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Angela Bassett, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Murphy and more recognized at ‘AAFCA TV Honors’ [PHOTOS]

Check out photos from this past weekend’s First Annual AAFCA TV Honors. The exclusive awards luncheon, presented by the African American Film Critics Association, was held at the Fireside Room at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey and recognized some of the biggest stars on television.

Ava DuVernay and the cast of When They See Us
AAFCA’s Gil Robertson along with Ava DuVernay and the cast of When They See Us

Awards were handed out to Emmy nominee Ava DuVernay and her cast of When They See UsNiecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Jharrel Jerome and Asante Blackk. She picked up the award for “Best Limited Series” and the actors picked up “Best Ensemble” as well as “Breakthrough Performance” for Jharrel.

Gil Roberston with Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Bathe

CBS’s The Neighborhood featuring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold picked up “Best TV Comedy.” Emmy winner and This is Us star Sterling K. Brown won for “Best TV Performance – Male” along with iconic film actress Angela Bassett for “Best TV Performance – Female.”

Janet Mock, Ryan Murphy, Angela Bassett and MJ Rodriguez

POSE and 9-1-1 producer Ryan Murphy also earned the AAFCA TV Honors first Icon Award for his outstanding contributions to television.

Special invited guests included Chaz EbertSheryl Lee Ralph, Janet Mock, Richard BrooksMj Rodriguez, among many others.  The event was presided over by AAFCA President Gil Robertson.

See the full list of winners below:

Best TV Comedy: “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

A comedy series, limited series, television movie or special that stands out for its quality and cultural significance presented to the series creator Jim Reynolds and cast members Cedric the Entertainer,  Tichina Arnold, Max Greenfield, Marcel Spears, Beth Behrs, and Sheaun McKinney.

Best TV Drama: “Power” (Starz)

A drama series, limited series, documentary series, television movie or otherwise that stands out for its quality and cultural significance presented to show writer Eric Haywood and director Anthony Hemingway.

Best Limited Series: “When They See Us” (Netflix)

A limited series, television movie or special that stands out for its quality and cultural significance presented to creator, co-writer and director Ava DuVernay.

Best Ensemble: “When They See Us” (Netflix)

This award may be given to an ensemble in a drama series, limited series, documentary series, television movie or otherwise that stands out as a groundbreaker or gamechanger in the television landscape. Presented to cast members Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Jharrel Jerome and Asante Blackk.

Breakthrough Performance: Jharrel Jerome “When They See Us”

This award may be given to an actor, creator or project that stands out as a groundbreaker or gamechanger in the television landscape

Best Writing: “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Writing for a drama series, comedy series, limited series, documentary series, television movie

or otherwise that stands out for its quality and cultural significance. Presented to writer Attica Locke.

Best TV Performance – Female: Angela Bassett

An actress whose work during the calendar year has been extraordinary.

Best TV Performance – Male: Sterling K. Brown

An actor whose work during the calendar year has been extraordinary.

Inclusion Award: CBS

Recognizes a network or production entity that demonstrates a powerful commitment to diversity and inclusion presented to Kelly Kahl President, CBS Entertainment.

PHOTO CREDITS: Brook Benjamin for AAFCA

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‘AAFCA TV Honors’ salutes ‘When They See Us,’ ‘Power,’ Ryan Murphy and more

Ava DuVernay’s riveting Netflix project When They See Us earned four wins from the African American Film Critics Association Tuesday as part of the upcoming AAFCA TV Honors. The highly popular limited series about the infamous Central Park rape case that resulted in the arrest and false imprisonment of five black youths, received the group’s Best Limited Series, Best Ensemble, Best Writing and Breakout Performance for Jharrel Jerome who plays Korey Wise in the series.

Other big wins went to the popular Starz drama Power, which begins its sixth and final season August 25th, and the CBS freshman comedy, The Neighborhood, starring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold. Angela Bassett and Sterling K. Brown earned Best Acting Honors for their respective performances in the series 9-1-1 on Fox and This Is Us on NBC.

In all, the sixteen-year-old association will give out ten awards, including honoring mega-producer Ryan Murphy with the AAFCATV Icon Award and big three network, CBS, with the AAFCA Inclusion Award for its diverse programming and talent.     

