55 pix in mix at Urbanworld fest

Nine world preems, 28 shorts among projects to screen

The seventh annual Urbanworld film fest will unspool in Gotham from Sept. 17-21.

Fest will screen 55 pics, including nine world preems, that seek to redefine and enhance the role of minority films in contemporary cinema.

Highlights in the feature category include Kenneth Johnson’s “Jesse’s Closet,” about a young man who discovers his biological father is gay and HIV-positive; Jean Claude La Marre’s female Western “Gang of Roses,” featuring Lil’ Kim, Stacey Dash and Macy Gray; and “CutThroat Alley,” Timothy Wayne Folsom’s urban satirical thriller.

Twenty-eight shorts are competing, including Noel Rustia’s animated pic “The Bootyguard,” Jeremy Rall’s “Keys of Life” and Rod Gailes OBC’s “pharoah jones.”

Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer’s “Brother Outsider,” about gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, leads the doc category.

Urbanworld Fest was founded by former Miramax and October Films exec Stacy Spikes and is presented by HBO.