800+ BLACK WOMEN CREATIVES CONVENE IN ATLANTA FOR THREE-DAY BWFN SUMMIT
(ATLANTA) – March 12, 2019 – This past weekend, the 2019 Black Women Film Network Summit – sponsored by Georgia Power, HBO, Atlanta Technical College and Oz Magazine – took place in Atlanta and drew a record 800+ attendees from all over the country, making this the largest Summit in BWFN history. The event kicked off on Thursday at the Georgia Power corporate headquarters with an invitation-only Welcome Reception and Scholarship Awards Presentation, where BWFN founder Sheryl Gripper announced the three college students who each received $1,000 scholarships to further their pursuits in film and television: * Kayla Jones – Georgia State University* Morgan Johnson – Baylor University* Amberlin McCormick – UNC Charlotte
The Welcome Reception also featured an insightful discussion with award-winning director Deborah Riley Draper, who shared wisdom gained from her research as director of Versailles ’73 and Olympic Pride, American Prejudice. The Q&A was moderated by BWFN Board Member Jaunice Sills McSwain. Draper penned and will direct her upcoming film adaptation Coffee Will Make You Black, produced by Octavia Spencer and Gabrielle Union, who also stars in the film.
We celebrated International Women’s Day on Friday with theBWFN Short Film Festival sponsored by HBO at the World of Coca-Cola Theater. Seven incredible films were screened – all selected out of 104 entries from Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada and the U.S. Flight– the story of an inner city youth in Jamaica who dreams of flying to the moon – took home “Best Screenplay,” “Audience Award” and “Best in Festival.” First-time writer/director Kia Moses, producer Tashara-Lee Johnson and cinematographerGabrielle Blackwood traveled all the way from Jamaica to the Summit to present their film. As “Best in Festival” winners, they received a $1,000 cash prize and a meeting with HBO executives. The full list of BWFN Short Film Festival winners is below:
* Best Actor – Raney Branch, Black Girls Guide to Fertility (directed by Crystle Roberson)
* Best Director – Kelly Kali, Lalo’s House
* Best Screenplay – Flight (directed by Kia Moses and Adrian McDonald)
* Best Cinematography – Novella (directed by Terayle Hill)
* Best Editing – Utopia (directed by Aimiende Negbenebor Sela)* Audience Award – Flight* Best in Festival – Flight Additional festival selections were The Check List (directed by Bobby Huntley; written by Kaye Singleton), Oath Bound (directed by Ola Laniyan) and The Cure (directed by Kristian King). The Summit concluded on Saturday at Atlanta Technical College with a full day of standing-room-only workshops along with the BWFN Book Festival hosted by actress Cocoa Brown. Over a dozen authors shared their stories as writers, including Georgia Dawkins, Niya Brown Matthews, Burma Thomas, Marsalis Higgs, Danielle Tuwano, Carla Miles, Mary Parker, Monyetta Shaw, Jasmine Burke, Simone Edwards, Kiana Dancie, Africa Miranda and Ruth P. Watson. The day also included a special talk-back and screening of the PBS show “A Seat at the Table” hosted by Denene Milner, Monica Pearson and Christine White. Special thanks to our Summit instructors AZ Yeamen, Jonna Johnson, Summer Jackson, Jasmine Adams, Tahira Wright, Lexi Felder, Hope Searcy, Kelvin Myers, Kash Howard, Armani Martin, Breion Moses, Deanna Nowell, Reece Odum, Dennis L.A. White, Alicia Hailey Daniels and Ruth T. Paul. This year’s Summit would not be possible without the tireless dedication of our members, especially Summit executive producer Larry Cooper; BWFN Chair Saptosa Foster; Short Film Festival jurors Mercedez Springer, Jaunice Sills McSwain and Alexa Harris; BWFN Board Members Tomika DePriest, Deidre McDonald, Donna Lowry, Ronda Penrice, Natana Denzmore; BWFN members Denise Armstrong, Tish Glover, Judi Rogers, Veda Mcneal-Wright, Dr. Renita Stamper, Dana Kimbrough and many others.