HOLLYWOOD BLACK FILM FESTIVAL CLOSES WITH AWARDS HONORING TALENTED BLACK FILMMAKERS AND SCREENWRITERS DURING 12TH ANNIVERSARY PRESENTATION
This year’s Jury and Audience Choice Awards yielded more than $40,000 in prizes for filmmakers.
(October 31, 2011 – Hollywood, CA) – Filmmakers were honored for their achievements in filmmaking and screenwriting during the Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF) closing night awards presentation held on Sunday, October 30, 2011. This year HBFF screened 51 films in the competition, which took place at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA.
Competing filmmakers and storytellers received prizes valued at more than $40,000 from prize sponsors including Greenhouse Studios, inHollywood, Final Draft, Sony Creative Studios, Glidecam, The Script Broker, and Writer’s Bootcamp.
The HBFF Jury Award for BEST FEATURE FILM went to BILLY, a story about a young journalist who arrives at a retirement home in 1968 to interview Billy, a 94 year old Black man. Billy tells him the story of his eventful life, dating back to his early recollections of a time when he left the United States to move to Northern Canada. He recalls his struggle as a homesteader, the racism he endured, his love of a woman, and his gift of photography. Billy is the story of one man’s search for acceptance. Written by Ernesto Griffith & Winston Washington Moxam and directed by Winston Washington Moxam.
ROCKSTEADY garnered the FEATURE FILM HONORABLE MENTION. Rocksteady is a playful twist on the classic American small town, coming-of-age sports movie. It tells the story of BC Cook, a cocky young street racer of Jamaican-American heritage who dreams escaping his depressed small town in upstate New York, and going to Hollywood to become a famous stunt car driver — but lacks the cash to make his big move. Then one day he hears about an opportunity to race at a local amateur stock car track, where he starts to race with the hope of just making some fast money… but then finds himself on an unexpected ride that ends up changing his life. ROCKSTEADY is a fast and fun, feel good movie with a pulsating Reggae soundtrack and a sunny Jamaican soul. Written by Kevin Shine & Stephen Hays and directed by Mustaphan Khan.
SHORT FILM WINNER was awarded to WOLF CALL written by Rob Underhill & Mike Wiley and directed by Rob Underhill. It is 1956. The previous year, 14-year old Emmett Till from Chicago had gone missing in Money, Mississippi. Later, the boy’s mutilated body was found in a river. William Bradford Huie of Look magazine sits down with the two men acquitted for the boy’s murder, Roy Bryant Jr. and J.W. Milam, to discuss the trial. Not a word had been uttered outside a courtroom by them or their kin, until now…WOLF CALL, the true-story crafted from public record, transports us back to this historic drama that became a lightning rod for moral outrage and pivotal in inspiring a whole generation of young people to commit to social change in the 1950s.
SHORT FILM HONORABLE MENTION was awarded to UNDERGROUND written by Akil DuPont & Aryia Watty and directed by Akil DuPont. A slave story told through song, “Underground” follows Bali, a field slave who plans to escape from his oppressive plantation life after learning that his master is going to sell his young daughter, Emala. Discovering instructions hidden within the lyrics of the Negro Spirituals, Bali finally decides to flee with Emala.A house slave, Dembi, is forced along their perilous journey after trying to convince them that their path is too dangerous. Dembi believes that they will surely be killed if they follow the path of the Underground Railroad. As we join them on their run to freedom, their songs and lyrics carry us along in hopes that the master will never find them and drag them back to a life of servitude.
BURN: THE EVOLUTION OF AN AMERICAN CITY received Jury Award for BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM. Written by Fior Hernandez & Harold Jackson III and directed by Harold Jackson III, Burn: The Evolution of tan American City follows a Filmmaker and a Journalist who set out to tell the story of the little known ‘Worst recorded race riot in American history’, The 1921 Tulsa Oklahoma Race Riot. But are struck by the amazing complexity of what seems to be such a simple place.
DOCUMENTARY FILM HONORABLE MENTION was awarded to writers Christine Acham & Clifford Ward for INFILTRATING HOLLYWOOD: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SPOKE WHO SAT BY THE DOOR, an independent documentary on the controversial and FBI repressed 1973 black film The Spook Who Sat By the Door. Through interviews, with author Sam Greenlee, Berlie Dixon, widow of director Ivan Dixon, Academy Award winning editor Michael Kahn, Melvin Van Peebles several actors from the film, investors, academics, Todd Boyd, Ed Guerrero, and Eric Pierson; archival footage and production documents, Infiltrating Hollywood tells the story of The Spook Who Sat by the Door from its inception as a novel to its release and repression.
Best STUDENT FILM was awarded to writer/director Garen Thomas for THE RISING COST OF COSMETICS, a dark, multi-ethnic socio-comedy in which a teenager, desperate to fit in, is seduced by the (lip) gloss and glamour of one of the popular girls at her new school in Los Angeles
About the HBFF
Recognized as the premiere Black film festival in Hollywood showcasing the best independent films from Black filmmakers, HBFF leads with innovation by delivering top-shelf panels designed to empower filmmakers and expose Black film to diverse audiences right in the heart of the movie capital.
Founded in 1999, The Hollywood Black Film Festival aims to enhance the careers of emerging and established North American filmmakers through a public exhibition, competition program and industry panels. Known amongst the entertainment industry’s powerbrokers as, “The Black Sundance,” the festival brings independent works of accomplished and aspiring black filmmakers to an environment encompassing the mainstream Hollywood community and Southern California film-going audiences. The festival’s goal is to play an integral role in discovering and launching independent films and filmmakers by bringing them to the attention of the industry, press and public.
NBC/Universal, Wells Fargo, Garrett Popcorn, Writers Boot Camp, inHollywood, Syncom Venture Partners, NATPE, NAMIC, Monarch Magazine, RollingOut.com, The Kersey Group, Steed Media Group, Verizon, Angel Face Entertainment, Black Talent News, Sony Creative Studios, RIP Media, Organization of Black Screenwriters, Hollywood Creative Handbook, Final Draft, The Script Broker, Glidecam, Sheer Social, Allen Events, Showbiz Software, Excel A. Sharrief, Attorney at Law, Perfect Success, Lovelei Cosmetics, Iman Cosmetics, Nike, Rene Furterer.