The very first African-American Film Festival on the Caribbean island of Barbados, will take place on Memorial Day Weekend, May 22-27, 2002. Managed and organized by Partners, Stephanie Tavares-Rance and Beverly James-Reese, of cobblestonentertainment group, inc., this innovative film festival will showcase the achievements of African-American directors to date, with a look at past and current film releases, and explore the up-and-coming directors of the future.
Featured industry insiders slated to attend are Directors John Singleton and George Tillman, Producer Debra Chase Martin (Disney`s Princess Diaries), Producer/Agent Larry Kennar (Two Can Play That Game, Men of Honor), executives from Showtime Networks, and several other high profile African-Americans in the film industry. Invited panelists include Sanaa Latham, Omar Epps, Nia Long (TBD), and Samuel L. Jackson (TBD).
The festival, sponsored primarily by Showtime Networks, will showcase outstanding African-American films and explore a world of new opportunities in the industry, is the first to be presented on the island of Barbados. It signifies a unique time of change within the film industry, particularly for African-Americans in front of and behind the camera. The festival had sparked a considerable amount of interest from top African-American filmmakers and entertainment companies from around the world. A special highlight during the festival will feature a surprise musical guest performance.
The six-day festival will focus on three main themes—Past, Present and the Future of African-American films. It will also explore key industry topics such as building successful strategic partnerships and short and long-term business strategies necessary for survival.
Highlighting the six-day agenda will be guest speakers from Showtime Networks, Director, Writer and Actors` Workshops, Parties, Networking Sessions, Musical Guests, Screenings, and a seminar on “New Perspectives For A New Age—Digital Filmmaking Fact or Fiction?”, presented by Producer and Director Monty Ross, who made his debut in Spike Lee`s award winning film “Joe`s Bed-Stuy Barbershop, We Cut Heads” in 1982.
During the panel sessions, attendees will also get a chance to participate in the “Chat Session With Women In Film,” which will be conducted by Kisha Cameron of Empower Media, Angela Northington of UrbanEntertainment.com, Roni Wheeler of the Directors Guild of America, and Lajoyce Brookshire, the author of Soul Food.
A men`s panel session is being formed with Producer/Agent, Larry Kennar, Directors John Singleton and George Tillman.
There`s plenty of island fun and liming in the schedule, too, with social events like a tropical cookout, midnight cruise, a south coast street party, and a beach soirée. The opening-night reception party will feature big pan sounds with dancing to a local Barbados steel band.
Given the nature of African-Americans in the film industry, one of cobblestonentertainment`s commitments, is to create an atmosphere that is both fun and educational for everyone involved. Participants in this festival should come away with much needed information to boost and further their film careers.