“It is impossible to ignore TV’s popularity and remarkable influence on America’s pop culture landscape today,” says AAFCA president Gil Robertson IV. “As the stature of the small screen continues to expand, it has become increasingly more diverse and inclusive, a movement that we at AAFCA wholeheartedly embrace and champion. The honorees for our first AAFCA TV Honors represent the very best of television programming. They all successfully put a mirror up to our world to tell stories that are refreshingly diverse and authentic. We feel that this new wave of innovative, thought-provoking storytelling is inspiring and deserving of celebration.”

The honorees will be feted at AAFCA TV Honors during a private brunch on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA.

See all of the winners below:

Best Drama – “Power” (Starz)

Best Comedy – “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

Best Limited Series – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Performance Female – Angela Bassett (9-1-1) FOX

Best Performance Male – Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) NBC

Best Ensemble – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Writing – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Breakthrough Performance – Jharrel Jerome, “When They See Us” (Netflix)

AAFCA TV Honors Inclusion Award – CBS

AAFCA TV Honors ICON Award – Ryan Murphy  

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AAFCA to screen ‘Uppity’ and honor Allied’s Carolyn Sloss

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is set to honor entertainment marketing executive Carolyn Sloss, Vice President of Allied Global Marketing, for its 8th Annual SYNERGY ATL Program on August 1 at the Auburn Avenue Research Library. For nearly a decade, the networking event has brought together power players in Atlanta’s creative and business communities in celebration of a key figure in the area’s film and television industry with the main purpose of further fostering positive relationships among them.    

“For more than a decade Carolyn has led the growth trajectory of the film and entertainment community in Atlanta,” said AAFCA president Gil Robertson. “Her commitment to the Arts & Entertainment scene has been impactful to the permanent infrastructure that we see today throughout this region. AAFCA is very proud to salute her.”

“I am thrilled and proud to be named as the 2019 honoree by AAFCA and its SYNERGY ATL Program,” said Sloss. “In my role at Allied, I’ve strived to forge a path that’s wider and more inclusive in the community. To be recognized for achieving this, even in a small way, is truly a great honor!”

Pasts recipients include filmmaker Rob Hardy, TV producer and playwright Mark E. Swinton , film mogul Roger M. Bobb and Eric Tomosunas of SwirlFilms and ASPIRE TV’s General Manager Melissa Ingram.

In addition to its SYNERGY ATL Program, AAFCA will host a screening of the film UPPITY this Saturday June 29 from 2-6 pm at the Auburn Avenue Research Library.

The project follows race car legend Willy T. Ribbs, who competed in NASCAR, the Trans-Am racing series and the Indianapolis 500. After the film, guests will be treated to a Q&A with Mr. Ribbs as well as a reception in his honor. This event is part of AAFCA’s Summer Screening Series of films which features new and classic movies followed by lively group discussions.

“The Summer Screening Series is one of the ways AAFCA engages the community. The films selected give us an opportunity to mark milestones with beloved films, ponder themes and impact. Last year, we were fortunate to revisit Poetic Justice for its 25th anniversary with dear AAFCA friend and film legend John Singleton, who we recently lost,” said Robertson.

Photo Credits: AAFCA

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AAFCA presents the 2nd Edition of the “72-Hour Film Challenge”

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Attention aspiring filmmakers!

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is proud to announce the 2nd edition of the 72-Hour Film Challenge presented in partnership with The Home Depot’s “Retool Your School Program.” Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) filmmakers, currently enrolled students and alums, are invited to create unique and entertaining short films about The Home Depot’s “Retool Your School Program”. The Challenge is currently underway and will be presented in three phases with first round judging conducted by members of AAFCA.

The finalists and winner will then be selected by a panel made up of some of the most successful behind the scenes players in Hollywood: Candice Wilson Olensky, the Vice President, Acquisitions & Development at Codeblack Films; director, Carl Seaton (“The Chi,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Dynasty”); producer, Quincy Newell, Chief Content Officer at Reign and writer/producer Wendy Calhoun (“Empire,” “Nashville” and “Revenge”).

The winner of the film challenge will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles and the honor of accepting their award at the tenth AAFCA Awards on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. They will also receive  an opportunity to meet with some of the industry’s leading talent and creative representatives.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with The Home Depot for the AAFCA 72-Hour Film Challenge,” says AAFCA president, Gil Robertson. “The 72-Hour Film Challenge builds on one of our core missions to provide exposure to promising content creators. The contest will also generate greater visibility for The Home Depot’s “Retool Your School Program,” which provides our nation’s HBCUs with much-needed resources to make upgrades to their campuses.” 

