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‘Harriet’ to Open 2019 Urbanworld Film Festival

The lineup for the 23rd annual Urbanworld Film Festival was announced Friday, with Tony-award winning broadway actor Cynthia Erivo and Emmy award-winning director Roger Ross Williams making appearances at the event, which is geared towards representing and celebrating diverse, international voices in film, music videos, television, screenplays and shorts.

Director and co-writer Kasi Lemmons will open the festival Sept 18 with her Focus Features biopic “Harriet,” following the influential life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman who led slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. Following the screening, star Erivo, Lemmons and executive producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg will discuss the film with CBS This Morning Saturday’s Michelle Miller moderating. Lemmons is this year’s festival ambassador.

Other notable films include HBO’s documentary “The Apollo,” which features archival footage to chronicle the history of Harlem’s landmark venue the Apollo Theater. A Q&A with director Williams and producer Lisa Cortes will immediately follow.

BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios will also debut “First Wives Club,” one of their first series released through the new BET Plus video-on-demand service. The lineup also includes a screening of “Just Mercy,” a look into the true story of Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), a Harvard-educated lawyer who defends the wrongfully convicted in Alabama. A discussion with Stevenson will round out the presentation.

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“Each year we strive to expand our programming slate to expose stories, themes and characters that have been under-represented in our world. This year is no exception,” said Gabrielle Glore, festival director and head of programming. “What is most exciting to see is the continued elevation of quality manifested across our content creators’ work, as we celebrate their creativity and craft.”

The festival will run from Sept 18 through 22 in Manhattan. Click here to purchase passes and tickets for “Urbanworld.”

Following is a complete list of the festival’s slate.


“All Rise” – Directed by Anthony Mandler (Presented by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures)
“Black and Blue” – Directed by Deon Taylor (Presented by Screen Gems)
“First Wives Club” – Executive Produced by Tracy Oliver (Presented by BET+)
“Harriet” – Directed by Kasi Lemmons (Presented by Focus Features)
“Just Mercy” – Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Presented by Warner Bros.)
“mixed-ish” – Created by Kenya Barris and Peter Saji (ABC Studios)
“The Apollo” – Directed by Roger Ross Williams (Presented by HBO)


“#Truth – Directed by Charles Murray (New York Premiere)
“BOY GENIUS” – Directed by Bridget Stokes
“Vandal” – Directed by Jose Daniel Freixas (New York Premiere)
“DC Noir” – Directed by George Pelecanos, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Nick Pelecanos, and Stephen Kinigopoulos
“If Not Now, When?” – Directed by Meaghan Good and Tamara Bass
“Release” – Directed by Adel L. Morales (World Premiere)
“Same Difference” – Directed by Derege Harding (East Coast Premiere)
“Vandal” – Directed by Jose Daniel Freixas (New York Premiere)
“Yellow Rose” – Directed by Diane Paragas


“By The Name of Tania” (Peru) – Directed by Bénédicte Liénard and Mary Jiménez (East Coast Premiere)
“Desrances” (Burkina Faso) – Directed by Apolline Traoré (U.S. Premiere)
“The Ghost And The House of Truth” (Nigeria) – Directed by Akin Omotoso (World Premiere)
“Honey Bee” (Canada) – Directed by Rama Rau (U.S. Premiere)


“Bakosó: AfroBeats of Cuba” (Cuba) – Directed by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi (New York Premiere)
“Skin” (Nigeria) – Directed by Daniel Etim Effiong (New York Premiere)
“The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion” (U.S.) – Directed by Lisa Cortés and Farah X


“The Birth of Deceit” – Directed by Yaw Agyapong (New York Premiere)


“Ladies Day” – Directed by Abena Taylor-Smith (New York Premiere)
“My Daughter Yoshiko” – Directed by Brian Blum (New York Premiere)
“Street Flame” – Directed by Katherine Propper
“The Truck” – Directed by India McKinney (World Premiere)
“Tree #3” – Directed by Omer Ben-Shachar (New York Premiere)


