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AAFCA Curates Second Season Open for Revolt TV’s ‘Short and Fresh’ on 2/21

REVOLT TV announces an all-new season of Short & Fresh, a monthly anthology series featuring short films rooted in Hip Hop culture created by a diverse range of rising filmmakers. The network is celebrating its return with a jam-packed episode in partnership with the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), a renowned group of film critics spotlighting black excellence in film. REVOLT and AAFCA collaborated to curate the premiere, which features short films Office SweatsRoyal T-ypeKnow Me So Well, and Drive Slow.

“The mission statement of Short & Fresh has always been to identify and spotlight the next generation of rising filmmakers, so there’s natural synergy with AAFCA, a long-established champion for the film community,” says Jonathyn Pankratz, Vice President of Programming at REVOLT. “We’re excited to partner with AAFCA to shine an even bigger spotlight as our network continues to serve as the platform for emerging talent in the Hip Hop community.”

“Film shorts function as an important ‘testing ground’ for emerging filmmakers, which is why the African American Film Critics Association was thrilled to take part in the discovery of the next-gen talent featured on REVOLT’s Short & Fresh,” says Gil Robertson, President of AAFCA. “It’s been a privilege to witness the start of so many promising careers.”

Featured short films:

  • Office Sweats
    • Director: Artii Smith
    • A young African-American man struggles with character duality issues at the workplace, juggling both being himself and fitting the mold of corporate white America norms without a place for “black” culture.
  • Royal T-ype
    • Director: Kamille Wright
    • A semi-functional schizophrenic man with the skills of Shakespeare holds onto life with his typewriter…until it goes missing.
  • Know Me So Well
    • Director: Starr Nathan
    • When a Brooklyn-dwelling British woman in her late twenties realizes her relationship has run its course, she decides to explore a new romance, sending her on a journey of self-love, regret, and heartbreaking consequences.
  • Drive Slow
    • Director: Terrence Thompson
    • A teenager from the South Side of Chicago tries to finish his college essays. As he struggles to boil down his complex surroundings in 500 words, his friends’ disparate opinions, racist news narratives, and the threat of lingering danger only complicate the process.

The announcement ties into REVOLT’s Black History Month (#BHMX) campaign, featuring a large slate of network and digital premieres throughout February. 

The new season of Short & Fresh debuts on Friday, February 21 at 10PM ET on REVOLT’s television network and REVOLT On Demand, with subsequent new episodes rolling out every month.

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RC talks to Tyler Perry and cast of ‘A Fall from Grace’ (VIDEO)

Check out this past weekend’s edition of UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. It features Stephanie Heydt from the High Museum of Art, AAFCA’s Ed Adams plus Tyler Perry and the ladies of the Netflix movie, A Fall from Grace: Crystal Fox, Bresha Webb and Phylicia Rashad

Curator Stephanie Heydt stopped by to chat about the High Museum’s current exhibition, Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series. The show, which is now in its final weeks, features work from the iconic artist that go back as early as the 1910s all the way to the 1940s and beyond. Stephanie also opens up about an event associated with the exhibition that takes place on 1/25. (Click here for more information). 

Edward Adams from the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is here to chat about this week’s Oscar nominations including snubs and the lack of diversity and inclusion amongst the nominees. 

Closing out the show is my exclusive interview with Tyler Perry and the cast of his new Netflix movie, A Fall from Grace – Crystal Fox, Phylicia Rashad and Bresha Webb. I got a chance to chat with them about their roles and more at the new Tyler Perry Studios.

Listen to the show and watch the full Tyler Perry interview below: 

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The Women of ‘HARRIET’ to Receive ‘2020 Stanley Kramer Social Justice Award’

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and the family of legendary director Stanley Kramer will be honoring the women of Harriet with this year’s AAFCA Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice.

The first-ever big screen film on the iconic Harriet Tubman, who not only escaped her own enslavement, but traveled back frequently to free others, recently crossed $40 million at the box office. Starring Cynthia Erivo as the revered freedom fighter, Harriet, whose other esteemed cast members include Vanessa Bell Calloway, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Omar Dorsey, Clarke Peters and Vondie Curtis Hall, has defied the odds by proving that films about strong women, particularly those of color, can and do resonate widely.

For her performance, Erivo recently received two Golden Globe® nominations including Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and Best Original Song “Stand Up,” which she co-wrote with songwriter Joshuah Brian Campbell.  Most recently, she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award® for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.