All submissions will be judged based on story content, creativity, uniqueness, ingenuity and technical abilities. The top three finalists will be given a gift card to shop for supplies and materials needed for their shoot at a local Home Depot. They will then be required to create a three-to-five-minute film short that will be judged to determine a winner. All contest guidelines and rules can be found on AAFCA’s website

GOOD LUCK!

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AAFCA teams up with AMPAS for ‘Careers in Film Summit’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) will conclude its 2018 lineup of Atlanta programming with a partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to educate the next generation on various career opportunities in film.

The “Academy’s Careers in Film Summit: Atlanta,” will take place on this Saturday, November 3 at the SCADshow, marks the organization’s first educational outreach in the Atlanta area, which is distinguished for its rapid growth in film production.

A half-day event, the Summit features three moderated panel discussions with working Academy members and film professionals intended to introduce high school and college students and their educators to the plethora of careers in the motion picture industry. The discussions focus on film careers above and below the line as well as the importance of representation. The Atlanta edition of the Summit is an extension of similar programs the Academy produces in Los Angeles, London and New York.

“I moderated a Careers in Film Summit panel in 2017 at the Academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills and, after witnessing its impact, recommended they bring it to Atlanta,” explains AAFCA president Gil Robertson IV. “Given Atlanta’s growing strengths in every area of entertainment, I felt the Summit would be an excellent resource for the city’s next film generation.”

Confirmed Careers in Film Summit: Atlanta panelists include producer/director Roger M. Bobb, Deborah Riley Draper and Deborah Moore; casting agent, Winsome Sinclair; art director, Cindy Carr; makeup artist, Dionne Wynn, pr guru, Carolyn Sloss; manager Chaka Zulu and others.

 The Academy’s Careers in Film Summit: Atlanta is being presented in partnership with re:imagine/ATL, Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta (SCAD), DeKalb Entertainment Commission, African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and Saunders Lockliear Entertainment (SLE).

Will you be attending?

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‘UPFRONT’ featuring Kevin Hart, Will Packer, Jonathan Nelson and more (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

Check out last weekend’s edition of UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry. It featured my red carpet interviews with Night School star Kevin Hart and producer Will Packer. The film opens in theaters this Friday, September 28.

I also talked to Gospel music sensation Jonathan Nelson about his new album, Declaration and film critics Edward Adams and Ronda Racha Penrice talk about AAFCA’s The Black Experience on Film with Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

UPFRONT is a 30-minute arts and entertainment program featuring the biggest names in TV, film, music, fashion and the performing arts. It also features the behind-the-scenes superstars that make Atlanta the “entertainment capital of the south.” It airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and is hosted by yours truly, Ray Cornelius.

Click here to check out more of our past shows!

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AAFCA + The Home Depot Presents “72-Hour Build-A-Film Challenge”

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) proudly announces the inaugural 72-Hour Build-a-Film Challenge presented in partnership with The Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant Program. The challenge is an opportunity for emerging filmmakers to compete for a chance at having a winning short-film submission premiered at the 2018 Annual AAFCA Awards dinner and celebration held in Los Angeles, California.

Submissions for the Challenge started on this past Monday, December 11th, and will roll out in three phases, beginning with first two rounds of judging conducted by members of AAFCA. The winner will then be selected by an impressive panel of Hollywood directors: Rob Hardy (“The Quad,” “Power”); Salli Richardson (“Scandal,” “Queen Sugar”); Roger Bobb (“The Rickey Smiley Show,” “Mann and Wife”) and Jeff Byrd (“Rebel,” “The Originals”). The Film Challenge winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles and the honor of accepting the first-ever AAFCA 72-Hour Short Film Award during the ninth AAFCA Awards on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with the Retool Your School program on the launch of the 72-Hour Build-a-Film Challenge,” says AAFCA president, Gil Robertson. “This competition builds on one of our core missions of providing exposure to new and emerging voices. We are also excited that the Film Challenge will generate greater visibility for The Home Depot’s Retool Your School Program and spotlight their great work helping our nation’s HBCUs with much-needed resources to make upgrades to their campuses.”