“{Black title here}” – Directed by Sev DeMy (East Coast Premiere)
“An Anomalous Love” – Directed by Reggie Williams (New York Premiere)
“Angel’s Mirror” – Directed by Cheng Chao (New York Premiere)
“ANNA” – Directed by Dekel Berenson (New York Premiere)
“A Rodeo Film” – Directed by Darius Dawson (New York Premiere)
“Be A Fish” – Directed by Aisha Ford (New York Premiere)
“Brooklyn Park” – Directed by Nikola Duravcevic (East Coast/New York Premiere)
“Cap” – Directed by Marshall Tyler (New York Premiere)
“Dunya’s Day” – Directed by Raed Alsemari
“Empty” – Directed by Cameron Morton
“Feathers” – Directed by A.V. Rockwell
“Final Gift” – Directed by T. J. Kalunga Jones (World Premiere)
“Finding Phoebe” – Directed by Sadé Clacken Joseph (New York Premiere)
“Illegal Rose” – Directed by Deborah Riley Draper (East Coast Premiere)
“Jazz in Wakanda” – Directed by Djaka Souare
“Kapara” – Directed by Steve Hudson (U.S. Premiere)
“MARÍA” – Directed by Zoé Salicrup Junco (U.S. Premiere)
“Message Erased” – Directed by Alain Alfaro (New York Premiere)
“Moving On – A Short Film About Grief” – Directed by Nyasha Hatendi (New York Premiere)
“Mr. Parker” – Directed by Alex Ashe
“Our Home Here” – Directed by Angela Chen
“PICK” – Directed by Alicia K. Harris (World Premiere)
“Retreat” – Directed by Audrey Ellis Fox (East Coast Premiere)
“Ruda” – Directed by Maria Victoria Ponce (East Coast/New York Premiere)
“Seven Mothers” – Directed by Director X
“Skin” – Directed by Guy Nattiv (New York Premiere)
“Something to Live For” – Directed by Adva Reichman (New York Premiere)
“‘Til Death” – Directed by Asha Flowers
“The Night, Unsheltered” – Directed by Iñaki Velásquez (U.S. Premiere)
“Wednesday” – Directed by Daniel Willis (New York Premiere)
“What Bitch?” – Directed by Julian Acosta (East Coast Premiere)
“Wonder” – Directed by Javier Molina (New York Premiere)


“A Great Day In Hip Hop Revisited” – Directed by Nelson George (World Premiere)
“Black Girl Church” – Directed by Marissa Pina, Audrey Williams, Joe Schaefer (New York Premiere)
“Bradford Young: Cinema Is The Weapon” – Directed by Corine Dhondee (New York Premiere)
“WERK! Behind the Ball” – Directed by Fred Brown, Jr. (U.S. Premiere)


“Mice, A Small Story” – Directed by Jade Baillargeault, Nazli Doale, Dimitri James, Quang Daniel La, Morgane Lau, Mélanie Pango, and Manon Pringault (New York Premiere)
“Prizefighter” – Directed by Lyndon J Barrois
“Substance” – Directed by Jamaal Bradley
“The 49th Day” – Directed by Nathan Hong Fisher (World Premiere)
“Unalienable Rights” – Directed by Froi Cuesta


“Brothers from the Suburbs” – Directed by Patrick Wimp (East Coast Premiere)
“Cheer Up, Charlie” – Directed by Carmen LoBue
“Frederick Douglass Boulevard aka Food & Drink Boulevard aka F.D.B.” – Directed by Washington Kirk (World Premiere)
“KING ESTER” – Directed by Dui Jarrod (New York Premiere)
“Sauce” – Directed by Dui Jarrod and Caralene Robinson (New York Premiere)
“Soul City: Grace” – Directed by Chike and Coodie (World Premiere)
“Surina & Mel.” – Directed by Abi Vargese (World Premiere)
“The Right Swipe” – Directed by Justin Casselle (East Coast/New York Premiere)


“BGM” (Featuring Temi Oni) – Directed by Sontenish Myers and Temi Oni
“Convencete” (Featuring Princesa Alba) – Directed by Marialy Rivas (World Premiere)
“Outside” (Featuring Daniel Laurent) – Directed by Jeff Palmer (New York Premiere)
“Soif (Thirst)” (Featuring Ibeyi) – Directed by Mimi Lee (World Premiere)
“Who Are We Now” (Featuring Synacure with Abiodun Oyewole and Baba Donn Babatunde Of The Last Poets.) – Directed by vagabond (World Premiere)


“I’m Not That Girl” – Written By Sundi Lofty
“Midnight In Kansas” – Written By Malik Aziz
“Secret Santa” – Written By Pauline Gray

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