The Urbanworld Film Festival Presented by
BET Networks Announces 2011 Festival Slate & Celebrates 15th Anniversary
“Brooklyn Boheme” Selected as Opening Night Film;
“Kinyarwanda” to close festival
NEW YORK, NY (August 24, 2011) – The 15th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival (www.urbanworld.org), presented by BET Networks, announced today that the world premiere of Diane Paragas’ and Nelson George’s Brooklyn Boheme (Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Branford Marsalis, Rosie Perez, Saul Williams) will serve as Opening Night selection for the festival, which will take place September 14-18, 2011 in midtown Manhattan at AMC 34th Street.
BET Networks returns for a fourth year as presenting sponsor along with founding sponsor HBO, who will host the Urbanworld Digital program again this year.
Alrick Brown’s Kinyarwanda, a feature narrative based on the 1994 Rwandan genocide, is the festival’s Closing Night Selection. Kinyarwanda earned the World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and is also the second release (in theatres November 2011) from AFFRM (African American Film Festival Releasing Movement), an Urbanworld partner.
The nation’s largest competitive multicultural film festival, Urbanworld also announced its 2011 official selections for the narrative feature, documentary feature, documentary short, and narrative short categories. The festival will screen 58 films, including 17 world premieres.
Highlights of Urbanworld 2011 include: the Horne Brothers’ The Start of Dreams, a documentary set in the world of Broadway and starring Kenny Leon, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and more; Ty Hodges’ You, Me & the Circus, produced by Omar Epps;Parrish Smith’s The Scroll, a documentary featuring T.D. Jakes, Rev. Al Sharpton, Bishop Eddie Long, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. A.R. Bernard and more; Victoria Mahoney’s Yelling to the Sky, starring Zoe Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe; Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation, a production of Vh1 Rock Docs in association with Prodigious Media; narrated/executive produced by Ice-T and starring Snoop Dogg, Rza, Raekwon, ?uestlove, Too $hort and Chuck D; and the season two premiere of HBO Presents: How to Make It In America, starring Kid Cudi.
In addition, the festival will present the work of five Urbanworld Screenplay Competition finalists in live readings. This private event will be hosted by BET Networks, the sponsor of the screenplay competition category, as well as the 2nd Annual BET / Urbanworld Teleplay competition, both of which deliver a $5,000 prize to the winner. Finalists include: After the Storm written by Cole Wiley; Blackbird written by David Polk; My Heart Skipped a Beat written by R. Shanea Williams; The Divide written by Rashmi Singh; and By My Boot Straps written by Debra Azemar.
“We are proud to enter our 15th year of celebrating the artistry and genius of multicultural films and filmmakers from around the globe,” said Stacy Spikes, founder of Urbanworld. “Once again, BET’s and HBO’s invaluable partnerships will allow us to bring more than 17 world premieres to a national audience.”
“BET Networks is thrilled to support the 15th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival celebrating the amazing creativity and work of such talented filmmakers,” said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks. “This is the leading showcase for multicultural films, many of which connect with our audience, and we applaud the Urbanworld® Foundation Inc. for its continuous leadership in redefining the multicultural roles in the world of film entertainment.”
The Urbanworld® Film Festival is the largest internationally competitive festival of its kind. The five-day festival includes features, documentaries, short films, as well as panel discussions, live staged screenplay readings, and the 2nd Annual Urbanworld® Digital, a 1-day Conference during the festival focused on digital and social media. Over the last fourteen years, Hollywood studios and talent-driven independent films have consistently chosen Urbanworld® to premiere box office and award-winning hits. Urbanworld® has also become home to some of today’s top brands who wish to reach key influencers and media & entertainment leaders across the multicultural landscape. The Urbanworld® Film Festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld® Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes dedicated to redefining the multicultural roles in contemporary cinema, television, and online, by implementing programs and initiatives that support the development of the urban content creation community. Gabrielle Glore serves as Executive Producer of the Urbanworld Film Festival, as well as ancillary Urbanworld Foundation endeavors. For this year’s 2011 festival, BET Networks returns as the Presenting Sponsor. HBO continues support as the Founding Sponsor. Media Sponsors include Vibe, Uptown, BET.com, TheUrbanDaily, Hello Beautiful, Essence, Rolling Out and Carter Magazine. Benefactor Sponsors include AMC Theatres, Directors Guild of America – New York, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. The festival website is http://www.urbanworld.org.
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