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ATL Stars attend the ‘Black Women Film Network Holiday Party’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

It was all about celebrating homegrown talent Wednesday night during the Black Women Film Network (BWFN) Holiday Party. The invitation only soiree took place at The Gathering Spot and was the perfect way to kick-off the festive season ahead.

Dawn HalfKenny + Vaughn Alvarez +Kri Peck

A number of Atlanta-based actors, actresses, casting directors, producers, content creators and filmmakers were recognized for their work over the past year. Most of their projects have appeared on such popular networks including BET, TV One, OWN, Lifetime, CW and Bounce.

Ray Cornelius + Trina Parks

Celebrities in attendance included Brad James (BET’s American Soul), Cocoa Brown (Fox’s 9-1-1), Dawn Halfkenny (Bounce TV’s Saints & Sinners), Sean Baker (BET’s Tales and CW’s All American), Marquita Goings (Behind the Movement and Reece Odum (Saints & Sinners).

Other notables included Tyler Perry Casting Director Rhayvn Drummer, A Seat at the Table producer Tiffany Brown Rideaux, award winning songwriter Makeba Riddick Woods, comedienne and actress Myra J, media maven Summer Jackson, filmmaker Bobby Huntley, Swirl Films’ Keith Neal, ATL’s social butterfly Kimberly Clark, model and performer A Lady Named Pearl, iconic James Bond villainess Trina Parks and Ready to Love‘s Mike Anthony and Shea Pegues.

Saptosa Foster

Established in 1997, the Black Women Film Network (BWFN) was founded to prepare black women to enter the film and television industries. The organization seeks to preserve the voice of these women through film and educational programs that empower and inform. A 501(c)3 non-profit, BWFN provides student scholarships, hosts screenings and workshops, and honors individuals who have excelled in this difficult industry.  The Black Women Film Network was founded by Sheryl Gripper and is chaired by Saptosa Foster.

See more photos from the evening below:

BRAD JAMES

COCOA BROWN

SEAN BAKER

DAWN HALFKENNY

REECE ODUM

MICHAEL ANTHONY

A LADY NAMES PEARL + TRINA PARKS

RHAVYN DRUMMER

KIMBERLY CLARK + GUEST

BOBBY HUNTLEY + GUEST

BRAD JAMES + SHEA PEGUES

SUMMER JACKSON

KEITH NEAL + MARQUITA GOINGS

MYRA J +VEDA MCNEAL-WRIGHT

VAUGHN ALVAREZ + MAKEBA RIDDICK WOODS

TIFFANY BROWN RIDEAUX

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent Recap

Omar Epps makes special appearance at Gentleman Jack’s ‘Real to Reel’ in Atlanta [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

NAACP Image Award-winning film star Omar Epps recently teamed up with Gentleman Jack for the kick off of its second-annual Real to Reel Short Film Screening Tour. The event took place at Atlanta’s The Gathering Spot and was hosted by Codeblack Entertainment’s Anthony Rose.

Real to Reel is a collaboration between the Gentleman Jack and Codeblack Entertainment that helps to uplift the next wave of Black film creatives and showcase their work to local and national audiences.

Epps was a special invited guest of the brand’s official ambassador, Omari Hardwick and greeted attendees before the film screenings. He is best known for his roles in such iconic films as Juice, Higher Learning, Love & Basketball and The Wood. He most recently starred alongside Paula Patton in Traffik.

“I’m here to support the Real to Reel event. I think supporting our young African American filmmakers is important. Everyone needs an opportunity and everyone needs a start. Who knows? The next Gina Prince-Bythewood can come from an event like this.”

In addition to co-hosting with Anthony Rose, Epps was also there to promote his new book, From Fatherless to Fatherhood which chronicles his life growing up without a father and now raising his son.

“It came from a real moment I had with my son that caused me to reflect on growing up without a father and becoming a father. So it’s about childhood, manhood and fatherhood. I’m excited to get it out to the people and it comes out this Father’s Day,” said Epps during a private interview with press.

This year’s featured Real to Reel filmmakers included John Palomino with the short film, Man of the House, Darion D’Anjou with the short film, Pony and Atlanta’s own Bobby Huntley with the short film, Louisiana 1961. 2017 Winner JanLatae Mullins was also present with her short, Soul Fire.

Look for Real to Reel to make stops in Miami, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Check out more pics below and tune into my arts and entertainment show UPFRONT this Saturday at 9 a.m. on WCLK.com to hear more from Epps and his new book.

