Twenty-fourth annual Reel Black Men’s Short Film Festival It kicks off on Saturday with movies from Charles Burnettand David M. Massey and 19 other black directors. The festival, which will run approximately until August 22, is held each year by the Black Hollywood Education Resource Center. The 21 films shown were from 500 semi-finalists selected from 1,700 entries submitted from around the world.
This year’s lineup is “really great,” said John Forbes, CEO of BHERC. “They are great stories that include drama, horror, romantic comedies, documentaries and science fiction. The content is diverse and tells historical and contemporary, fiction and non-fiction stories. It is compelling in many cases, including the issue of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Panel set for the 11th Annual Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center Festival of Diversity Film for Youth this weekend
Sandra Evers Manley, the president of BHERC, is the former president of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood chapter of the NAACP, and a cousin of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Last year, I became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As part of its ongoing efforts to support young filmmakers, the festival will also include the screening of Blind with Temptation, a film directed by 17-year-old Carston Singleton, an 11th grader at the Academy for Science Leadership in Philadelphia.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.bherc.org
Here is the lineup:
• Charles Burnett, Director. Jonathan Burnett, Producer: After The LockDown: Black In LA, explores how black people in Hollywood have experienced Covid-19 and the social dynamics that make black people more vulnerable to infection with the coronavirus. Via Zoom Charles Burnett, winner of an Honorary Academy Award in 2017, will discuss the film with Debbie Allen (actress, dancer, choreographer, director, and producer); Bill Duke (actor, director, producer); Sheryl Lee Ralph (actress, singer, author, and activist), Aiko Babu (CEO and co-founder of the African Film Festival) and others.
• David M. Massey, Director: Passage – In the year 1600, a village leader in West Africa faces a new challenge that puts his family and village in danger. Massey was nominated for an Academy Award in 1992 for Best Live Action Short Film.
• Dagmawi Abebe, Director/Writer: The Ball Method – Alice Ball, a 23-year-old African-American chemist living in Hawaii in 1915, battles racial and gender barriers to find an effective cure for leprosy.
• Koyo Alexander, director. Dakarai Akil, Writer: America – An African American policeman is involved in the shooting of an unarmed teen.
• Mohamed Bilal, Director/Writer/Producer: The Blue Cave – Ali, a troubled but imaginative boy, has one dream in life: to become a screenwriter. He yearns for a safe place to write screenplays and plunges into the world of his imagination, after being neglected by his mother, brutalized by his stepfather, and bullied by neighborhood gang members. While searching for sanctuary, he discovers a magical cave.
• Andre Campbell, Director: Say My Name – A documentary about Kimberly MacLaine’s artwork. Working for a year and a half, she paints over 33,000 names for non-actors.
• Dr. Thaddeus W. Jones Jr., Director/Writer: The Gazelle – A chance encounter with a stranger awakens a secret that leads to a slow chase.
• Michael McNeill, Director/Writer/Producer, Khalif Kelly, Writer: Package Tracking – A customer wants to track their package using their phone number.
• Joshua Otis Miller, Director/Writer: A Beautiful Thing – A discussion on the way people think of people of color through the eyes of a black person who embodies beauty, success, love, and freedom.
• Frankline Nwochuze, Director: NWEH (A Tree God) – A girl becomes a magnet in her village.
• Richard Beer, Director/Writer/Producer: Uninvited guest – Three white people and a black man enjoy dinner speechless while the police brutally assault a shaggy black man in the front yard.
• Jonathan Rowan, Director/Writer/Producer: Man Down – In the wake of the racially charged shooting of an unarmed teen, an officer of color must decide to stand by the law or seek justice for his community.
• Khaled Sina, Director. Ramesh, Writer: Concrete Rose – Marcus, a recently fired ex-con, is having difficulties integrating into his ever-changing society. He is soon drawn back to his old life, but he meets an elderly woman who welcomes him to work in a garden where he finds redemption and peace.
• Jordan Shanks, Director/Producer: It Will Never Happen Again – chronicling the dramatic removal of Confederate monuments in the former Confederate capital during the 2020 nationwide protests over the police-ignited “Black Lives Matter” killing of George Floyd.
• Kreston C. Singleton, Director/Writer/Producer: Blind With Temptation – A boy who comes across something wonderful has a glaring flaw: Will he be able to resist using it, or will temptation blind him?
• William H. and Social Justice.
• Mitchell Oguise, Director. Joseph Villani, Producer/Writer: The Message – A global speaker preparing to address his audience with a controversial speech. But will he listen or will he lose them completely with his advisors?
• Larry Ulrich, Director/Writer/Producer: I’m Not Special – An 11-year-old with Down Syndrome has the opportunity of a lifetime to participate as an athlete in Special Games. However, while his drug-addicted father struggles with addiction and the demands of parenthood, his athletic future is in jeopardy.
• Lawrence Watford, Director/Writer/Producer: Catarsis – A black woman in mourning confronts an ambitious prosecutor who has refused to prosecute the NYPD officer responsible for her son’s death.
• Gerald Webb, Director/Writer/Producer – $TACK – Unprecedented times force fierce rivals to head to head for the first time in more than a decade to strike a deal for the most expensive substance on earth.