All submissions will be judged based on story content, creativity, ingenuity, technical abilities and uniqueness. The top three finalists will be given a $500.00 gift card to shop for supplies and materials needed for their shoot at The Home Depot’s Pinewood Studios location in Atlanta, Georgia. They will then be required to bring their vision to life and create a three-to-five-minute film short to win.

Click here for all of the contest guidelines and rules!

GOOD LUCK!

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#UPFRONT feat. casts of ‘Girls Trip,’ ‘Blackberry Daze’ + Anita Wilson + Synergy Awards (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Today’s edition of #UPFRONT Inside Atlanta’s Entertainment Industry was full of Black star power.  I got a chance to talk to the ladies of “Girls Trip,” which opens in theaters nationwide this weekend. Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall dish about their roles while the film’s producer—Will Packer—weighs in on why this particular film is so important. Mayor Kasim Reed also talked about his desire for Atlanta to make this film #1 at the box office.

#UPFRONT also catches up with gospel music sensation Anita Wilson and her new album, Sunday Song. The Billboard chart topping performer also opened up about the importance of voting and getting involved in your local community elections.

#UPFRONT also goes to AAFCA’s Synergy Awards as they honor director, producer and iconic filmmaker Rob Hardy. The creator of BET’s “The Quad” was exciting to be this year’s award recipient and encouraged all of us to continue pursuing our dreams.

We closed out the show with the cast of Horizon Theatre’s new musical, “Blackberry Daze.” Actresses Brittany Inge and Ayana Reed discussed their roles in the show as well as working with the great Tom Jones.

#UPFRONT Inside Atlanta Entertainment Industry is 30-minute radio magazine that features one-on-one interviews with all of the major players and behind-the-scenes superstars that make Georgia the new “Entertainment Capital.” It airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on Jazz 91.9 WCLK and his hosted by yours truly, Ray Cornelius.

Follow us now on Instagram: @UPFRONTtheSHOW

Click here to check out past shows!

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AAFCA salutes Rob Hardy at 2017 #SYNERGYAWARDS [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

One of Atlanta’s pioneers in television and film—Rob Hardy—was honored Thursday night during the 2017 Synergy Awards. The annual summer ceremony was presented by Gil Robertson and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and took place at Bobbcat Studios.

The Synergy Awards is one of AAFCA’s signature events and celebrates inroads made by film and TV professionals in the Southeast. It also provides an opportunity for creative professionals in and around the area to connect and collaborate with their peers across the industry.

Hardy was acknowledged for laying a foundation for Atlanta’s current boom in television and film production. The ceremony included a video presentation featuring congratulatory messages from a number of Hardy’s close friends and collaborators like fellow filmmaker Roger M. Bobb, iconic casting director Reuben Cannon, longtime partner Will Packer, Rainforest Entertainment’s Mitzi Miller and Liquid Soul’s Tirrell Whitley.

“Rob is getting this award because Atlanta is number one [applause]…in terms of TV and productions in the world. A large part of that has been because of his efforts,” said Robertson to the attendees.

Hardy began his film career as a student on the campus of Florida A&M University with Packer and their very first project, “Chocolate City.” After graduation, the two moved to Jonesboro, GA where they formed their production company, Rainforest Films. Their next movie, “Trois,” elevated the profile of their brand and opened doors for them to go on and produce a string of other hit films including “Motives,” “Stomp the Yard,” “Think Like a Man,” “Think Like a Man Too” and “No Good Deed.”  Hardy also has credits on such hit television shows as “Empire,” “How To Get Away with Murder,” and “Castle.” His most recent endeavor included creating and executive producing BET’s “The Quad.” He also has two other shows lined up including one with hip hop star Clifford “T.I.” Harris. 


“Sometimes doors are closed to force you and I to find other routes to tell our stories. We all have a place here.  Just because you see someone else’s name in lights, doesn’t mean that your time’s not coming…if you just continue to work and believe,” said Hardy to the attendees.

Celebrities in attendance included “Underground” and “Hit the Floor” actor Rob Riley, “Hollywood Divas” star Lisa Wu, plus “Saints and Sinners “actresses Jasmine Burke and Dawn Halfkenny. Past Synergy Award recipients, Keith Neal and Eric Tomosunas, were also in attendance as well as industry professionals—Dianne AshfordAsante Bradford, April Love, Jess Manning, Angela WattsChelsye Burrows and George Pierre.

