*(Hollywood, CA) – The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC), a nonprofit, public benefit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history, and the future, of blacks in the film and television industries today announced today that the 20th Anniversary edition of the African American Film Festival & Marketplace will take place from December 13th thru 15th, 2013 at Raleigh Studios Hollywood.
Hosting more than 75 films along with special events, this year’s festival will feature a retrospective of films from the past 20 years including the return of the Youth and Health film Shorts and a special panel discussion – the first of a national discussion – on the “State of Black Hollywood.” Opening night – “A Great Day in Black Hollywood”, will honor and pay tribute to the Black Stuntmen of Hollywood in recognition of their significant contributions to Hollywood.
“We are truly honored and blessed to be able to provide a format for emerging African-American and other diverse filmmakers a place to showcase their films. The diversity of these independent films reminds us of the power of great storytelling, acting, writing directing and more. This festival is truly a filmmaker’s festival,” states Sandra Evers-Manly, Founder of the BHERC.
The BHERC began the film festival in 1993 as a result of the Academy Award nomination of “Last Breeze of Summer” by David Maurice Massey a filmmaker and graduate of the American Film Institute in 1992 for Live Action Short Film. He is the first African American to be nominated for a short film of any kind and the film won a Crystal Heart Award. The lack of African Americans in this and other filmmaking categories ignited a desire by Ms. Evers-Manly to create a platform for film shorts by African Americans to be presented on the big screen. Some of the most notable Black film industry professionals such as Fruitvale Stations’ Ryan Coogler (a film currently in theaters nationwide), Reggie Bythewood (Biker Boys) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (the Secret Life of Bees), Kasi Lemmons (Black Nativity), F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator), Michael Schultz (Cooley High), Carl Franklin (Devil in a Blue Dress), the late celebrated director Ivan Dixon and many others have participated in the festival.
BHERC is a nonprofit organization specializing in connecting and building audiences for the film industry. With the understanding that the box office is critical in determining the fate of new films, BHERC founded the First Weekend Club, in March 1997, as a financial advocate for films by and featuring the talents of African- American men and women in front of and behind the cameras, and currently reaches currently reaches over 40,000 nation-wide. Its’ expertise also extends to creating and identifying a vibrant and diverse supply chain of talented film industry professionals and product for both the film industry and the film marketplace.
BHERC sponsors these yearly film festivals Sistas Are Doin’ It for Themselves (a festival for up-and-coming female filmmakers of color); Reel Black Men (a festival for up-and-coming male filmmakers of color) and their major festival the African American Film Marketplace.
The Center’s commitment to the development of future filmmakers – performers, directors, and behind-the- scenes technicians and workers – is realized not only through film festivals but also through innovative educational programs. The Center annually sponsors Artistry in Motion, a seminar led by industry professionals who introduce middle and high school students to the magical world of animation, and workshops that offer inside information about the film and television industries.
For tickets and additional information call 323.957.4656 or log on to www.bherc.org. Tickets are $50.00 for the Opening Celebration, $15.00 per Film Block, $50.00 for a Day Pass, $25.00 for the Closing Celebration and $100.00 for the Weekend Pass.