By Melissa Randle
Atlanta, GA - In its 4th year, the Independent Black Film
Festival (IBFF) once again seeks to provide independent filmmakers
with a platform for artistic expression especially regarding the
depiction of the African American culture. Undoubtedly there are
tons of national and local fests claiming to do the same; however,
according to festival founder, Asante Addae, the singular characteristic
that separates IBFF from other film festivals is its ability to
blend film, music, and broadband technology into one unique experience.
That coupled with the annual draw of international and award winning
films (like last year's screening of the Academy award-winning Best
Foreign Film, Tsotsi) make IBFF one of the premier
fests in the southeast, attracting 4,000 - 6,000 attendees from
around the globe.
5-day festival starts off treating attendees to a Special Premiere
screening of Lionsgate's feature film Pride on March
15 at Landmark Theatres Midtown Arts Cinema. Starring Terrance Howard,
Bernie Mac and Kimberly Elise, the film is inspired by true events
in the life of Jim Ellis who starts a swim team for a group of troubled
teens at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation. Pride is due
for national theatrical release later this month.
Whether you have time to attend the entire festival or a few select
events, there's plenty to choose from and you'll want to bring plenty
of business cards. In addition to daily competition screenings
at the Atlanta Fulton Public Library, beginning on Friday and Saturday,
you'll find industry workshops during the day on acting,
screenwriting, and Movie Magic Budgeting & Scheduling,
as well as the intensive 2-day Director's Bootcamp at Atlantic
Station Studios. Customary festival receptions and filmmaker after
parties will take place during the evening at various locations,
including Fox Sports Grill which will host this year's Filmmaker
Lounge offering attendees a great opportunity to network with other
industry professionals. Another evening highlight is IBFF's Fade
In Awards Gala. The signature event which honors outstanding filmmakers
in the categories of Best Short, Best Feature, Best Documentary
and Best Screenplay will be hosted by actors Meagan Good (Stomp
the Yard) and Ty Hodges (Material Girls) on March 17th at the Carter
Partnered with Comcast this
2007's festival boasts yet another stellar achievement. In a recent
press release, Addae announced that through a joint partnership
with the nation's leading cable provider, Comcast Digital Cable,
the 2007 IBFF Fade In Gala Awards will receive national exposure
when it's added to the network's ON DEMAND programming. Comcast's
Sales and Marketing Manager Kim Beckford was also quoted as stating:
"We are excited to have the opportunity to promote the Independent
Black Film Festival Awards Gala ON DEMAND
it is clear ON DEMAND
is transforming the way people watch TV and that this is the perfect
venue for promoting contemporary world cinema."
Out of nearly 300 submissions, only 43 films were selected to screen
in this year's festival. Here are some of the competing filmmakers
that, as a result of the partnership with Comcast, will now garner
Competing for Best Documentary (partial listing)
RETURN (56m, USA) World Premiere, Dir. By Damani
Baker - Through visits with traditional healers across the African
continent, we experience their ancient healing practices. We journey
with two African Americans as they reconnect their ancestry, and
experience their own spiritual awakenings.
Counting Headz: South Afrika's Sistaz in Hip Hop
(50m, South Africa) North American Premiere,
Dir. Erin Offer & Vusi Magubane - Is there a contradiction of
values between African cultures and hip hop culture, mc Chi asks.
Is it possible to reconcile the two? Her question threads together
the obstacles encountered by fellow sistaz.
Let Us Build Together (72m, USA)
Southeast Premiere, Dir. Scott Macklin
Although banned in 1994, apartheid is still a reality in South Africa
today. This film highlights the current role that activism is playing
in the rebuilding of a nation that has been physically and psychologically
scarred. The youth who have inherited South Africa are using their
cultural voices as instruments of change.
Competing for Best Short
A DIFFERENT LIGHT (21m, USA) World Premiere
Dir. K. Marie Walters- Some Wounds Heal. Others Last Forever. Misty
and Jamal Law's marriage has reached a crossroad. She seeks advice
from her mother after a violent encounter and decides to leave him.
Upon doing so, Misty is
confronted by Jamal and their love is put to the final test.
Pop Foul (19m, USA) Atlanta Premiere, dir. Moon Molson
- Winner of the 2006 Student Academy Award and the 2006 HBO Short
Film Award at ABFF. A boy sees his father attacked by a local thug
on the way home from a Little League game and agrees to help hide
the incident from his mother. The series of betrayals that follow,
however, send the boy down his own path of destruction.
Talk (36m, USA) Southeast Premiere, Dir. Michelle Coons
Essence has been dating Maurice for three months and can feel their
sexual chemistry growing. As their relationship evolves, their passion
increases... will Essence have the courage/strength to ask Maurice
to get tested?
"Let's Talk" is a universal message of love that encourages
people to advocate for themselves and their most precious gift:
Magic Cellar (12m, Canada) North American Premiere
Dir Firdaus Kharas - Magic Cellar is the first animated series based
on African culture. The series marks the first time Africa's children
see themselves reflected in an animated series. The series celebrates
Africa's culture and traditions, while promoting reading as exciting
and adventurous. The stories are based on African folktales, partially
collected from interviews conducted with elders in villages across
South Africa. Each episode is a self-contained, animated short.
Tupac is Not Dead! (11m, USA) World Premiere,
Dir. Chad Doreck -
Two best friends lose their jobs when one goes too far.
Can a friendship survive a conspiracy theory?
Stutter (13m, USA) Atlanta Premiere, Dir. By Janice
In this psychological drama, a jilted woman's New Year's Eve gets
upside down after she meets a seemingly harmless new guy.
Competing for Best Feature (partial listing)
Rockin' Meera (95m, USA) World Premiere,
Dir Param Gill -- An adventure in love!
A Hip hop comic adventure set in the golden desert which unfolds
in the jaws of a raging tiger, raining bullets and a deadly match
Sophisticated Romance (USA) World Premiere -
Dir. Avril Speaks - Najee and Jasmin are two individuals with their
own separate lives, but they both find themselves at odds with love.
Together, their poetry takes them on a soulful and poetic
journey into the mysterious realm of attraction and what men and
women really want
when it comes to love.
For more information & screening times see www.indieblackfest.org.