Check out more photos below:

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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AAFCA proclaims 2016 ‘The Best Year Ever in Black Films’ + calls for an end to #OscarSoWhite

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) released a bold statement on Monday proclaiming “2016 as the best year ever” for African Americans in films and feels quite confident that a record number of Black actors will be nominated in the forthcoming award season.

img_2432“The studios and major film distributors really gave it to us this year,” says Gil Robertson, AAFCA co-founder/president. “By any measurement, it’s been an exceptional year for Blacks in film. From comedies to high-quality dramas and documentaries, 2016 will forever represent a bonanza year for Black cinema and all cinema really.”

AAFCA not only acknowledged the box office success of such films as “Ride Along 2,” “Barbershop 3, ” “Central Intelligence” and “Boo! A Madea Halloween” but they also recognized the diverse rage of characters and storylines that were presented on the silver screen this year including the critically acclaimed LGBT drama “Moonlight” and the racially charged “Loving.” AAFCA also predicts that the highly anticipated December releases of  “Fences” and “Hidden Figures” are sure to reap Oscar nominations and hopefully put an end to the infamous hashtag: #OscarSoWhite.

“The amount of quality feature films, documentaries and TV shows released in 2016 about the black experience easily make it the best year ever. It has truly been an unapologetically black year in the industry as filmmakers brought to life some of the cultures most fascinating stories and subjects with bold storytelling perspective,” says AAFCA co-founder, Shawn Edwards.

“The coming award nominations are going to definitely put a pause on #OscarsSoWhite this year,” says Robertson. “But what we wonder is for how long? It’s undeniable that the studios have responded admirably to the tremendous outcry from the African American community through its delivery of the films that we’ve seen this year. But what about next year and the year after that? Unfortunately the question that we must ask with every watershed year is ‘how long will it last?’ Were the past 12 months an anomaly or does it signal the beginning of Hollywood being more committed to supporting a diverse lineup of Black films? And what about films about the Asian, Hispanic, Native American and LGBT communities? “Moonlight” has been a bright spot in representing both the Black and LGBT communities but we need more. So we at AAFCA are extremely hopeful that these 2016 Black films will have a domino effect in providing platform opportunities for films that represent other communities as well.”

Stay tuned…

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AAFCA to honor Screen Legend Sidney Poitier at 2017 AAFCA Awards

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) announced this week that next year’s highly anticipated “AACFA Awards” will honor the life and legacy of Sidney Poitier.

The VIP event will take place on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood and will feature a star studded tribute to Mr. Poitier’s work. The evening will also recognize the 50th Anniversary of Poitier’s groundbreaking film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

Poitier is a legendary actor, businessman and philanthropist became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor (in 1966 for “Lilies of the Field”) and is a former Bahamian ambassador to Japan.

“It is beyond a privilege for AAFCA to receive this opportunity to honor a man who epitomizes timeless excellence,” says Gil Robertson, AAFCA President. “Throughout his career, Mr. Poitier has embodied values that the AAFCA community admires and strives to duplicate. He set a standard of merit through his craft and commitment to humanity that has been a great blueprint for all artists. Our production team is deep at work to create a tribute that shows our deep gratitude for all that he has done to create opportunities for the black community in Hollywood and beyond. At the height of his career, Mr. Poitier single-handily represented our community with a dignity and grace on screen during a time when very few blacks even had an opportunity to work in the business in front or behind the camera. We feel that his impact is immeasurable. There is, perhaps, no artist more fitting to receive the inaugural AAFCA Icon Award than Mr. Poitier.”

Founded in 2003, AAFCA annually awards “Best of the Year” honors in 15 categories. This year’s recipients will be announced on Monday, December 12, 2016.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: Biography.com

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Lee Daniels, Anthony Hemingway & others to be honored during AAFCA’s ‘Special Achievement Awards’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Congrats to “Empire” creator Lee Daniels! The famed Oscar nominated-producer and director will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award during next year’s AAFCA “Special Achievement Awards” Ceremony. The affair will take place on Saturday, January 7 at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California.

Other honorees include: Anthony Hemingway, Director of Underground (AAFCA Horizon Award), Mike Philips, Film Critic of Chicago Tribune (AAFCA Roger Ebert Award), Vanessa Morrison, President of Fox Animation (AAFCA Ashely Boone Award) and Floyd Norman, animator for Disney/Hanna-Barbera (AAFCA Legacy Award).