Anthony Rose

Omar Epps signing books

Omar Epps and his new book, From Fatherless to Fatherhood 

Anthony Rose with the Real to Reel filmmakers

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com + Gentleman Jack

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RC Exclusive - Ent

#UPFRONT featuring Bill Duke, Bobby Huntley and John Marshall Jones (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Don’t forget to check out this past weekend’s edition of my radio show #UPFRONT. It featured interviews with legendary actor and filmmaker Bill Duke; emerging Atlanta filmmaker Bobby Huntley and veteran actor John Marshall Jones. All three of them had film projects during this past weekend’s BronzeLens Film Festival. In addition to talking about their films, they also shared words of wisdom for aspiring actors and filmmakers.

Ray Cornelius with Bobby Huntley 

CLICK HERE to listen!

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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Recap

RC attends Atlanta Premiere of Bobby Huntley’s ‘Charlie’ [PHOTOS]

Written by | Ray Cornelius

I had the pleasure of attending and covering Bobby Huntley and Nikki Wade‘s recent Atlanta premiere of their new indie film, “La Vie Magnifique De Charlie.” The screening took place at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center and was attended by their family, friends and supporters.

Bobby Huntley + Nikki Wade with their cast
Kortnee Price, Lailaa Brookings, Nikki LaShae and Ashley S. Evans

“La Vie Magnifique De Charlie,” is an exciting tale of a young girl who is adjusting to the untimely passing of her sister in an unorthodox way. The story follows an energetic, quirky girl named Charlie (Kortnee Price) and a group of her friends (Lailaa Brookings & Nikki LaShae) as they go on a series of adventurous tasks left as a final message from late sister, Brandy (Ashley S. Evans). The movie explores the experiences and interpersonal relationships of sisterhood and the portrayal of black women.

Khadija Copeland with Bryan Earl and Ashley John

The evening began with a red carpet that included appearances by most of film’s cast and crew. Prior to the screening, attendees also got a chance to see film trailers from some of Huntley’s other industry friends like Towanda Kilpatrick’s “Hussy.” Actors Bryan Earl and Ashley John also talked about starring in Huntley’s southern tale “Louisiana 1961” with the evening’s host and emcee “All Eyez on Me” actress Khadija Copeland.

Nikki Wade and Bobby Huntley

Following the film’s screening, Huntley and Wade thanked sponsors and numerous GoFundMe supporters. They also brought the entire cast and crew on stage where the film’s cinematographer LaKisha Hughes was presented with a gift by her family. Wade and Huntley also presented a token of appreciation to the film’s executive producer Chet Brewster.

See more red carpet pics below + the film’s trailer:

“La Vie Magnifique De Charlie” was written by Wade and Huntley

Towanda Kilpatrick

Actress Nadej Bailey 

Khadija Copeland

Ashley S. Evans 

Lailaa Brookings

Kortnee Price

Nikki LaShae

Priah Ferguson plays young Brandy

Kai N. Ture plays young Charlie

Laura Pointdexter stars as Vivian

Bobby Huntley with his mother

Nikki Wade and Bobby Huntley 

Khadija Copeland

Bryan Earl

Ashley John 

Khadija Copeland

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Ent

‘Fast 8’ stars Ludacris & Nathalie Emmanuel featured at ‘CreATL’ [PHOTOS]

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

It’s no secret that Atlanta is a hotbed for TV, film and entertainment. Just this week, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced that Georgia-lensed feature film and television productions generated an economic impact of more than $7 billion during fiscal year 2016. Georgia is also number three in the world for film production according to FilmLA.

IMG_1973Last night, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed along Christopher Hicks of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment, gathered together to talk about that accomplishment and more as part of a new series titled CreATL. The immersive conversation features the industry’s top creatives, tastemakers and thought-leaders in film, entertainment, technology and culture that is created in Atlanta.

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The series first featured guests included “Fast 8” stars Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel, who are currently shooting the newest installment throughout the city. The private event was held at The Gathering Spot in Midtown-Atlanta and was presented by MARTELL. Bridges and Emmanuel opened up to moderator, Simone Gray about their life on set and the many advantages they have to shooting “Fast 8” here in Atlanta. “I get to wear my pajamas and house shoes to work,” said Ludacris to the most packed auditorium.

A number of celebrities were in attendance for the lively discussion including “Rickey Smiley for Real” star Gary With Tha Tea, “L.A. Hair” diva Gocha Hawkins, music executive Brian Michael Cox, celebrity hairstylist and television actor Miss Lawrence, “Saints & Sinners” actress Jasmine Burke, “Married to Medicine” stars Dr. Heavenly Kimes and Dr. Jackie Walters and many more.

