by Spencer Moon
- This is the third year for Atlanta's Independent Black Film
- The festival was held March 12-19, 2006.
- Screened nearly 60 films
- There was a four to one ratio of narrative to documentary films.
- There was a three to one ratio of shorts (less than 60 minutes)
- More than a dozen awards were given including several audience-voted
- Over a dozen panels were held.
Opening night film was Tsotsi from South Africa,
the 2005 Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Film. The film is
based on a novel by Athol Fugard. Written and directed by Gavin
Hood. After the festival, I spoke to a friend who attended this
opening night screening, which was sold out. Later, in talking to
them about the film they thought it was a documentary and said they
did not like it. For me that proves that the filmmakers have you
riveted with the images and ideas in this fiction work, much like
a compelling documentary.
Black Wheels. In conjunction with several new festival
sponsors including NASCAR as part of their "Fast Car Week,"
the festival screened a documentary titled Black Wheels. This 90
minute-film is from executive producer Tim Reid's Virginia based
New Millennium Studios. Reid also narrated the film. The film chronicles
the African American involvement in the history of motor sports
in America. The audience of over a hundred young people was treated
to gift bags and were able to view some fast cars in the parking
lot of the Auburn Avenue Research Library where the screening was
held. The film sheds light on many little known black drivers like
Wendell Scott, Charlie Wiggins, Bill Lester and a host of others.
Other notable films included:
Arthur! A celebration of life. 90 minutes. The docudrama
is about the tennis legend, humanitarian, author and world activist
Arthur Ashe. The film features actor, writer, producer and director
Joseph H. James, Jr.
Letter to the President. 90-minute documentary, directed
by Thomas Gibson and produced by Quincy Jones III. America's economic
policy of the last thirty years and the rise of hip hop in the last
decade. Narrated by Snoop Dogg.
Elephant Boy. 30-minute narrative, drama. Based on
the true story of an East Indian crippled beggar and his search
for love and acceptance. Directed by Rene Mohandras.
The Cole Nobody Knows. 26-minute documentary. Produced
and directed by local Atlanta filmmaker, Clay Walker. A loving portrait
of the vocalist/pianist and Atlanta native Freddy Cole.
Quilombo Country. 75 minute-documentary. Produced,
directed and edited by first time filmmaker Leonard Abrams. The
story of the contemporary descendents of African slaves who still
live in their hereditary lands called quilombos (and Angolan word
that means encampments). Today their fight is against, local politicians,
developers and socioeconomic discrimination. The film is a labor
of love shot over twenty weeks over a five year period. It is a
fascinating story of contemporary Brazil and the black Diaspora
experience from an entirely different perspective. Mr. Abrams works
in his day job as a copy editor. Let's hope it doesn't prevent him
from continuing to make films like this one.
Click here for a Q & A interview
with festival Director Asante Addae.