Five weeks ago, I guess I’ve been living under a rock because I’ve never heard of The Oscar Micheaux Film Festival. I happened to be in a (a popular audio app) Clubhouse room called Indie AF hosted by filmmaker and screenwriter Tamieka Briscoe, when I first heard of the Los Angeles-based festival and was invited to attend and celebrate some of our fellow filmmakers who were selected for screening or award nomination. I accepted the invite and bought the RIDEPLAY tv audience with me.
Unfortunate that I did not get to visit every screening due to the lack of time and so many selections but looking forward to covering again for the next one. I was especially proud to see filmmakers represented from the WOCU community in this festival. Below I share my experience in one sentence or less of the films I did get to review.
Highlighted Films Line Up
Mechanic’s Rose Narrative Short
Captivating. Superb acting by Rosalyn Coleman.
(Dir./Writer: Yucef Mayes; Producer: Craig T. Williams) A mother, suffering from a terminal illness, escapes hospice care to make a perilous journey across Newark NJ to attend her son’s graduation.
Parents Narrative Short
Funny and Clever.
(Dir. Eric Dickens; Writer: Clint Coley, Lauren Chanel Allen; Producer: Clint Coley, Monica Boyd) Parents is the story of Isaiah and Alanna who have both given up on the idea of love and marriage and decide, “Shoot, why not just have kids together since we’ll never find love.”
How to Do Sh!t with Guido Gagootz Web Series
Funny as sh!+!!!
(Dir. Adriano Valentini; Writer: Adriano Valentini, Sandro Iocolano) Watch Guido Gaguzzi show you how to do sh!t!
The Pulpit: The Prelude Narrative
Cliff hanging. Looking forward to seeing this feature!
(Dir./Writer: Tosin Morohunfola; Producer: Sam Findlay, Lydia Anderson, Kevin Willmott) When a progressive, midwestern pastor’s life is threatened by extremists, she must answer to a gang of interrogating FBI Agents as she reels from the trauma of terrorism.
Legacy Narrative Short Film
Inspiring. Especially for Entrepreneurs.
Dir. Richmond Obeng; Writer: Jasmine D. Jackson; Producer: Christopher D. Moore, Geno Brooks, Myles Grier) Legacy profiles gentrification, romance and inheritance as Jada Lane faces the complex decision to give up her New York City lifestyle or lose her father’s business and the continuation of his legacy in the community.
Double Play Feature Film
Intense & Suspenseful.
(Dir. Ernest Dickerson; Writer: Evan Jones, Alaric Smeets; Producer: Lisa Cortes, Gregory Elias, Rose Geddes, Yaron Schwartzman) Poverty and wealth are two sides of the same coin in a high stakes game of dominoes, where the players confront their lust, desperation, rage, and remorse with deadly consequences.
Finding Ripley Short Film
Twisting and Scary.
(Dir. Felisha Norman; Producer: Nicci Bates, Felisha Norman) A couple gets caught up in looking for a little girl’s dog, only to find themselves lost in a set up.
Home Soon Narrative Short Film
Americas Reality check leaving me wanting more.
Dir./Writer: Maisha Azadi; Producer: Raquel Scott, Darnell Rhea, April Barnes, Maisha Azadi) Set at the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, a weary mother’s fears and desires for her mentally distressed son’s future hang in the balance while awaiting his arrival home.
Highlighted Festival Events
Career Spotlight discussion with Director and Cinematographer Ernest Dickerson Moderated by Brenda Gilbert Co-founder & President of Bron Studios.
This was an intimate spotlight of the career of Ernest Dickerson who’s many credits include Godfather of Harlem, Juice, Do the Right Thing Do the Right Thing, Walking Dead, Dexter, The Wire, Malcolm X, Eddie Murphy: Raw, Lincoln Heights, The Vampire Diaries and way too many more to name.
Sony Pictures Presents: The Woman King: Clips and Conversations with Tristar Pictures President Nicole Brown and Director Gina Prince-Bythewood.
This presentation was an intimate conversation around the highly anticipated Sony Pictures release, The Woman King starring Viola Davis. The discussion was around how this film went from script to screen, the importance of the story and provided a sneak preview of what audiences will enjoy in the upcoming movie release.
Several filmmakers were awarded for their excellence in the filmmaking space in 37+ categories including Outstanding Short and Outstanding feature sponsored by Panavision. The winners in those categories were $30k winner “Fetish” by Jennifer Zeng & $60k winner “Black as U R” by Michael Rice. But the event was highlighted by the Michael Ajakwe Pioneer of Influence Award received by Director and Cinematographer Ernest Dickerson followed by the Oscar Micheaux Trailblazer of Excellence award presented to Brenda Gilbert, president & co-founder of Bron Studios. Dickerson has exhibited sustained excellence over 4 decades of filmmaking. If you were not in attendance at the award show, then you missed a very inspiring, motivating and memorable speech given by Danita Patterson introducing Brenda Gilbert to receive her award. Gilbert has been a long-time advocate for the advancement of inclusion, equity, and innovation which is not going unnoticed and is a 6-time Oscar winner with over 30+ Oscar additional nominations.
About Oscar Micheaux Film Festival
The Micheaux Film Festival is a BIPOC and multicultural film festival that showcases and celebrates diverse representation in the entertainment and media landscape, while cultivating a dynamic community that gives artists the platform to showcase and tell their unique stories. It is a multicultural film festival that showcases and celebrates diverse stories in the entertainment and media landscape. This year’s event sponsors included the Oprah Winfrey Network, SONY Entertainment, Panavision, Braham Entertainment and The Academy Museum.
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