Did you ever get the sense that something was a long time coming and yet right on time? That’s just how I felt at this February’s New Voices In Black Cinema Festival presented by ActNow Foundation In Conjunction with BAMcinematek Council Member Letitia James.
For years, the ActNow Foundation has been producing film screenings — going back to the ever-fabulous club/lounge NY Perks on Smith Street in Cobble Hill — as well as plays, monologue jams and play writing workshops. I have a soft spot for ActNow, because they have consistently supported my work and that of up-and-coming black filmmakers. It’s good to see them get the support they deserve in their efforts!
Audiences came in droves to the 5-day Festival, selling out the screenings and filling the venues with an array of receptions, mixers and performances. With support from Councilwoman James and sponsorship from Shadow and Act, Brooklyn Web Studios, Wellington Hair Spa, Cinematic, Water Street Restaurant & Lounge, Alpha Kappa Sorority, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and of course NY Perks, plus more, the New Voices In Black Cinema Festival was quite a showcase.
Films included: Black August (2007) by dream hampton, Coming Back for More (2009) by Willem Alkema, Heart of Stone (2009) by Beth Toni Kruvant, I Will Follow (2010) by Ava DuVernay, Money Matters (2010) by Ryan Richmond, Night Catches Us (2010) directed by Tanya Hamilton and starring Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington, SUS (2010) by Robert Heath, and New Black Classics selection Chameleon Street (1990) directed by and starring Wendell B. Harris.
The short films section showcased works by Shani Peters, Michael “Boogie” Pinckney, Cinque Northern, Curtis Caesar John, Anthony Calypso and Terrance Nance.
Many of the filmmakers held Q&A’s including Night Catches Us’ Hamilton, as well as Dutch filmmaker Alkema and the United Kingdom’s Clint Dyer, star and producer of SUS, who came all the way from Holland and England, respectively, to present their films on legendary musician Sly Stone and police brutality in the UK.
The Festival dovetails with ActNow’s past and present work. As described by ActNow, it is “an extension of ActNow’s ongoing screening series at BAMcinèmatek, which in summer of 2010 premiered Idris Elba & Thomas Ikimi’s festival hit Legacy and in 2009 showed the stirring documentary on soul music legend Bill Withers, Still Bill. This continues ActNow’s mission of giving independent filmmakers the opportunity to present their stories to audiences on a grand scale.”
Shout out to Aaron Ingram and the ActNow team. ActNow is doing big things. Much congrats!