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14th Annual Peachtree Village Intl Film Festival Honors Living Legends Lou Gossett Jr., Bill Duke and Michael Wright


14th Annual Peachtree Village Intl Film Festival Honors Living Legends Lou Gossett Jr., Bill Duke and Michael Wright

Leslie J Cooper

14 years in the making, and still going, the Peachtree Village International Film Festival, most commonly known as PVIFF. Actor Carl Payne – noted for his comedic talents on the TV show, “Martin”, Carl said that the name was too long, and joked about it being PVIFF, Founders, Len Gibson, also CEO, and James Jb Brown, had previously adopted the acronym. I was present at this event, I think that it was 2010 at the time, and the same as my initial experience attending PVIFF, throughout the years,
it continues to bring together film creators and multi-genre artists in the industry of entertainment to celebrate, educate, network, reward, and promote their visions.

This year’s event is unique with multiple legend highlights all in one weekend, an amazing occasion, to say the least. It is rare that you will have iconic Hollywood, and now Atlanta, industry talent like Bill Duke, who is on the CW show, “Black Lightening”, Lou Gossett Jr., who is on the HBO show, “The Watchmen”, along with Michael Wright, who played, Eddie King in
the hit movie, “The Five Heartbeats”, and is also on the CW show, “Black Lightening”– all gathering at the same time and place off of a film or TV set – out to share their experience, educate actors, and greet fans, at a film festival. These gentlemen were not the only industry notables, making an impactful showing, garnering much attention from his new show on EPIX,
“The Godfather of Harlem”, starring Producer/Actor Forrest Whittaker, Producer and Actor Markuann Smith, screened the first episode of his new show, with a Q & A afterwards, moderated by PVIFF CEO, Len Gibson. The show’s first episode left the audience wanting to see the entire series, check out EPIX to see it.

Opening night, PVIFF feature film, PRODIGAL, stars Actor Clifton Powell — with many Atlanta based actors – a great start for the weekend long events. Following opening night fothe weekend long event, were independent film screenings, workshops for filmmakers, anactors. Two popular ones, the “Master Class” for Actors, this year Actor, Michael Wright,
taught the class, sharing his skills with actors. The “Cast Me If You Can” workshop panel featured actors and producers: Jason Louder, of “Black Lightening”, Markuann Smith, Producer/Actor, of “The Godfather of Harlem, Actor Louis Stancil, and Proprietor of Denni Felder Acting Studio, (DFAS), Actor, Tray Chaney of “Saints & Sinners”, Producer/Actor, Susan
Reed, “Ambitions”, “Have & “Have Nots”, Actor, Kwajalyn Brown, “Cobra Kai”, and Ruth Paul of SAG-AFTRA, the panel was moderated by Atlanta Casting Director, Leslie M. Greene of RTSE much knowledge was shared in this candid session.

Culminating the festival is the PVIFF Gala, a Red-Carpet event, celebrating and giving award recognition to filmmakers, actors, and community activists. This year, seen on the carpet was noted Atlanta activists — also seen in some Film and TV productions — Elisabeth Williams-Omilami and Afemo Omilami‎, noted for their civic work in human rights and philanthropy with their “Hosea Feed The Hungry” program, helping disenfranchised people have food and shelter.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Actress, Moneca Reid. In addition to awards for filmmakers in multiple categories, a special award was given to Documentar Filmmaker/Producer/Journalist, Karla Winfrey of, for her prolific work in multi-media. Founders Len Gibson, and James Jb Brown, do a great job of bringing people
together to learn, celebrate, and enjoy each other across genres and backgrounds, creating an environment of family. Looking forward to next year’s festival already!

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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