SAVE THE DATE! 2024 Fall Festival | October 6 - 13, 2024

2022 Film Festival

2022 Student & Emerging Filmmaker Competition

Opening Night Gala

With the theme of Story, Stage & Screen, the Festival’s annual awards Gala honored visionary leaders in the fight for civil rights – Congresswoman Barbara Lee, veteran Broadway publicist and producer Irene Gandy, and Tony Award-winning director and playwright George C. Wolfe.

Special guests Congressman James E. Clyburn, Broadway costume designer Emilio Sosa and famed actor Jeffrey Wright presented the awards to the honorees.

Hosted by Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post contributor and host of The Sunday Show on MSNBC, this highly anticipated event welcomed 300 leaders of industry, the media, and several members of Congress.

Signature Event: The Mississippi Defenders

They were few in number, with limited resources, and lost more cases than they won during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. With the country’s conscience pricked by images of violence against marchers in the news, hundreds of lawyers from around the country became inspired to work in Mississippi…and ultimately transformed the state’s legal infrastructure.

This timely discussion featured a panel of distinguished voices including Rashad Robinson, Color of Change; Derrick Johnson, President, NAACP; Vangela Wade, President, Mississippi Center for Justice; and Roderick Red, filmmaker, and was moderated by legal scholar Paul D. Butler, attorney and Albert Brick Professor in Law, Georgetown University Law Center.

A dynamic performance by Ms. Rutha Mae Harris, original member of the SNCC Freedom Singers, accompanied by members of Dream Launchers followed the panel.

March on the World: Acting While Black on French Screens

American audiences may know French actor Omar Sy from his star turn in the Netflix series, Lupin. But he’s not the only African actor on French screens. Unfortunately, racially stereotypical roles, underdeveloped storylines still indicate that “French Cinema is a dinosaur refusing to die or change.”

A panel of French and American advocates in the cinema of the African diaspora shared their insights on the movement of African French actors, directors, journalists and activists who are seeking to change the faces and stories portrayed on French screens. Panelists: Rokhaya Diallo, journalist, Washington Post Opinion Writer and filmmaker, Steps Toward Liberty, Not Your Mama’s Movement); Dr. Imani Cheers, Associate Professor, Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

Moderator: Maboula Soumahoro, author, Afro-feminist, and Associate Professor, English, University of Tours, France.

The State of American Theater - Executives’ Roundtable

In 2020, diverse members of the American theater community published “We See You, White American Theater,” a clarion call listing principles for building anti-rascist theaters nationwide. Culminating a festival devoted to Story, Stage & Screen, our Closing Event presented a stimulating roundtable conversation on culture, community and representation with the guiding creative and administrative lights of some of America’s most prominent regional theaters.

Panelists: Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer, Apollo Theater, Harlem, NY; Maria Manuela Goyanes, Artistic Director, Wooly Mammoth Theater, Washington, D.C.; Jamil Jude, Artistic Director, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, Atlanta, GA; Molly Smith, Artistic Director, Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.; and Nikkole Salter, Chair, Dept. of Theatre Arts, Howard University,

Moderator: Donna Walker-Kuhne, writer (Invitation to the Party), educator, community engagement strategist, and founder, Walker International Communications Group