JUN 25, 2008 02:03PM
FFW Festival Editor writes:
With 119 films and 6 days of deliberation, jury and audience choice award-winners were announced Sunday for the 2008 Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF). Actor-Director Rockmond Dunbar announced the winning films during the festivals invitation-only Filmmaker and Storyteller Awards brunch, held at Life on Wilshire. As a special surprise appearance, arranged by HBFF, producer Will Packer (“This Christmas,” “Stomp the Yard”) stopped by and conducted a Q&A with the invited filmmakers and award-winners.
“We are so pleased to be able to present awards to these filmmakers who have displayed an amazing array of cinematic talent and vision,” said Tanya Kersey, Founder & Executive Director, HBFF. “The 2008 Hollywood Black Film Festival award-winners reflect the full breadth of talent, diversity, and evolution of independent black film.”
"Our filmmakers this year displayed an extraordinary range and depth to their storytelling, and I am pleased to know that HBFF continues to garner a well deserved reputation as being the premiere festival for discovering and showcasing the next generation of talented Black filmmakers,” added Kersey. “We are thrilled how the Hollywood Black Film Festival has continued to grow in attendance, local and national awareness and acclaim from filmmakers, writers and directors.”
Leon Lozano’s feature film SOMETHING IS KILLING TATE took the top audience prize at the 9th Annual Hollywood Black Film Festival. SOMETHING IS KILLING TATE won the HBFF 2008 Audience Choice Award sponsored by Indieflix. In the film, Tate isolates himself in his apartment after surviving a suicide attempt. One by one, the players in his troubled life force him to face the demons of his past. Lozano won a cash prize courtesy of IndieFlix.
In the narrative feature film category, PANMAN, RHYTHM OF THE PALMS, directed by Sander Burger and produced by Ian Vatz, took top honors. THE PANMAN RHYTHM OF THE PALMS tells the story of the rise and fall of the steel drum pan player Harry Daniel. Harry is an icon of the Caribbean whose personal life suffers when he places his music above his family.
STREETBALLERS, written & directed by Matthew Krentz was the honorable mention.
The Short Film winner was THE DOLL, written & directed by Dante James. THE DOLL is set in the early 1900s and tells the story of Tom Taylor, the black proprietor of the Wyandot Hotel barbershop. Taylor’s humanity, his dignity, and his responsibility to family and community are severely challenged when it becomes apparent that he has an opportunity to avenge an injustice that was inflicted on his father decades earlier.
BLOOD OVER A BROKEN PAWN, written & directed by Chadwick Boseman took the short film honorable mention.
Roxana Walker-Canton and Tina Morton’s documentary BELLY OF THE BASIN earned first place honors in the documentary category while KEEPING THE FAITH, written and directed by Bobby Mardis was the honorable mention. BELLY OF THE BASIN asks New Orleans to tell its story through the voices of its ordinary residents. Through individual stories of survivors and volunteers of grassroots organizations, ‘Belly of the Basin’ poses questions about the value of human life in relationship to race, class, gender and politics.
In the student film category, the award was presented to CRENSHAW NIGHTS, written by Greg Navarro and directed by Peter Gelles. KEYS, written & directed by Christopher Babe, was the honorable mention.
OBARA & THE MECHANTS written by Michelle Bodden and directed by Manauvaskar Kublall won in the animation category. REVOLUTION, written by Trevor Parham, directed by Aled Ordu & Stefan Ruenzel won in the music video category.
The filmmaker winners receive prizes courtesy of Apple Final Cut Pro, Backstage, Baseline, Daily Variety, Film Specific, Final Draft, Fuji Film, Hollywood Creative Directory, Indieflix, Showbiz Software, Story Pointe and Writers Boot Camp. In addition to product prizes and in keeping with the festival’s motto: “ACCESS. OPPORTUNITIES. DEALS.” The winners also receive a series of meetings with agents, managers, development, acquisition and distribution executives.
