By Team CINEMATIQ
The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture celebrated their 15th anniversary this past weekend October 13th– 14, 2012. The annual event founded by African Voices Co – founder, Carolyn A. Butts, was held at its birthplace Long Island University’s Brooklyn, New York campus. Since 1997 the festival has been devoted to providing support to films, written by directed by and starring women of color. The rainbow of ethnicities and nationalities include: African, African American, Native American, Caribbean, Latino and Asian. The two day festival featured lectures by well-known celebrities as well as screenings of the latest independent films. Highlights of the weekend’s events included:
Saturday October 13th
- Filmmakers industry chat with Daphne Maxwell Reid Co-Founder of New Millennium Studios.
- Feature Film Screening- My Theiro Boys: A Lifestyle dealing with Autism, a powerful documentary chronicling one single mother’s 3 year struggle caring for two autistic children.
- Short Film series featuring: Look Again by Winjiru Njendo, Tonya and Tony By Althea Brown, and The Last First Kiss by Andrea Ashton
- Feature Film, Soul Food Junkies followed by a Q&A with Daphne Reid, Terrence McKnight and Award winning film maker Bryon Hurt.
Sunday October 14th
- Lecture on Editing by Samuel Pollard, his film credits include: 25th hour, Four Little Girls, and Clockers
- Feature film Screening: “Daisy Bates; First lady of Little Rock”- The harrowing story of activist and publisher Daisy Bates’ whose meteoric rise crashed as quickly as it began sending Bates in a never ending quest to remain relevant.
- I’ll Make Me a World: A tribute to Blackside Inc.–Tribute Panel Discussion on Black owned documentary producers Black Side Inc.
- Award Ceremony featuring performances by Imani Uzuri.
One of the standout shorts of the festival was “Little Brother: A do Right man.”
This short is the 3rd chapter of the Documentary series “Little Brother,” depicting the emotional lives of young black boys. It provided an often unseen glimpse into the emotional state of the young man affected most by the murder of Trayvon Martin. Devoid of a decisive agenda the film simply chronicles the relationships these young men share with the people in their lives. It is a unique view of their struggle to shed the shackles of adolescence and forage ahead into manhood. The trials and tribulations of youth is the subject of many debates and this short sheds some light on the direction our youth are headed and the importance of a good support system. The theme of togetherness and community support are part of the foundation of the Reel Sisters Festival.
The Reel Sisters of the African Diaspora Film Festival is an important event for filmmakers, enthusiasts and all artists of color. The gathering allows the up and coming as well as the fully established film professionals to network and building lasting relationships. The festival is an outlet for fans to meet the people behind some memorable films. Attendees of this year’s festivities had the chance to meet filmmakers Bryon Hurt and Sam Pollard as well as casting director Winsome Sinclair. Guests also had the good fortune to rub elbows with stars Daphne Maxwell Reid and Tim Reid, pioneers in the industry of film. Their presence helps bridge the generation gap by introducing the younger generation of artists of color to films from the past. For nearly two decades Reel sister has given film makers of color the forum to celebrate today’s latest films while honoring the trailblazers of yesteryear.