In addition to Erivo, her co-honorees include acclaimed Harriet director/co-writer Kasi Lemmons, who enthralled the film world with her searing 1997 debut Eve’s Bayou, as well as producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg. Both producers have a strong body of work which include The Princess Diaries franchise and Beast of No Nations respectively.

Now, in its fourth year, the AAFCA Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice recognizes filmmakers who work in the vein of Kramer who left a robust film legacy of such socially conscious films as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind and Judgment at Nuremberg challenging the critical social issues of the day. 

Previous winners include Quincy Jones, Rob Reiner and Sidney Poitier. Similarly, Harriet star Cynthia Erivo, director/co-writer Kasi Lemmons and producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg created a film that embodies that.

“This is the year of the woman – and no one epitomizes that more than the true story of Harriet Tubman. Her escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s most renowned freedom fighters shows her fierce passion and courage,” shared Kramer’s widow Karen via statement. “The prestigious Stanley Kramer Social Justice Award is presented to Cynthia Erivo and the remarkable director/co-writer Kasi Lemmons and producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg who brought Harriet to life. Thanks to their collective efforts, Erivo’s riveting performance leaves no doubt that Tubman’s contributions go beyond gender and ensure that she will be forever hailed as one of our nation’s MOST important “sheroes.”

The award will be presented on January 22, 2020 during the 11th AAFCA Awards at the Taglyn Complex in Hollywood.

CONGRATS!!

Photo Credit: AAFCA

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AAFCA honors the ‘Movies of Motown’ with TCM (VIDEO)

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) continues its partnership with Turner Classic Movies (TCM) with a special celebration of the films of Motown. Last year the two teamed up to present The Black Experience on Film, putting diversity and inclusion in cinema at the forefront with a month of programming on TCM curated and hosted by AAFCA members. This year, the two have rejoined forces for AAFCA Presents: Motown Productions on October 22, featuring AAFCA member Christopher Witherspoon, who joins TCM host Alicia Malone to screen and discuss the classic Motown films THE LAST DRAGON, LADY SINGS THE BLUES and MAHOGANY.  

“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with Turner Classic Movies showcasing the cinematic universe of Motown,” said AAFCA President/CEO Gil Robertson. “Motown chairman Berry Gordy is a visionary known for creating the soundtrack to American life, but his cinematic contributions are largely unsung, and they shouldn’t be. Fueled by Gordy’s creative genius and bold vision, Motown Productions offered the world a chance to see images of Black life that had never been seen before: a Black Kung Fu master, a Black female model and designer and a timeless biopic of the legendary Billie Holiday that earned Diana Ross an Oscar® nomination. It’s just incredible.” 

“TCM’s mission is to showcase films with context and curation, and we are so pleased the experts at AAFCA are joining us again this year to highlight the importance and originality of Motown Productions, the extension of Gordon’s Motown Records music label,” said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming & production, TCM. “We are proud that this partnership will continue to bring both important programming and a critical perspective to our audiences.”

Check out Ms. Ross’ mesmerizing Lady Sings the Blues performance of “Good Morning Heartache” below:

PHOTO CREDIT: TCM.COM

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AAFCA teams up with Revolt for ‘Short and Fresh’ Series

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Attention all aspiring filmmakers!

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and REVOLT have cooked up something special just for you. The world’s largest group of leading black film critics has partnered with the hip-hop network to spotlight rising young filmmakers in the new series titled Short and Fresh. The bi-monthly show airs Friday’s at 10pm ET.

Each one-hour episode of Short and Fresh provides audiences with a lens into independent urban short films and scripted content across genres from comedy to horror and romance.

To curate this program, AAFCA has issued a call-to-action targeting young creatives whose vision represents hip hop identity within film. Filmmakers interested in having their best work featured on “Short and Fresh” can share links via a portal on aafca.com. Candidates have until Friday, June 30 to enter.

“AAFCA collaborating with REVOLT TV to curate video for ‘Short and Fresh’ fits well into our wheelhouse as an organization that’s dedicated to discovering and nurturing new talent in content creation,” says AAFCA president, Gil Robertson.