The 1st place winner in the HBFF Storyteller Competition was THE NIGGA written by Derek Lively. In THE NIGGA, an out-of-work Shakespearean actor transforms into a gangsta rapper and becomes a star. 419 written by Michael Ajakwe took 2nd place honors. In 419, a third World Internet scammer tricks an unsuspecting, lonely White American male into falling in love with his Internet alter-ego – a beautiful Nigerian princess – and then convinces the dupe to bring her/him to the United States. 3rd place went to MUDDY WATERS written by Corey Moore. In MUDDY WATERS, A young, opportunistic land agent sets his sights on the biggest promotion of his career by attempting to score a lucrative deal with his estranged, alcoholic father. RUNNIN FROM THE DEVIL written by Travolta Cooper earned the honorable mention.
The Storyteller Competition winners receive product prizes courtesy of Final Draft, Hollywood Creative Directory and Story Pointe and Writers Boot Camp. Their scripts are also distributed to a number of studios and production company executives. The HBFF Storyteller Competition was designed to promote and support new talent and continue the festival’s pledge of creating opportunities for talented black screenwriters. The main goal is to give new screenwriters industry exposure and help introduce them to Hollywood.
“The diverse storytelling styles of this year’s Storyteller Competition semi-finalists is impressive,” said Alexia Ryan, HBFF Storyteller Director. “We are pleased to be able to bring these talented, diverse voices to the attention of Hollywood’s leading talent buyers.”
HBFF 2008 attendees enjoyed a whirlwind of six days hustling to see films, attending panels and workshops at the adjunct Infotainment Conference, and partying into the wee hours of the night.
A special thanks to the official sponsors of the 2008 Hollywood Black Film Festival, who helped sustain the festivals programming for the inspiring filmmakers and artists of today. Sponsors comprise of: 20th Century Fox, Ambi Skincare, Apple iTunes, Kodak and One Village Entertainment. Participating sponsors include the UK Film Council, Daily Variety, Basquiat Vineyards of California, Soft Sheen-Carson, bSide, Codeblack Entertainment, EURweb.com, Hennessy, Bombay Sapphire, Uncle Moki’s, Emerson College, Heineken, Carnivo, HER Energy Drink. The 2008 HBFF prize sponsors are Apple Final Cut Pro, Backstage, Baseline, Film Specific, Final Draft, Fuji Film, Hollywood Creative Directory, Production HU, Showbiz Software, and Writers Boot Camp. Promotional and donor partners include Black Talent News, Black HollywoodUniversity.com, Bleu Entertainment PR, A Juke Join Promotions, Southern Girl Desserts, Tagg Team DJs, Def Jam, and Celebrity Nightlife Publicity.
About the Hollywood Black Film Festival
The Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF), dubbed “The Black Sundance,” is an annual 6-day celebration of black cinema drawing together established and rising filmmakers, popular film and television stars, writers, industry executives, emerging artists and diverse audiences from Southern California and around the world. The festival has become a hotbed for the Black Hollywood creative community. HBFF was founded in 1998 by its executive director, Tanya Kersey, with a mission focused on fostering and developing the vision of independent filmmakers by bringing their films to the attention of the industry, media and public through a public exhibition and competition program. Since its inception, HBFF has screened a total of 596 independent films from all across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean and has hosted 203 world premieres. The festival’s adjunct Infotainment Conference features 20+ panels and workshops and 100+ speakers, and covers a broad range of entertainment industry topics. Over 40,000 people have attended and enjoyed the diversity of Black cinema through the festival. The 2008 festival will be held June 3-8, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California, and will showcase the artistic expression of more than 120 black filmmakers from around the world.
In keeping with its commitment to support the creative community, in addition to the annual film festival, HBFF has created complementary platforms to showcase and develop filmmakers' projects -- the HBFF Cinema Lounge and HBFF Film Finance & Distribution Summit. The HBFF Cinema Lounge is a casual monthly networking and screening program that screens 4 to 5 short films followed by audience feedback and Q&A with the filmmakers. The annual HBFF Film Finance & Distribution Summit boasts a senior roster of seasoned industry professionals offering their insights on a broad range of film finance and distribution topics.
