1st Annual Houston Black Film Festival wrapped up Sunday June 26th

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The 1st Annual Houston Black Film Festival wrapped up Sunday June 26th, with a gospel jam featuring the award-winning author and Christian comedienne Pat Gorge-Walker as "Sister Betty." Another award winning performer was Penny Diamond, winner of Gold City Television’s Annual Gospel Artist Award of the yea 2004. Tinika Hampton, top female Ebony Fashion Fair model was on hand to host the filmmakers, and producer’s reception at The Vault night club downtown Houston with live entertainment by Harmone, whose performance netted them an impending deal with film soundtrack and music video producer, Frank C. Cleveland III, with Dunamis Productions Studio.

Featured screening event, Kiddy film day was a highlight for kids out of school. Winning film, "My Purple Fur Coat," was an instant favorite, even to big kids as the festival executive director, Vanessa Morman commented about the winning piece, "The film and the lead character are adorable; a definite sitcom in the making for Disney or the Nickelodeon TV. I would welcome it in my household weekly."

The festival also consisted of a two days of panels and informative workshops. Don Kizzee, of the Producers Summit astounded attendees with his vast knowledge of the inner workings of TV and film. The festival merged film, music, game technologies, and authors together as they celebrated the quality and emergence of independent black films, filmmakers and producers. One of the main objectives of the festival was to provide a forum for published authors to dialogue with producers about adapting their book into a film which resulted in talks with attending author, Bill Butler, author of "My Silent Hurt is Over," following a pitch with Greeneback Productions and Reel Action Entertainment. Observing the pitch was film finance guru Brenda Doby. Ms. Doby is one of the premier finance professionals in the entertainment industry. She has utilized her expertise to finance over 50 films during the last ten years, that have ranged from independent ventures such as director Peter Bunches’s "Butter" and "Behind the Red Door" staring Keifer Sutherland to blockbusters such as "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". She has also financed studio Negative Pick-up transactions with all of the major studios.

Attendees were delighted at how Doby who is slated to return to the festival in February 06, was so accessible to filmmakers, producers and attendees, sitting in on ongoing panels and a couple of pitch sessions. During the awards gala, Doby detailed the inner workings of the film finance business followed by a Q&A session. Doby confessed openly to gala attendees, "After seeing "Love Trap," I knew I had to make a call." Festival director, Kaye P. Brooks stated, "We are pleased with the first showcasing and networking opportunities afforded festival attendees. We expect to see solid deals completed within the next few weeks from at least two of the films showcased at the festival. To my knowledge, Audience Award winner, "Love Trap" has several major distribution deal offerings in the works." You can hear more of Ms. Brooks’ comments on the festival wrap up during the newscast airing of her radio interview with Tyrone Campbell on 90.1 FM KPFT at 5:45pm. Tuesday, Jul 5th 2005. You can also see more on the festival in the featured article in the Houston Chronicle dated June 24th 2005.

Another highlight was the awesome and unique look at blacks in video gaming panel facilitated by William Morgan of Revelations Interactive which took attendees inside the world of technology and ancillary product development of book and film characters into video games.

Winning films Jury Awards are Best Film-Love Trap, Producer, Frank B. Goodin, Audience Award-Love Trap, Frank B. Goodin, Best Director Award- Frank B. Goodin for Love Trap,Best Short,(Tie) Something for Nothing Montae Russell,Best Short,Tie) Black Leather soles, Gordon Green, Co-producer, Howard Greene, Urban/Hip Hop, Michael Wangugu, Hip Hop Colony, Best Documentary- Endangered Species, Robert Nixon ,Best Documentary Honorable Mention-Black Theatre Today, Thea Marie Perkins, Action Suspense, Lost in Plain View, Eric Chambers, Music Video, Hard Times, Kofi Oliver, Best Animation- Ciscos's Journey. Family/Children - My Purple Fur Coat, Kathryn Busby,Stunt Coordinator, BG Films, Eric Blaze, Star achievement Award-Julius Golden, Best up & coming actor in an independent film. The festival also honored Book to Film Pioneer-Jacqulyn Thomas-"Hidden Blessings." Other honorees were actor Hill Harper, Best actor for consistently choosing projects that reflect positively on blacks. Also, Honoree-Director, (The Visit, Constellation) Jordon Walker Pearlman.

Local honorees, I’m Ready Productions founders, Je’Caryous Johnson and Gary Guidry, Houston Walk of Fame Award for their film documentary Interpretation, Heaven's Child In loving Memory of Mamie Till- Mobley on Emmett Till.

The forty seven films showcased were screened at one of the finest cultural arts museums and bookstores in Houston, The Shrine of Black Madonna Bookstore & Culture Arts Museum. The event merged urban films, through a showcase of diverse talent and skill with a high concentration on quality and craft as seen in several of the films from Houston and around the world, as Africa including winner, Urban Documentary, Hip Hop Colony. Hip Hop Colony is an educational well-paced gem which should be included in high school and college campus curriculums across the globe in an effort to dispel stereotypes about our kinship to Kenya, and about African Diaspora," Morman added.

Plans are underway for the February 2006 festival which will return the festival to its regular month since its postponement due to a conflict in its previous scheduling around the Conoco-Phillips Race during the Rodeo at Minute Maid Park last February coupled with the festival’s film’s being rescheduled in order for the ‘Ocsar’ films to be showcased at the Angelika Film Center & Café. The upcoming festival will include a tribute to the nostalgia era with films starring such greats as Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge and Eartha Kitt, encompassing a nostalgia themed attire awards gala and a classic film presentation along with a brief tribute to Oscar Micheaux, and Imitation of Life’s, Hattie McDaniel. Also, a special screening and planned cast meet and greet of "Contradictions of the Heart" produced by February 06 panelist Dawn Carter of Fox Pictures and of Doneyln Productions, which just wrapped principle filming. An element not included this year festival attendees can look forward to in February is the screenwriters/script contest and award.


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