‘Naked Acts’ 4K Restoration Trailer: Ron Cephas Jones Confronts the Trauma of Femininity in a Classic Work of Black Independent Film

Just as the merits of sex scenes are being debated and intimacy coordinators are becoming production necessities, Bridgett M. Davis’ boundary-breaking “Naked Acts” is landing a timely re-release.

“Naked Acts” first debuted in 1996 but was never widely available to audiences in theaters. Now, courtesy of Kino Lorber, Milestone Films, and legendary filmmaker Julie Dash, a 4K restoration of “Naked Acts” will play in cinemas nationwide.

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The feature is written and directed by Bridgett M. Davis, and centers on twenty-something aspiring actress Cece (Jake-Ann Jones) who lands her first leading role in a low-budget independent film. The only catch? The part requires a nude scene. Cece is forced to confront her shelved trauma of surviving sexual assault, her life-long body image issues, and even her relationship with her mother, who was a famous Blaxploitation star known for her sex appeal. Late Emmy winner Ron Cephas Jones stars as Cece’s supportive boyfriend Joel who tries to help her get past her fears.

“Naked Acts” was included in the seminal anthology “The 50 Most Influential Black Films” by S. Torriano Berry, and is celebrated as a quintessential film in the canon of Black independent cinema. The feature has been digitally restored and remastered by Lightbox Film Center in collaboration with Milestone Films. Black Film Archive creator Maya Cade served as the creative consultant for the restoration, which used 16mm A/B rolls preserved at the Indiana University Black Film Center & Archive.

Writer/director Davis cited Kathleen Collins’ “Losing Ground” as a direct influence for “Naked Acts” at the time. “Naked Acts” will have a special screening June 6 at Film Forum in New York City, with Davis in attendance.

“Daughters of the Dust” director Dash formally presents the re-release and restoration of “Naked Acts.” Dash’s history-making “Daughters of the Dust” received its own restoration and theatrical re-release in 2016. Dash announced her sophomore feature in 2019, almost 30 years since the release of her directorial debut. Dash was slated to direct a biopic about Civil Rights activist Angela Davis.

The 4K restoration of “Naked Acts” premieres at BAM Rose Cinemas June 14, with a national expansion to follow from Kino Lorber and Milestone Films. Check out the trailer below.

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