MARSHALL Screening at Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
MARSHALL is screening at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival as the opening night film on Tuesday. Sorry, it’s already sold out.
By Hannah LaClaire / firstname.lastname@example.org
Now in its 15th year, the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival ayAfricfestival, which runs Monday through Aug.12, will showcase documentaries, features and short films, the majority of which have been made by and star African Americans, according to organizers.
“Marshall” is about a landmark case in the career of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice. “Detroit” tells the story of three African-American young men who were murdered at a hotel during the Detroit riots in 1967. “Crown Heights” is about a man wrongfully convicted of murder and his friend’s quest to prove his innocence.
These three based-on-real-life movies are just three of more than 50 films that will be featured in this year’s Runshoot Filmworks’ Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival.
Now in its 15th year, the festival, which runs Monday through Aug.12, will showcase documentaries, features and short films, the majority of which have been made by and star African Americans, according to organizers.
When it first began, husband-and-wife team Floyd and Stephanie Rance noticed that Martha’s Vineyard was a “great place for art, film, and culture for the African-American community,” says Kelley Jackson, MVAAFF publicity director.
If you go
What: Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
When: Monday through Aug. 12
Where: Centered at Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center, 100 Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs, unless otherwise noted
Admission: $10-$20, plus various passes and packages available
Tickets and information: mvaaff.com
She referred to the island as “a friendly place for people of color” and said people on the island are typically “really open to all kinds of art.”
The aim was to start just a small film festival, “but it has grown exponentially every year,” Jackson says, with several thousand visitors expected this summer.
One of the festival’s main attractions, and its “signature event,” is the “Color of Conversation” series, which will include a number of moderated talks led by and featuring prominent people in the field, often accompanied by film clips and screenings.
The opening night film, “Marshall,” will screen at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center, 100 Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. After the screening, there will be a conversation with producer Reginald Hudlin (“Django Unchained”).
Director Spike Lee has been a longtime supporter of the festival, and will be there for a few events, including a screening of clips (at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at MVPAC), followed by a conversation about his new show “She’s Gotta Have It,” an episodic adaptation of his 1986 film of the same name.
Lee also directed “Rodney King,” a film of the solo show performed by Roger Guenveur Smith, retracing events during the police beating of Rodney King and the Los Angeles riots of 1992, also known as the “Rodney King Riots.” The event will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at MVPAC.
Spotlight screenings also include the films “Detroit” at 4 p.m. Monday, and “Crown Heights” at 8 p.m. Monday, both at MVPAC.
“The Defiant Ones”, directed by Allen Hughes, is a four-part HBO documentary series chronicling the relationship between rapper/record producer Dr. Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine. The screening of the series (7 p.m. Aug. 11 at MVPAC) will be followed by a conversation with Hughes and Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the Hutchins Center for African African American Research at Harvard University.
The festival will also include a number of films that are finalists for an HBO Film Competition.
There has been a divide present in Hollywood, with people of color feeling like they are largely underrepresented, prompting the recent social media movement #OscarsSoWhite.
This festival is just one attempt to close that gap, Jackson says, but the festival also strives to be 100 percent inclusive of people of all backgrounds and for all types of art. “We are never exclusive,” she adds.
The festival is “not about looking for approval or acceptance, but (Hollywood representation) is like being at a party you weren’t invited to, which is a feeling everyone can relate to,” Jackson says. “We want to celebrate what artists of color have done, and to open doors for them.”