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Photos by Daerae Media Group

(ATLANTA) – The 2018 Black Women Film Network Summit was nothing short of amazing! A record 300+ participants attended the Summit, marking a historic year for BWFN.

On Friday, March 9, the Summit kicked off at Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema with an Opening Night screening of Ava DuVernay’s visually stunning A Wrinkle in Time. Then on Saturday, March 10, the full day of seminars and classes took place at Atlanta Technical College, where women and men came out in droves to learn from experts on industry topics such as acting, auditioning, comedy, screenwriting, publishing, SAG-AFTRA, pitching scripts to networks, hair/makeup/wardrobe, and protecting your legal work. Later in the day, Georgia House Minority Leader and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams stopped by to share her vision for Georgia and why she wants to be the state’s next governor.

BWFN founder Sheryl Gripper was on hand to announce the recipients of the 2018 BWFN Scholarship. These awards are given to deserving students pursuing careers in film and television. This year’s winners are:

Dorie Cross – Savannah College of Art & Design
Ariel Jones – Lousiana State University
Kayla Parker – Florida A&M University

The Saturday Summit also included the BWFN Short Film Festival, which featured nine shorts written, produced, directed or starring black women. The films were judged by Alexa Harris, Jaunice Sills and Gregg Brown and awards were given out to filmmakers in the following categories:

Best Actor: Keith Douglas – “Broken Branches”
Best Director: Chris Anthony Hamilton – “Broken Branches”
Best Screenplay: “Soul Fire” – Janlatae’ Mullins, writer/director
Best Cinematography: “In The Field” – Tesia Walker, director
Best Editing: “In The Field” – Tesia Walker, director
Audience Award: “Distorted” – Tai Anderson, director
Best in Festival: “Dirty Money” – Ciara Boniface, director

Special thanks to our Summit speakers Cocoa Brown, Jonna Johnson, Zakiya Watson-Caffe, Summer Jackson, Georgia Dawkins, Keenyah Hill, Gocha Hawkins, Mauricia Grant, Denise Tunnell, Adrene Ashford, Rhavynn Drummer, AZ Yeamen, HaJ House, Zane, Francesca Amiker and Ruth T. Paul.

Additional thanks to our sponsors Atlanta Technical College, HBO, 11Alive and Oz Magazine.

Finally, 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 director Mercedez Springer, Summit coordinator Natana Denzmore, BWFN Board Members Tomika DePriest, Deidre McDonald, Jaunice Sills, Donna Lowry, Ronda Penrice, Alexa Harris, and Lisa Wright; Film Guild Members Denise Armstrong, Tish Glover, Veda Mcneal-Wright, Hattie Lemon, Chelsea Diallo and many others.

Celebrity photographer and disabled Vietnam veteran Jerome Dorn embodies the very definition of resilience. Born in Philadelphia, the fifth of seven children, Dorn stayed focused throughout his youth, eventually obtaining his degree in Criminal Justice. Dorn has worked with the Philadelphia Police Department, Department of Justice, World Wide Detective Agency, and several other high profile security groups. Throughout his successful career, Dorn wrestled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an aftereffect of his military service. Battling the pain and debilitating effect of PTSD, Dorn found comfort behind the camera. Photography proved to be not only therapeutic, but life changing as well. Dorn picked up his first camera in 1970 while serving in Vietnam and knew instantly that behind the lens was where he belonged. His shooting style and photographs were special, generating a buzz in the industry. In 1985, he began his career in photojournalism, working in a variety of genres. Dorn’s credentials include fashion, lifestyle photography, photojournalism, and celebrity/red carpet coverage. Working with MSNBC, Jet Magazine, and major publications in Philadelphia and around the country, Dorn has had the honor of capturing the images of hundreds of notable celebrities and politicians including President Barack Obama, George Bush Jr, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, Rihanna, Snoop Dog, Will Smith, and Tyler Perry. Photography has sent Dorn around the globe, inspiring his passion for civil activism. In 1995, Dorn assembled and led a group of forty-two men to the Million Man March. Together, they spent five days walking from Philadelphia to Washington DC. In his travels, Dorn observed a common theme amongst the youth of the world. Many of the children he encountered seemed lost. Understanding that opportunities for at-risk youth are minimal, Dorn was inspired to make a difference. Established by Dorn in 2011, InDaHouseMedia was built on the idea that there is room in the house for everyone. With InDaHouseMedia, Dorn’s mission is to provide the future generation with positive direction through sports, music, and photography.

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