the industry. They have a heart for people, truth and they have respectable human beings. I told you, a person’s character is big to me.
Gaming gets even better with AOC’s new gaming monitors
Gaming display specialist AOC have announced the release of two new gaming monitors, the U28G2X/D and the G4309VX/D, both supporting the new HDMI 2.1 standard for higher resolutions and better framerates. It is now available in the Middle East, these monitors bring blazing-fast refresh rates as well as razor-sharp imagery perfect for mainstream and hardcore gamers.
HDMI 2.1: Expanding the limits of possibility
The new version of this connector features an amazing 48Gbps transmission bandwidth that brings faster refresh rates and higher resolution. HDMI 2.1 also allows gamers to experience 4K 120Hz gaming on the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. HDMI 2.1 is backwards compatible with all previous versions, meaning that older devices will work with the new port.
AOC U28G2X/D: Brilliant Visuals
The new AOC U28G2X/D delivers the best visuals thanks to its 4K (3840 x 2160) screen resolution. An IPS display provides 178/178 viewing angles without compromising visual quality and colour uniformity. A 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time also eliminates screen blur, perfect for an intense esports tournament.
Moreover, the monitor supports AMD FreeSync Premium, which keeps the monitor’s refresh rate synched with the processor effectively eliminating stuttering and tearing when playing fast-paced games. The monitor also brings DisplayHDR 400, which delivers incredible brightness, contrast, and colours. To ensure a healthy viewing experience, a Low Blue Mode setting is provided to avoid strain on the eyes without affecting the image quality.
AOC G4309VX/D: Ultimate Immersion
Brandishing a 43-inch gaming monitor with 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, the AOC G4309VX/D offers plenty of pixels and a large screen to showcase more detail for sharper images. It brings a 144Hz refresh rate that conforms to the latest esports gaming standard and eliminates screen blur for the best gaming experience. This monitor also brings AOC flicker-free technology to minimise eye fatigue.
Adaptive sync technology also means that each game you play is fluid and artifact-free, made even better with the quick refresh and ultra-fast response time. Multitasking like never before with Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture, where content is fine-tuned from different inputs that makes it easier for you to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
“We’re excited to bring these new gaming monitors to the Middle East market,” said Pankaj Budhiraja, Category Manager – Middle East & Africa. “AOC has always been at the forefront of display technology. The launch of the AOC U28G2X/D and the AOC G4309VX/D with HDMI 2.1 support further proves our commitment to all casual and professional gamers in the region,” he concluded.
Fearless Energy Drink Backs Fanfaro Autofest 2022
Fearless energy drink from the stable of Rite Foods Limited has made full preparation to support this year’s Fanfaro Autofest event as the headline sponsor. This is in its bid to make the platform bigger and more thrilling for car drifters, super bikers, and fun seekers in the ancient city of Ibadan from Friday, 2nd to Sunday, 4th December 2022.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Fanfaro Oil Nigeria, Mr. Adekunle Olanrewaju, stated that the support from the Fearless energy drink is enormous hence the event is credited to it and dubbed “Fanfaro Autofest, Fearless Edition,” as the contestants will be rejuvenated with the brand’s positive energy and courageous spirit to actively showcase their talent in car drifting.
“It takes a lot for someone to align with your dream; it takes like minds to be part of it. The previous events have been successful, but now having the marketing leading; Fearless brand behind it, is a success even before the start of the event. The brand also resonates with what the sport stands for, we are fearless, tough, energetic, and want to make it more exhilarating,” Olanrewaju explained.
He pointed out that with the Fearless brand behind the largest motorsport in the country, Nigerians should expect more exciting and action-packed sporting activities, as the product has been with Fanfaro from the planning stage to the exercise which takes a year to put together, and also for a refreshing moment with the trailblazer in the energy drink segment.
According to him, a Fearless brand raffle draw will be organised before the main event in November, where participants would be told to make a creative design with five empty bottles of the product, with the winners going home with exciting gifts.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Rite Foods Head of Marketing, Olumide Aruleba, affirmed that the Fearless brand is very proud to throw its weight behind the sport, as it will bring into it the positive energy associated with the brand as a means to create the desired impact and make it a ground-breaking event. “We also want everyone to look forward to it,” he stated.
On her part, the Assistant Brand Manager of Fearless Energy Drink, Kanyisola Sangowawa, said the support from the product signpost is its connection with consumers in keeping them refreshed by providing the vigour needed while attaining their dreams or showcasing useful talents. She avowed that it takes a fearless spirit to support an action like the auto fest, which requires boldness, daring force, and strength in making it a success.
In his remark, the Fearless Brand Ambassador and the Face of Fanfaro Autofest, the Fearless Edition, Tobi Bakre, actor and a lead cast in the movie, Brotherhood, extolled the partnership between the Fearless energy drink and the motorsport, stating that both connects with a Fearless and reinvigorating force.
Giants of Africa Unveil 4 New Basketball Courts in Nigeria
Giants of Africa’s Basketball Court (Photo: Giants of Africa)
Giants of Africa, a foundation dedicated to enriching the lives of African youth through sports, and co-founder Masai Ujiri, Vice-Chairman and President of the Toronto Raptors, today announced the unveiling of four new basketball courts in Lagos, Nigeria.
Today’s announcement is a continuation of the ‘Built Within’ initiative – the foundation’s multi-year, 100-court commitment to investing in sports infrastructure across Africa. With the opening of these new courts, Giants of Africa has built a total of 20 courts in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal since September 2021.
“There is so much talent in Nigeria,” said Masai Ujiri, Giants of Africa co-founder and Vice-Chairman and President of the Toronto Raptors of the NBA. “After unveiling our initial courts here in Lagos under the ‘Built Within’ initiative last year, we knew we would be back. We continue to be inspired by the youth as well as the communities that are committed to moving Africa forward through sports.”
“While basketball courts are the heart of the ‘Built Within’ initiative, it’s about providing valuable life skills to empower the youth, while creating stronger communities and job opportunities on and off the court. Our goal is to bring social transformation, education and enrichment to the lives of children across the continent and want Africa’s youth to dream big, believing that anything is possible,” continued Mr. Ujiri.
The unveilings take place at Gaskiya College and Egan Grammar School sponsored by the Jess and Scott Lake Foundation, the Ejigbo Mini Stadium in partnership with 2K Foundations, followed by Abesan Mini Stadium. The four new sites are in addition to the five previously announced locations, totaling nine basketball courts across Nigeria.
Each court unveiling event includes a basketball clinic for 50 boys and girls conducted by local and NBA Giants of Africa coaches, a life skills session, as well as entertainment. Sport Courts from Sport Court International, LLC, were used for Gaskiya College, Egan Grammar School and Abesan Mini Stadium. Prior to unveiling the courts in Nigeria, a court was unveiled in Kedougou, Senegal at Lycée Technique Industriel & Minier de Kedougou sponsored by IAMGOLD.