The 10th International Black Film Festival was an exciting week of amazing films, informative panel discussions, and special celebrity guest appearances.
IBFF founder and CEO Hazel Joyner-Smith introduced the first event Wednesday night at Belmont University, Tennessee Talks Back: A Town Hall Meeting. Panelists included Barbara Doyle, chair of the Belmont motion picture department; Nancy Puetz, president of Tennessee Women and Film; Steve Taylor, renowned filmmaker; Melissa Forte, instructor at TSU’s film and TV production program; and Bob Raines, executive director of Tennessee Entertainment Commission. Conversation topics throughout the evening included women and minorities in film, what innovations are on the horizon for digital entertainment, and employment opportunities in the Tennessee film industry.
Festivities continued Thursday with competition films, panel discussions, and a special screening. The day began with the Reach Out and Touch: Critical Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Audience panel. Competition films included a variety of topics. The night ended with the screening of The Birth of a Nation, followed by an informative Q & A panel with Hazel Joyner-Smith, Founder and CEO of The International Black Film Festival; Phylicia Fant, VP of Publicity and Lifestyle Marketing for Warner Brothers Records; Ruth Paul, senior business representative of SAG AFTRA; Brett Dismuke, owner of So Chi Entertainment; Erica Gilmore, adjunct professor at Fisk University and councilwoman of the Metro Nashville Council. Conversation topics included what people can learn and take away from the film, how the story of that insurrection is reflected in society today, and how not all black films are given equal opportunities within the film industry and how IBFF is a great opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their talent.
Friday began with a spotlight discussion with director David E. Talbert at TSU, who shared his insights on the film industry with attentive students and faculty. Festivities moved over to Opryland Hotel for several other informative panel discussions and screenings of competition films.
Panels featured not only information about films, but also tied in discussions about selecting the right music for films. Talbert discussed his upcoming feature release Almost Christmas and shared an exclusive sneak peek.
Hit film and TV star Lamman Rucker discussed his highly anticipated upcoming release Service to Man, and shared insights and advice with interested filmmakers and fans. Another highlight was the screening of Get in the Way: The Journey of John Lewis, a riveting portrayal of the respected legislator and statesman’s personal journey of courage, searing disappointments and hard-won triumphs, as over the decades he inspires others to stand up and Get in the Way.
Films screened Saturday featured something for everyone, including the zombie apocalypse movie One Last Sunset Redux, the battle against racism in Black Gold: America Is Still The Place, and ostracization within the black community in Not Black Enough. “The Imagine Me Children’s Program” featured kid favorites The Boots, The Good Dinosaur, and Fanny Fun Cats.
Actor Cory Hardrict and Director Qasim Basir made a special red carpet appearance in support of film festival favorite Destined. 9th Wonder was a fan favorite on the red carpet in support his new film The Hip-Hop Fellow.
And the award goes to: Winners at the 10th International Black Film Festival
Best Long Feature- Destined – Directed by: Quasim Basir & Service to Man – Directed by: Aaron Greer & Set H Panitch
Best Short Feature- Sister in the Brotherhood – Directed by: Dawn Jones Redstone
Best Long Documen-tary- Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith – Directed By: Jesse Nesser
Best Short Documen-tary – Soy Cubana – Directed by: Jeremy Ungar
Best Animation- Fanny Fun Facts – Directed by: Debra Azemar
Best Children’s Film – The Boots – Directed by: Leah Cohen-Mays
Best of Tennessee – Hidden Admiration – Directed by: Roderic Putnam & Brian Wellman
Audience’s Choice – Mafietta: Rise of a Female Boss – Directed by: Damon Dash
Best International Film – The Storyteller – Directed by: Alex Emanuel & Soy Cubana – Directed by: Jeremy Ungar
Best Faith Based Film – Marcus – Directed by: Kevin Brooks
Founders Award – The Last Ride: A Philadelphia Story – Directed by: Lamar Mcphereson
Honorable Mention – A Chosen Vessel – Directed by: Braxton Joy