“REVOLT is a black-owned multi-platform media company and the leading voice of Hip Hop culture,” says Robyn Lattaker-Johnson, Head of Content and Development at REVOLT. “We’re excited to be working directly with AAFC as experts to identify rising stars in the film space. This next generation of filmmakers spearhead the broader social conversation that moves the culture forward, and REVOLT celebrates those voices. Our lens, our experiences, our stories.” 

Click here to enter!

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AAFCA hosts Celebratory Events in ATL and LA for ‘Women in Cinema’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

In commemoration of Women’s History Month, the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) will present two programs in Los Angeles and Atlanta celebrating women in Hollywood. Both programs will take place on Saturday, March 23.

The Los Angeles program celebrates the career of trailblazing Hollywood producer and creative force Stephanie Allain. Presented in conjunction with American Cinematheque, Allain sits for an enlightening conversation about her Hollywood journey, touching on why she entered the industry, how she helped bring John Singleton’s Boyz-N-the-Hood to the big screen as well as films from Darnell Martin and Robert Rodriguez while working in the studio system, her career as a producer with such films as Hustle & Flow and Dear White People, the impact of women in Hollywood and more. The event, which includes a reception and a special screening of Allain’s latest film, Juanita, starts at 3 p.m. and will be held at the Egyptian Theatre Hollywood (6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028). 

In Atlanta, AAFCA welcomes Madeline Di Nonno, chief executive officer of the Geena David Institute on Gender in Media. In 2004, Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis founded the Institute to work “within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence content creators, marketers and audiences about the importance of eliminating unconscious bias, highlighting gender balance, challenging stereotypes, creating role models and scripting a wide variety of strong female characters in entertainment and media that targets and influences children ages 11 and under.” 

Di Nonno, who oversees the Institute’s strategic direction, research, advocacy work and more, has an extensive media and Hollywood background and has worked in key capacities taking charge of digital content platforms, overseeing global brand marketing, branded franchise development and more for home entertainment and limited theatrical releases and more. Companies for which Di Nonno has worked include Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz Media, Nielsen EDI, Hallmark Channel, Universal Pictures, Target, Sony Pictures and more. Her conversation will take place at the Auburn Avenue Research Library (101 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303) during a day of programming celebrating and exploring the female presence in media from 1 to 4 p.m.

“Both Madeline and Stephanie epitomize the resiliency and excellence women have long demonstrated within the industry. They are trailblazers and role models who help to keep the important lineage of women creatives going. AAFCA is honored to be able to share their genius on the same day in two different cities and show young people in particular, women especially, that their future in Hollywood is especially bright.”

Photo Credits: AAFCA

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ASPiRE’s Melissa Ingram to receive AAFCA’s Synergy Award + more

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to ASPiRE Network’s Vice President and Channel Manager—Melissa Ingram. She is the recipient of AAFCA’s coveted SYNERGY AWARD and the first female honoree. ASPiRE is the cable network founded by NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

The SYNERGY AWARD celebrates inroads made by film and TV professionals in the Southeast and provides an opportunity for creative professionals to connect and collaborate with their peers across the industry.

“Aspire has carved out a great niche with its programming that puts a spotlight on Black excellence, and a great deal of that success is owed to Melissa’s leadership,” says AAFCA president Gil Robertson. “AAFCA is enormously proud to add her to the list of other Atlanta-based film and TV honorees who have contributed greatly to the phenomenal growth of our industry in the southeast.”

Pasts recipients include filmmaker Rob Hardy, TV producer and playwright Mark E. Swinton , film mogul Roger M. Bobb and Eric Tomosunas of SwirlFilms.

In addition to the SYNERGY AWARDS, AAFCA will also host its first ever Summer Screening Series in Los Angeles and Atlanta with screenings of 30, 25 and 20 year old anniversary titles that celebrates Black culture and life, as well as the evolution of Black filmmakers.

Featured films for the series launch are COMING TO AMERICA (1988); POETIC JUSTICE (1993) and DOWN IN THE DELTA (1998). One of the series’ main highlights is a special Q&A with John Singleton, who directed POETIC JUSTICE, taking place Saturday, July 14th at the Mark Taper Room in downtown Los Angeles.

“We are very happy to celebrate these landmark films that not only entertain, but also raise awareness of the African American experience, says AAFCAPrograms Director, Nicholas Maye. “The fact that these films are still impactful 30, 25 and 20 years later speaks to the long-lasting power of Black film and its images and themes.”

Stay tuned…

Photo Credits:  AAFCA