The 2015 Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) will kick off four days of films, shorts and documentaries — all by Black filmmakers — Thursday, October 8 through Sunday, October 11 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.
“We always do a new location” each year, stated TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow last week in a MSR phone interview. “I am very excited to be at Intermedia Arts.”
Bahamian Son kicks off the festival opening night, showing at Landmark Theatre in Uptown October 8, with a celebration party for the cast to follow at the Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Avenue South at 10 pm.
“I think we have a nice lineup, very different,” said Morrow on this year’s offerings, which include feature films Forgiveness, with Richard T. Jones Friday evening, and Knucklehead, starring Alfie Woodard Saturday afternoon. “It has won a lot of awards. The filmmaker is from Minnesota,” said Morrow of Knucklehead.
A trailer for the upcoming WGN America series Underground will be shown before Forgiveness on Friday evening at Intermedia Arts. “I got to see part of it,” at the NABJ convention in Minneapolis in August, said Morrow. “It’s amazing.”
After Friday evening’s film schedule, actor-singer Keith Robinson will perform live, with local band Chirch and the Dirty Thought. “He has a new CD coming out at the end of the year,” noted the TCBFF founder-director.
Another highlight will be Christopher Martin of Kid ‘N’ Play, who is expected to speak after his Should Hip Hop Be Taught in Schools documentary Saturday afternoon, and for the 25th anniversary of House Party.
“That will be the last film we will show that night,” said Morrow of House Party. Martin is also expected to take part in the scheduled “House Party Jam,” starting at 10 pm Saturday at Faces in St. Paul’s Mears Park.
“A ton of local Minnesota films” are on the docket Saturday and Sunday, said Morrow, including films by local filmmakers Kareem McCoy (Admonitions), Amber Patton (Homegoing) and Jeffery Williams (For Dinner).
Also on tap: Underground Kings a film produced by former NBA player Rip Hamilton; Tangi Miller’s Diva Diaries; and Unspeakable Discretions, by former pro football player Eric Ramsey. Morrow described ‘Discretions’ as a film about “[what happens] to Black families when they keep a secret for many years.” She also revealed that attendees can also expect a couple of surprises at this year’s festival.
Additionally, Morrow said that she set out to honor significant accomplishments by Blacks at year’s TCBFF —Twin Aces, a film about the Williams sisters, being one example. “I want to shine light on people who have made history this year. People who have made African Americans proud in 2015 [by] breaking records: the Misty Copelands, Viola Davises and others,” said Morrow.
Black Wall Street is among the documentary selections this year; Morrow noted that there are some who doubt that such a place ever existed in this country. Also showing is Joy, a Nigerian short on female circumcision performed on Nigerian females. “It is still believed it is happening in America [as well],” said Morrow. “People who move from Africa to [America] are still in[to] those practices.”
Morrow continued, “I wanted to have educational films on Sunday. We reached out to South High and North High, who have film, acting and editing programs in their high schools. So we want them to be able to come” to Sunday’s screenings, she said.
HBO is among the regular sponsors of TCBFF, and among the new sponsors this year is the Metropolitan Airport Commission, which recently featured Morrow in their new magazine. Morrow also expressed appreciation for TCBFF’s partnership with the Minneapolis Park Board.
Her long-term vision for the TCBFF is “to have a big name like Viola Davis to really put us on the map,” said Morrow. “That’s our goal, to raise enough funds to do that.”
“Metropolitan State is requesting us to host the festival in St. Paul” next year, added Morrow. “I am really grateful for people who keep reaching out to us” including Martin and Robinson “for showing their love and try to make [the festival] what we can.”
To purchase passes and tickets for the 2015 Twin Cities Black Film Festival, go to https://www.facebook.com/tcbff.org.
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Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.