“All of our honorees are serious players who are helping to move the industry forward in terms of creating images that are diverse and inclusive,” says Gil Robertson, AAFCA president/co-founder. “They are all cultural visionaries who deserve to be recognized for their roles in advancing projects that have paid off critically and financially and we look forward to celebrating their careers.”

In the next month, AAFCA will host its signature event, The 8th AAFCA Awards on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood. Winners will be announced on Monday, December 12, 2016.

Established in 2003, the African American Film Critics Association is the largest black film critics’ organization in the world, representing television, radio, print and online critics.

Photo Credit: AAFCA

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Mark E. Swinton honored at AAFCA’s ‘Synergy’ Awards [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure of attending the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) “Synergy” Awards this week that recognized the talents of acclaimed producer, playwright and Tyler Perry Studio executive Mark E. Swinton. The private ceremony took place at Atlanta’s newly renovated Auburn Avenue Research Library and was attended by a number of invited guests and members of the press.

img_0683The “SYNERGY” Award is presented every year by AAFCA’s Gil Robertson, to an individual who has excelled in the realms of television, film and entertainment. The event also provides industry professionals with an opportunity to network and interact with other creatives and plant the seeds of growth and collaboration.

Swinton is a two-time NAACP Award winner who is currently the producer of Perry’s OWN hit series—“The Haves and the Have Nots,” “Love Thy Neighbor” and “For Better or Worse.” He has also worked on “Good Deeds,” “Meet the Browns,” “Aunt Bam’s Place,” and countless other TPS productions. Swinton was genuinely excited to be receiving the award from his peers and thanked the Atlanta community at large for their support and for welcoming him with open arms.

Attendees of note included previous “Synergy” Award recipients Tirrell Whittley and Nick Nelson of Liquid Soul and Ri-Karlo Handy, Senior VP of Original Programming for Bounce TV.

Check out more images below:

img_0672

Mark E. Swinton with AAFCA members in the background

Ronda Penrice, Edward Adams and Gil Robertson

img_0667

Mark E. Swinton 

img_0675

Gil Robertson with Mark E. Swinton

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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‘SYNERGY’ Awards to salute Tyler Perry Studios Exec Mark E. Swinton

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Congrats to Tyler Perry Studios producer and executive Mark E. Swinton!

He will be recognized at this year’s “SYNERGY” awards program presented by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). The event takes place tonight (Tuesday, October 4) at Atlanta’s newly renovated Auburn Avenue Research Library. A signature program for the organization, “SYNERGY” provides an opportunity for creative professionals in the Southeast to connect and plant the seeds of growth and collaboration.

m-swinton-pic-2Representing the leading black film critics in the United States, AAFCA produces an annual slate of community, academic and industry programming that includes collaborations with some of the leading film festivals, universities and premier film studios in the world. “Our primary goal as an organization is to create opportunities that will bring all communities together using the power of cinema,” says AAFCA president and co-founder, Gil Robertson, who lives part-time in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

“AAFCA is thrilled to bring ‘SYNERY’ once again to Atlanta, and we hope that by celebrating Mark, we are able to illustrate the immense opportunities that are possible for other creative professionals who live in this region,” he adds. “Atlanta is a growing player in film and TV production, and we feel that with ‘SYNERGY’ we’re providing a valuable opportunity that can help the Atlanta and Southeast film communities grow strong.”

Swinton is a two-time NAACP Award winning-playwright and director who has also  produced, written and directed over 30 professional level productions with young people in Los Angeles. He is currently the producer of Tyler Perry’s OWN hit series—“The Haves and the Have Nots,” “Love Thy Neighbor” and “For Better or Worse.”

Previous recipients of this award include Tirrell Whitley and Nick Nelson, Principal Partners at Liquid Soul Media (2012) and Charles Humbard, CEO of UPTV (2013), filmmaker Roger M. Bobb (2014) and Brett Dismuke and Eric Tomosunas (2015).

Shortly after “SYNERGY,” AAFCA will also host a special screening of potential Oscar contending film, “Moonlight” that will include a Q&A session with its director Barry Jenkins and stars Naomie Harris (“Skyfall” and “Spectre”) and Trevante Rhodes (TV series “If Loving You Is Wrong” and “Westworld”).

Photo Credits: AAFCA