Check out all of the red carpet photos and stay tuned…

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Interscope Records’ Keinon Johnson

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Actor Jamal Woolard with the MARTELL reps

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Brian Michael Cox 

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Judge Terrinee L. Gundy 

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Filmmaker Bobby Huntley and guest

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Gocha Hawkins 

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Dr. Heavenly Kimes

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Former “Big Rich Atlanta” stars Sharlinda Parker and Brie Rowe

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Jasmine Burke 

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Actor  Mike Merrill

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Dr. Jackie Walters 

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Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel

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WEtv’s Cutting It in the ATL star Mushiya Tshikuka

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Miss Lawrence

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Christopher Hicks from the Mayors Office of Film and Entertainment

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Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel

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Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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RC Exclusive - Music

UPDATE: BET to develop and produce ‘New Edition’ mini-series (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

A New Edition biopic is coming to television courtesy of BET Networks and Jesse Collins Entertainment. The big news was announced earlier on Monday and the project will be co-produced by only five of the group’s six members: Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant.

Wait! No Bobby Brown?

According to the press release, the project is being developed by the network and will premiere in a three night mini-series in 2016.  Here is what the group had to say in a statement:

“It’s been a long time coming and that time is finally here! Now that we have signed the deal, New Edition’s journey will be captured in a three night miniseries to tell our life story through our very own eyes. We are happy to have New Edition Enterprises collaborate with BET Networks’ Debra Lee and Stephen Hill along with Jesse Collins Entertainment.  From our beginning in the Orchard Park Projects in Boston to Hollywood and everything in between, just like The Temptations and The Jackson Five—we are ready to retrace our footsteps and show everyone how we got here. For the fans all over the world, this one’s for you,” says New Edition.

This news actually comes as a shock to me considering there was a very well produced trailer floating around the internet in March of a proposed New Edition film produced by Atlanta filmmaker, Bobby Huntley. If you recall, Huntley’s passion project was titled, “NE Heartbreak” and he was soliciting support from the group via social media to be the production team to tell their story.

“The NE Heartbreak The Movement is a ‘labor of love’ mission, set up by a creative team of New Edition fans, to produce an authentic biopic, that will tell a sincere and honest narrative, of the lives and journey of New Edition,” said Huntley in a statement on his website.  “NE Heartbreak The Movement’s main objective, is to be the production team entrusted to tell the story of 6 young men, who had a dream of success, happiness & music.”

Not sure what this new development means for Huntley’s project but at least the group’s story will finally be brought to the screen. RC will keep you posted as this story continues to develop. Check out Huntley’s 3-minute trailer below:

[youtube id=”6fuRTW2KNu0″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Photo Credit: PopCultureBlog.DallasNews.com

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RC Exclusive - Music

WATCH Trailer for New Edition Biopic, ‘N.E. Heartbreak’

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

A few days ago, I received a message on Instagram from a guy named Bryan Earl or “EarlWithEase” regarding a New Edition movie trailer in which he plays Bobby Brown. I wasn’t sure if this trailer was real or not until I started seeing more stories about the project on other websites. After looking it up, here is what I found and I must admit, I was throughly impressed.

Apparently an independent Atlanta filmmaker by the name of Bobby Huntley, has created a biopic about the iconic R&B music group, New Edition, and hopes to be the producing team that can bring their story to the big screen. He compares the group’s fame and appeal to that of The Temptations and The Jackson Five and feels the group deserves the same recognition.

“The NE Heartbreak The Movement is a ‘labor of love’ mission, set up by a creative team of New Edition fans, to produce an authentic biopic, that will tell a sincere and honest narrative, of the lives and journey of New Edition,” says Huntley in a statement on the website.  “NE Heartbreak The Movement’s main objective, is to be the production team entrusted to tell the story of 6 young men, who had a dream of success, happiness & music.”  The website also encourages fans of the group to use social media as way to spread the word about the film, with the hopes of garnering support from group’s real life members: Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, Michael Bivins, Rickey Bell, and Ronnie DeVoe.

“NE Heartbreak” reportedly took weeks to create including numerous auditions and rehearsals. The film was also created with no budget and is the first of its kind (I believe) to chronicle the lives of the music group. Check it out below and tell us what you think:

[youtube id=”6fuRTW2KNu0″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Photo Credit: NexxLegacy.com