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USA: 7th Annual Denton Black Film Festival Wraps Up First-Ever Virtual Festival

The annual cultural event offered an impressive 136 films, 30+ workshops, musical performances, art, dance, yoga, and great conversations.

With more films and workshops than ever, the Denton Black Film Festival wrapped up its seventh annual event, offering 136 films, 30+ workshops, musical performances, spoken word, visual art exhibits, dance, and interactive chat forums.

The record-setting number of films – narrative and documentary features, shorts, episodic/web series – were all available video-on-demand from January 27 – February 1st. There was a rich collection of drama, comedy, narrative, animated, and documentary films. Linda Eaddy, director of film programming, and Sarah Hodge, coordinator of film programming along with a team of volunteer judges chose the selections from around the country, Canada, and as far away as Denmark, Finland, and Mozambique.

“When the pandemic hit, we had to do some soul searching,” said Harry Eaddy, the festival’s director. “In the end, our team of volunteers didn’t back off. They embraced the challenge to identify the digital platforms to produce one of the most ambitious, most technologically-advanced festivals we’ve ever had.”

Linda Eaddy added, “I can truly say we offered enough of a variety this year to appeal to anyone’s interest. I know we were ambitious, but I’m thrilled that we’re able to share the works of so many talented filmmakers.”

This year’s featured musical performer was Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield, an award-winning jazz vocalist, musician, and composer from Fort Worth, Texas. The festival also featured a daily morning show highlighting the day’s events hosted by NBC5’s Laura Harris; veteran broadcaster and attorney Dawn Neufeld; and journalist and professor Neil Foote. Events included Social Justice screenings with live-streamed panel discussions; spoken word; poetry; screen dance; virtual yoga classes; and, lounges for festival-goers to engage with each other and special guests.

The DBFF Institute offered one of the most wide-ranging selections of workshops, including kicking off a year-long partnership with Panavision who will collaborate with the Institute to curate a series of workshops that aim to educate, train, and inspire the next generation of Black storytellers. The four-part educational series for 2021 kicked off during the festival, with subsequent workshops to follow quarterly, covering a range of technical and creative topics confronting filmmakers from pre-production through post. Additionally, to continue amplifying the voices of Black artists, DBFFI and Panavision have created Voice x Vision, a social video series that provides a platform to filmmakers who are telling powerful stories related to the Black experience.

This year’s presenting sponsors were NBC5, Panavision, and the City of Denton.

For our Competitive awards, we added several new categories, including the “Best Episodic/Web Series,” and the winners of both the “People’s Choice Original Music Video” and “Collaborative Film Challenge” being voted on by festival-goers. The Institute collaborative project challenged filmmakers to create a short 3–5-minute film, inspired by the theme “We Tell Our Stories.” They could create the film in any genre, format, or style, and with only two weeks, we had four teams come together to create some really dynamic short films.

Here’s a list of the winners, runners ups and honorable mentions.

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURES:

WINNER
The Subject
Director Lanie Zipoy

RUNNER – UP
Vagrant
Director Caleb Ryan

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURES:

WINNER
Black Seeds: The History of Africans in America
Director Bayer Mack

RUNNER – UP
On the Front Line: The Rangers of Gorongosa
Directors James Byrne & Carla Rebai

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Cool Black North
Director Alison Duke

“I’m Just a Layman in Pursuit of Justice” Black Farmers Fight Against USDA
Directors Shoun Hill & Waymon Hinson

BEST NARRATIVE SHORTS:

WINNER
Augustus
Director Jon Alston

RUNNER – UP
Brother
Director Ya’Ke

HONORABLE MENTION
the rage
Directors Aurelien Mathieu & Samir Mokeddem

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORTS:

WINNER
Sawubona
Directors Tyler Dunham & Brendan Calder

RUNNER – UP
death.everything.nothing
Director LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant

HONORABLE MENTION
Finding Elijah
Director Yolanda Johnson-Young

BEST EPISODIC/WEB SERIES:

WINNER
The Pandemic Chronicles
Director Ya’Ke

RUNNER – UP
Therapy
Director Gregg DaCosta

HONORABLE MENTION
The Other Side of Normal
Director Brandon Miree

BEST COLLEGE SHORTS:

WINNER
Misfits
Director Ciani Rey Walker

RUNNER-UP
Run Little Boy
Director Dominick A. D. Bedasse

HONORABLE MENTION
The Walk Home
Director Kendra Brown

BEST TEXAS SHORT:

WINNER
The First Time After
Director Calvin J Walker

RUNNER-UP
Brother
Director Ya’Ke

HONORABLE MENTION
She Had to Ask
Director Tailiah Breon

TEXAS COLLEGE SHORT:

WINNER
The Fregoli Project
Director Samuel Broadous

RUNNER-UP
Ike & Judy
Director Sarah Christine

TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORT:

WINNER
The Perfect Ask
Director Stanley Turner

RUNNER-UP
The Pamphlet
Director Vincent Holloway

HONORABLE MENTION
New Boss
Director Daviah Harrison

People’s Choice Original Music Video (new category)
Monica: An Afro Fantasy
Directors: Keirra Ewah and Ore Aweda

The winner in each category won equipment or money, a trophy, and a certificate:

– Panavision provided a $20,000 camera package to the winners in the Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature categories.

– The Denton Black Film Festival awarded $500 for the Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Episodic/Web Series; $300 for People’s Choice Original Music Video; $250 for Best College Short, Best Texas Short, $200 for Best Texas College Short; and $100 for Best Texas High School Short.

– All runners up received a trophy and certificate, and all honorable mentions received a certificate.

The People Choice Film Awards: Voted on by Festival Goers (new category)

Narrative Feature
Indifferent Enchantment
Director: Samina Najmah

People’s Choice Documentary Feature
“I’m Just a Layman in Pursuit of Justice” Black Farmers Fight Against USDA
Directors: Shoun Hill & Waymon Hinson

People’s Choice Narrative Short
Mr. & Mrs. Ellis
Director: Alan M. Brooks

People’s Choice Documentary Short
Free to Be
Director: Ugenia Stokes

People’s Choice Episodic/Web Series
The Black Experience in America: Past/Present/Future
Directors: Ivory Leonard IV & Diante Thomas

People’s Choice College Student Short
Leave Us Here
Director: Tari Wariebi

People’s Choice Texas Short
The First Time After
Director: Calvin J. Walker

People’s Choice Texas College Short
Ike & Judy
Director: Sarah Christine

People’s Choice Texas High School Short
The Perfect Ask
Director: Stanley Turner

Each People’s Choice Film winner receives a DBFF Award Certificate and Bragging rights.

The DBFF Institute – The Collaborative Short Film Challenge Winners (new category) are:

First Place Winner
District 00
Directors: Oreoluwa Adebo, Ifeoluwa Adebo, Aaron Middlebrooks, & Michael Nguyen
Winners of a $400 dollar cash prize and complimentary VIP passes for each team member to the 2022 Denton Black Film Festival

2nd place
Knights of Elm Street
Directors: Kimani Oletu & Jasmine Doltie
Winners of a $300 dollar cash prize and an All-Access Film passes for each team member to the 2022 Denton Black Film Festival

3rd place
#LoveBlack
Directors: Corrigan Revels and Ivy K. Arnold
Winners of a $200 dollars cash prize and 1 film block voucher to the 2022 Denton Black Film Festival

For more information, contact Neil Foote, Foote Communications, neil@neilfoote.com, 214-448-3765

SOURCE: Black News

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