70: San Francisco Black Film Festival
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As we all creep back in from the Memorial Day holiday, The A-List gives you the latest. Welcome, Kidz. Issue # 70
OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
KEYBOARD POWER...It's that time again--time for the BlackWebAwards.com. Last year, the first one ever, pulled in more than 100,000 votes from just under 80 countries, founder O. Linton tells The A-List. The awards highlight the best sites for Blacks. Among the categories are: "Most Important Site for Black People," "Most Original Site," "Best Male/Female Model, Actor or Entertainer Site," and "Best Site to Promote a Black Movie." So, how about putting a nom in for us as best blog? Go to http://www.blackwebawards.com/ and let you fingers do the talking.
GOT A PRO?...Ever wonder why you never seem to see Black experts being interviewed about the topics of the day? And if you do, it's the same folks over and over again. Well, a new online portal is hoping to erase any excuses producers and editors have about not being able to find talking heads of color. DiversityCityMedia has just launched BlackExperts.com. It's an online directory of African-American speakers and experts. There are health, business, relationship, and financial experts as well as motivational speakers, doctors, lawyers. "The site was launched to allow African-American speakers, authors and experts to profile themselves in front of journalists, meeting planners, and themselves. This will help them get media interviews, paid speaking engagements, and more business," says Dante Lee, President/CEO Diversity City Media. "The fact is that you see the same black people (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, T.D. Jakes, etc) on every news channel. You also see the same black speakers speaking at various conferences. This situation will change now that BlackExperts.com exists!" It will cost experts an annual fee to be listed, but says Lee they don't take just anyone. "We do have the right to reject individuals who we feel don't qualify." If BlackExperts.com is a hit we may just see a few new expert faces in the media.
LITERATI ALERT...Get this. There's a new reality show being developed for the literary set--but it won't be on TV. "'The Ultimate Author' is being billed as the first online reality show specifically programmed for the Internet," says Lauren Spicer, Executive Producer, Von Enterprises International, Inc. "I was trying to pitch the show to various networks, but their schedules are full. Most of them noted that they are moving in the direction of putting all of their content on the web. It was logical for us to move in that direction as well. The show will be broadcast on http://www.theultimateauthor.com/. Beginning in the fall of 2008, it will air on UrbanViewTV as well." Now Spicer is set to have an open call for authors on June 16 in Fort Lauderdale for avid readers, aspiring writers, published authors and journalists from every age range and ethnicity who will vie for a book deal. In all there will be eight episodes. Says Spicer, "My goal is to get young people reading and enjoying this form of entertainment. They need to realize that there is more drama between the pages of most books than a one-hour drama on television. I'm hoping that this show will reveal that there is a lot more to authors than men and women behind a computer typing all day. They are vibrant, interesting and exciting people with awesome stories to tell."
CALL FOR ENTRIES...The National Black Programmers Consortium (NBPC) is seeking contemporary films on the African American and African Diaspora experience for the National PBS Schedule. Applications for research and development, production, and post-production are now being accepted at www.nbpc.tv/apply/opencall. Awards range from $1,000 to $80,000. Deadline: June 1st. To find out more about the NBPC, read our profile on them at http://thealistmagzine.blogspot.com/2007/03/59.html.
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Earlier this week, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the nominations for outstanding drama, comedy, variety and children's original programming for broadband, specifically computers, cell phones and other handheld devices. For the first time, the organization teamed with MySpace.com to solicit nominations from the public, resulting in the recognition of independent productions, as well as programs created by traditional TV networks. And it is only the second year the New York-based Academy (NATAS) has honored programs created for high-speed Internet, or broadband, connections. Last year, the first broadband Emmy was awarded to AOL for its 2005 Webcast of the worldwide "Live 8" concert. But the awards are the subject of a dispute between NATAS and the Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which produces the Primetime Emmy Awards. The latter has advocated for a more deliberate approach to honoring Web-based programming, and the disagreement is the subject of a court battle. The awards for broadband programming will be handed out June 14 ceremony, and the Daytime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live on June 15.
BEHIND FESTIVAL SCENES
THE SAN FRANCISCO BLACK FILM FESTIVAL
The San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF) was started with a dollar and a dream. Well actually $3,000. But when Ave Montague realized the void in festivals for African-American films in the city, she got to work and created one. The first African-American festival in San Francisco. That was in 1998. Today, the festival celebrates African-American cinema and the African cultural Diaspora and showcases a diverse collection of films from emerging and established filmmakers. And the goal of SFBFF isn't merely to highlight Black film--it aims to bridge cultural gaps. According to the festival's mission statement: "SFBFF believes film can lead to a better understanding of and communication between, peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while simultaneously serving as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times."
To find out more about how the SFBFF plans to make this--and other things happen--we got the answers from Montague.
The A-List: What prompted the launch on the film festival?
Ave Montague: San Francisco has many ethnic film festivals including Italian, Jewish, Asian even Native American, but there was no Black Film Festival. In 1998 with only $3,000 in funding, I created the San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF) (formerly The Juneteenth Film Festival), which has grown from a one-day event with an audience of 300 to an eight-day cultural celebration drawing several thousand attendees.
AL: What is new for this year?
AM: We’re collaborating with several organizations including the SF International Latino Film Festival, The German Consulate, the Consul General of Ireland and the Black Coalition on AIDS, a film and music conference.
AL: What makes this film festival so unique?
AM: [Just] being in San Francisco.
AM: 84 out of 175 submissions.
AL: Have many deals been brokered the festival?
AM: I don’t know how many deals have been brokered, but several films that have premiered here have been picked up by HBO, Showtime and video distributors. Mateen Kemet, the ONLY Black finalist "On The Lot" is a member of the SFBFF Advisory Board. He premiered his film, Silence, at the festival four years ago.
AL: How would you describe the overall vibe of the festival?
AM: Young, hip, multi-ethnic, lots of energy. We draw real serious film buffs. San Francisco is the #5 film market in the United States. Film festivals are serious business. It's not about glitz and glamour. If a celebrity is involved, great, but it's not necessary.
AL: What advise would you give to filmmakers?
AM: If a festival doesn’t accept your project the first time, don’t feel rejected. Continue to submit projects. Edit, edit, edit. Some films are entirely too long. Less is more. Good marketing materials and a well-written synopsis.
What: The San Francisco Black Film Festival
When: June 7-Jun16
Where: San Francisco