JUN 24, 2008 02:00PM
FFW Festival Editor writes:
SOMETHING IS KILLING TATE, Directed by Leon Lozano wins Melvin Van Peebles Award.
KINGS OF THE EVENING, Directed by Andrew P. Jones is the Audience Favorite
The San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF) celebrated its ten-year anniversary from June 4-8 and June 11-15, 2008. Befitting its milestone status, the theme of this year’s festival was “10 Years, 10 Days, more than 100 Films” as the SFBFF spanned the globe with works from Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.
Ave Montague, SFBFF founder and director commented, “Screening at five venues presented its challenges, at the end of the day we were exhausted but thrilled with the number of new and repeat filmgoers and record breaking box office numbers.”
The festival got a jump start with the annual Urban Kidz Film Series at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Created with young viewers in mind, the annual film series is an offshoot of the San Francisco Black Film Festival and featured a striking assemblage of short and feature films, designed to spark the imaginations of the 5-to-12-year-old set. Audience favorites included The Don of Virgil Jr. High and African Academy Award winner, Do You Believe In Magic?
Opening night kicked off on Wednesday, June 4th with Shoot the Messenger, a funny and sometimes controversial work from Nigerian-born British filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah about a Black British teacher who fights his way out of madness and stops blaming his own people only after losing his job. Our audience loved the film and folks are still talking about it. The opening night festivities continued with a standing room only party at Rasselas Jazz Club. The festival continued with non-stop films, receptions and workshops throughout the historic Fillmore District.
On Saturday, June 14, the first annual Awards Brunch was presented at the posh 1300 on Fillmore restaurant. Owners David Lawrence and Monetta White welcomed the film community as they sipped mimosas and sampled the restaurant’s signature barbeque shrimp, grits, eggs and black-skillet fried chicken prepared by Chef Lawrence.
The Brunch sponsored by PG&E was followed with an awards program acknowledging the best works in screenplay, short, feature, documentary, student and Urban Kidz categories. The first St. Clair Bourne Award was presented for the best documentary. The overall winner received the Melvin Van Peebles Award, which honors an emerging filmmaker with a unique vision, singular style and uncompromising point of view.
Actress Taraji P. Henson (who currently plays attorney Whitney Rome on Boston Legal) received the first-ever Phoenix Award in honor of her swift rise to stardom. Taraji who stole all of our hearts as the pregnant “Shug” in Hustle and Flow and shined opposite Don Cheadle in last year’s Talk to Me, has four major releases approaching in the next few months. They include Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt, Taraji stars opposite Forest Whitaker and Lil’ Wayne in Hurricane Season and opposite Morris Chestnut in Not Easily Broken.
The festival’s closing film was Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams: 1953-2003 directed by Barbara Becnel. The documentary examined death row prisoner, Crips gang co-founder, children's book author, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stanley Tookie Williams.
Here are the winners:
Each winner received a custom made plaque, the winner of the Melvin Van Peebles Award received two round trip tickets to South Africa courtesy of South African Airways.
2008 Melvin Van Peebles Award Winner and Best Feature
Something Is Killing Tate
Director: Leon Lorenzo
(Grand Prize: Round trip to South Africa)
2008 St. Clair Bourne Award Winner for Best Documentary
Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans
Directors Dawn Logsdon and Lolis Eric Elie
Director: Randall Dottin
Director: Christopher Babers
Best Urban Kidz Winner
The Don of Virgil Jr. High
Director: Deon Hayman
Kings of the Evening
Director: Andrew P. Jones
Festival sponsors include: San Francisco Grants For The Arts, Starbucks, Wells Fargo, Rainbow Cooperative and Comcast.