Click here for the Ravishing Raspberry Press Packet. (Adobe PDF 4.1 mb)


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Interview with"Wonder-Twin Powers Activate!" By John Murph, Staff Writer (April 18, 2007)



Oakland Tribune article Oct, 14, 2003

Oakland black film festival features local twin sisters

By Chauncey Bailey, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND -- Shawnee and Shawnelle Gibbs had to buy another computer for their film production company, Reel Republic, to finish a 10-minute animation project.

"It took us three months," said Shawnee Gibbs. "We wanted it to be short and sweet." Writing, casting, reworking scenes and computer renderings take time.

Now, they are looking forward to showing their work at the 14th annual Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Festival of Film and Video, which opens 7 p.m. Friday at the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St.

On Saturday, the screenings begin 10 a.m. and on Sunday 2 p.m.

There will be 17 works -- short films, animations, documentaries and educational features -- by African-American filmmakers, said Felix Curtis, executive director of Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. "This year we wanted to focus on local directors, like the Gibbs sisters," said Curtis, a software engineer who has worked with the nonprofit more than a decade.

The Gibbs sisters are part of the newest generation of black filmmakers. For many, the glory days for black filmmakers were in the mid-1970s. In 1974 about 25 percent of films made had a black cast or storyline, and that year the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame was formed in Oakland to "illuminate the contributions of African-American filmmakers past, present and future."

The 24-year old twins graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1997, then earned associate arts degrees at Laney College three years ago before graduating from San Francisco State University last year with degrees in cinema.
"(The festival) is important. It gives voices to local filmmakers and it's been around since we were young," said Shawnelle Gibbs.

Like other Bay Area black filmmakers, the Gibbs sisters say they are still frustrated by a lack of financing and distribution contacts that make or break films. However, they are encouraged by the talent in Oakland.

The Gibbs sisters have been teaching animation workshops to local youths and were producers for African Eye, a local cable TV program. On Monday, they returned to Oakland after attending an animation conference in Los Angeles.

Their feature, "Ravishing Raspberry," is about the adventures of 19-year-old Nyesha, the ultimate hip-hop material girl, who decides her life isn't complete until she gets the latest, hot lipstick shade.

A local cast, which worked for free, and a crew include Tonya Powell, Nicole McDaniel-Sims, Daphne O'Neal, Tina Marie Murray, Susie Butler, Clarence Ray Johnson, Mary Ann Todwell, Jacqueline Butler-Drummer, Jae, John Mazyck, Taji Knight and Steven Sena.

"It's a comedic view of mass media's impact on young impressionable minds," says a Reel Republic press packet.

Their film will be shown Saturday at 12:15 p.m.

For more information about the festival, call 465-0804.

Watch the interview. [Quicktime required. ]

Sept. 25, 2003: Shawnee and Shawnelle discuss Ravishing Raspberry and filmmaking in the Oakland area during closing night at the Oakland International Film Festival.

Ravishing Raspberry Press Release

For immediate release

Filmmaking duo levels consumer culture with sweet satire

Emerging filmmakers Shawnee & Shawnelle Gibbs spin consumerism and lipstick in new multimedia animation, Ravishing Raspberry.


Oakland, Ca - The Hip Hop Generation is increasingly becoming one nation under the groove of mass-marketing. It's been said that today's rap hits are little more than thinly veiled product ads. Alarmed by the blatant consumerism at the core of the culture that shaped their formative years, twin sisters and award winning filmmakers Shawnee & Shawnelle Gibbs offer Ravishing Raspberry, a modern-day Aesop's tale with a message tailor-made for today's urban audience.

Ravishing Raspberry, a mixed-media animation merging live-action video with 2D and 3D animation, attempts to prove that the experimental and conventional can coexist. "We wanted this piece to have a very unique look," says Shawnelle.

The film chronicles a night in the life of nineteen-year-old Nyesha, an impressionable young woman low on cash but high on maintenance. "Nyesha represents an extreme version of the young, urban consumer. She'd trade in her own mother for a newer model if she could," says Shawnee. Fresh out of her favorite lipstick, Nyesha attempts to acquire the hottest brand on the market -- Ravishing Raspberry -- leading to the film's humorous conclusion.

"Ravishing Raspberry doesn't try to take itself too seriously. Though we want people to hear our message, we still want them to enjoy the viewing experience," says Shawnee. With scenes that include a salute to 'Homie The Clown,' a talking billboard, and bathroom torture, the sisters serve up a generous helping of comedy along with sizzling social commentary. "Life is all about balance -- we like our work to reflect that," says Shawnelle. "We try to push the envelope with each new project," she adds.

Their latest offering is signed and sealed -- with a Raspberry kiss.



For info contact Shawnee Gibbs (510) 205-6601 or email