The Hollywood Black Film Festival 2012
On October 25th, actors and film enthusiasts gathered for the commencement of The Hollywood Black Film Festival, which is one of the most highly recognized film festivals geared towards African American filmmakers. The four-day event consisted of a lineup of films, panels, panelists and festivities that was hosted at the beautiful W hotel with film screenings at the Montalban Theater.
Excitement loomed in the air as actors walked the red carpet on the opening night for the highly anticipated film “Note to Self.” The film centered around a handsome and popular student-athlete who embarks on a journey of self-realization while navigating the choppy waters of a love triangle. The film stars Christian Keyes, LeToya Luckett, Richard T. Jones, Brian McKnight, Eva Marcille, Clifton Powell, Valarie Pettiford, Jason Weaver, Brely Evans, Sebastian Siegal, Willie Taylor, Mishon Ratliff, Brian McKnight, Jr. and more.
Actor Walter Fauntleroy; Producer Veronica Nichols; Producer ND Brown; Tanya Kersey, Founder and Executive Director Hollywood Black Film Festival; Actor Christian Keyes; Actress Brely Evans, Actress Eva Marcille and Director Trey Haley.
After the film, the audience was provided a stellar opportunity to engage in a Q &A with the director, writer and cast of the film. Many bright eyed, industry hopefuls, stood patiently to ask advice about Hollywood and the work ethics required to advance in the industry. Letoya Luckett, actress and former member of the singing group Destiny’s Child, imparted sincere words of wisdom and encouragement to a young lady in the audience actively seeking roles.
It is no secret that there is limited funding and roles for African American film makers and actors in Hollywood. The Hollywood Black Film Festival provides festival goers a series of informative workshops that equips attendees with invaluable knowledge of the film industry. Executive director Tanya Kersey states that the mission of the festival is “access, opportunities and deals” Kersey believes that the festival provides access to content that can’t be found elsewhere, coupled with the opportunity to meet key individuals in the industry and form deals for a successful career.
For the first time ever, the festival offered three dynamic free events to the public. One of the crowd favorites was The Competition Live Staged Reading & Reception hosted by Michael Baisden. The event showcased the staged readings of the 3 finalists’ scripts in the festival’s storyteller Competition, which followed a book signing by event host Michael Baisden.
Singer/Actor Kenny Lattimore; Tanya Kersey, Founder and Executive Director Hollywood Black Film Festival; Radio Host/Author Michael Baisden; and Writer/Director/Producer Don B. Welch.
Throughout the weekend guests buzzed in anticipation for the Faith in Film Event, “A Conversation with Devon Franklin.” The Wells Fargo sponsored affair was widely received by the public that stood patiently in line for the speaker. The Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Preacher took to the stage to uplift and inspire the receptive audience. Franklin sat down for an up-an-close and personal conversation with Tanya Kersey, HBFF Founder/Executive Director to discuss Faith in Films, the secret to successfully balancing life in Hollywood and faith. He also discussed his highly acclaimed book, Produced by Faith (seen on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday), before signing books for fans.
The Hollywood Black Film Festival concluded with the world premiere of 24 Hour Love, which showcased seven stories of everyday people experiencing love, laughter, life and relationships of the heart … the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The film stars Melinda Williams, Tatyana Ali, Keith Robinson, Eva Marcille, Flex Alexander, Chico Benymon, Lynn Whitfield and Darius McCrary.
For more information about the Hollywood Black Film Festival, http://www.hbff.org.
By: Chandia Brennen
Professional Photo Credit: Hiltron Bailey