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Jamaa Fanaka

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ENTERTAINMENT
July 28, 1988 | TAMMY SIMS
Jamaa Fanaka, the writer-producer-director of the prison film "Penitentiary" and its two sequels, said he is tired of having to "reinvent the wheel" every time he wants to make a movie. "I did everything they said it takes to make it in the film industry," said Fanaka, a summa cum laude UCLA film graduate who was proclaimed by one major critic as "a brilliant young black film maker" in 1979. "They said you've got to have a hot film. I had three successful films.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2012 | By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
Jamaa Fanaka, who emerged as a dynamic black filmmaker with his gritty independent 1979 film "Penitentiary" and later made headlines with his legal battles alleging widespread discrimination against women and ethnic minorities in the film and television industry, has died. He was 69. Fanaka was found dead in his apartment in South Los Angeles on Sunday, said his daughter Tracey L. Gordon. The cause of death has not been determined, but she said it probably was the result of complications of diabetes.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2012 | By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
Jamaa Fanaka, who emerged as a dynamic black filmmaker with his gritty independent 1979 film "Penitentiary" and later made headlines with his legal battles alleging widespread discrimination against women and ethnic minorities in the film and television industry, has died. He was 69. Fanaka was found dead in his apartment in South Los Angeles on Sunday, said his daughter Tracey L. Gordon. The cause of death has not been determined, but she said it probably was the result of complications of diabetes.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 1991 | Compiled by Michael Wilmington
Following are The Times' recommendations for today's schedule of the American Film Institute Los Angeles International Film Festival, with commentary by the film reviewing staff. Information: (213) 466-1767. Highly Recommended: "NOUVELLE VAGUE"(France-Switzerland; director Jean-Luc Godard; Nuart, 7 p.m.). Godard's latest, a romance of high finance at a Swiss estate where an unlikely intruder (Alain Delon) acts as catalyst for a group of jet-set corporate movers.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 26, 1988 | Stacy Jenel Smith
Ty Randolph had the leading female role in Cannon Films' "Penitentiary III," but her name appears near the bottom of the credits--while the wife of director/co-producer Jamaa Fanaka, who has a brief bit, gets top female billing! Thus, maintains Randolph, Marie Burrell Fanaka has gotten credit for Randolph's work--and she has taken her complaint to the Screen Actors Guild. "Jamaa didn't want me," said Randolph, who was hired by star-co-producer Leon Isaac Kennedy.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 1991 | Compiled by Michael Wilmington
Following are The Times' recommendations for today's schedule of the American Film Institute Los Angeles International Film Festival, with commentary by the film reviewing staff. Information: (213) 466-1767. Highly Recommended: "NOUVELLE VAGUE"(France-Switzerland; director Jean-Luc Godard; Nuart, 7 p.m.). Godard's latest, a romance of high finance at a Swiss estate where an unlikely intruder (Alain Delon) acts as catalyst for a group of jet-set corporate movers.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 30, 1990
While the best directors are being forced (a multimillion-dollar fee is quite considerable duress) into the vast arena of high-tech filmmaking, Third World movie makers find it perennially difficult to fund any project at all ("Blacks in Hollywood: We Need to Help One Another . . ." by Jim Brown, and " 'RoboCop 2': Entertainment, Yes, but Also a Hero for Our Times" by Irvin Kershner, Counterpunch, July 16). What we have in common is that we are now both facing new arenas. High-tech is certainly recent ground for all filmmakers, and for us African-Americans, all areas of filmmaking are relatively new, whether high-tech, low-tech or no-tech.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 13, 1988 | KEVIN THOMAS, Times Staff Writer
Within the first few minutes of the raw and dynamic "Penitentiary III" (citywide), writer-director Jamaa Fanaka deftly maneuvers boxer Too Sweet Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy) back into prison. Having been slipped a mind-bending strength-enhancing drug during a match, Too Sweet gets three years for manslaughter after having slugged his opponent to death. It seems that the epicene villain Serenghetti (Anthony Geary) wants Too Sweet back in the slammer so he can become part of his stable of boxers.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 6, 1987 | Todd David Schwartz
Leon Isaac Kennedy just can't get out from behind those bars. The producer-star of the "Penitentiary" series, including "Penitentiary III," now playing in NYC (no dates yet for L.A.), acknowledged, "I've spent one-third of my professional life incarcerated." Which is why, originally, Kennedy didn't plan on doing a "IV." But then . . . after viewing "III" "for about the 25th time," Kennedy said that he and writer/director Jamaa Fanaka had a change of heart about how to end this installment.
BUSINESS
December 2, 1999 | From Bloomberg News
A black film director's race-discrimination lawsuit against the major film studios and television networks will continue after an appellate court reversed a district court's decision to dismiss the case. Jamaa Fanaka sued the film and TV companies after they decided not to hire him as a director. A separate district court decision to dismiss a similar suit brought by Fanaka against the Directors Guild of America was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 30, 1990
While the best directors are being forced (a multimillion-dollar fee is quite considerable duress) into the vast arena of high-tech filmmaking, Third World movie makers find it perennially difficult to fund any project at all ("Blacks in Hollywood: We Need to Help One Another . . ." by Jim Brown, and " 'RoboCop 2': Entertainment, Yes, but Also a Hero for Our Times" by Irvin Kershner, Counterpunch, July 16). What we have in common is that we are now both facing new arenas. High-tech is certainly recent ground for all filmmakers, and for us African-Americans, all areas of filmmaking are relatively new, whether high-tech, low-tech or no-tech.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 28, 1988 | TAMMY SIMS
Jamaa Fanaka, the writer-producer-director of the prison film "Penitentiary" and its two sequels, said he is tired of having to "reinvent the wheel" every time he wants to make a movie. "I did everything they said it takes to make it in the film industry," said Fanaka, a summa cum laude UCLA film graduate who was proclaimed by one major critic as "a brilliant young black film maker" in 1979. "They said you've got to have a hot film. I had three successful films.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 26, 1988 | Stacy Jenel Smith
Ty Randolph had the leading female role in Cannon Films' "Penitentiary III," but her name appears near the bottom of the credits--while the wife of director/co-producer Jamaa Fanaka, who has a brief bit, gets top female billing! Thus, maintains Randolph, Marie Burrell Fanaka has gotten credit for Randolph's work--and she has taken her complaint to the Screen Actors Guild. "Jamaa didn't want me," said Randolph, who was hired by star-co-producer Leon Isaac Kennedy.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 13, 2011
Tom Holland's "Fright Night" Cinefamily at Silent Movie Theatre | L.A. Thursday | 7:30 p.m. | $10 The original 1985 horror comedy with Chris Sarandon as a vampire Jamaa Fanaka's "Penitentiary" Billy Wilder Theater | Westwood Friday | 7:30 p.m. | $9 Fanaka will appear in person at screening of his 1979 prison drama Roberto Rossellini's "Rome, Open City" Billy Wilder Theater | Westwood ...
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