Black Film Fest issues call

Inaugural event skedded for Feb. 19-21

The Black Hollywood Film Festival is calling for entries for its inaugural outing, to be held Feb. 19-21 in Los Angeles.

A non-profit organization, the fest was set up to help the careers of black directors and writers from the U.S. and Canada through exhibition and competition of their films, and to bring independent works by black filmmakers to Southern California audiences.

The event — to be held at USC’s School of Cinema-Television and in neighboring theaters — will include an invitational program, with out-of-competition theatrical premieres of black filmmakers’ works, including studio and made for cable productions.

Award categories

The fest will also present awards in five categories to be judged by industry executives, academics and filmmakers. The categories include feature-length narrative films or videos; feature-length documentaries on film or video; short film or video; student films or videos; and the Audience Choice Award, to be judged by festival attendees.

Also on the program is a storyteller competition for screenwriters that will provide them with feedback from industry execs and agents.

Director and actor Forest Whitaker will serve as chairman of the festival’s honorary host committee. Whitaker, a USC alumnus, directed “Hope Floats” and “Waiting to Exhale” for Fox and HBO’s “Strapped.” His acting credits include “The Crying Game,” “Phenomenon,” “Ready to Wear” and “Bird.”

Submission deadline

The deadline for submissions for the fest is Sept. 30. Application forms can be obtained by calling Black Talent News, the leading sponsor, at (310) 226-8497 or (310) 348-3944, or by visiting the publication’s Website at Tickets for festival screenings and opening and closing night festivities will be available Jan. 4.

“The School of Cinema-Television is dedicated to opening doors for new filmmakers,” said dean Elizabeth Daley, “and the festival has the potential to do precisely that. It promises to recognize emerging black artists. It can encourage young talents to persist.”

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