The 14th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival (MVAAFF), presented by Run&Shoot Filmworks, to be held from August 8–13, 2016, will feature a slate of high-caliber films from emergent filmmakers, panels, conversations and premiere events. Sponsored by HBO, Fox Searchlight Pictures, TV One, Saatchi & Saatchi, Hennessy and The Wharton Sports Business Initiative, the MVAAFF is considered to be the “Summer’s Finest Film Festival” and continues to highlight the artistry of African American filmmakers from all over the world. The films that are featured at the MVAAFF address an array of topics that stem from the African American, LGBT, Hispanic, Asian and international communities.
The MVAAFF will open, on Monday, August 8, at Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center (MVPAC), 100 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, MA, with “Citizen” – a post-modern dance performance, led by Reggie Wilson, artistic director of Fist and Heel, a Brooklyn-based dance company.
The festival’s opening night film, “Syl Johnson: Any Way The Wind Blows,” screening on Tuesday, August 9 at 2:00 p.m. at MVPAC, is a portrait of an overlooked, yet hugely influential, African American musician whose expansive career encompassed nearly every genre of black music from the blues, to soul, to funk, to hip hop. The evening will end with a screening of “Southside With You” at 7:30 p.m. at Edgartown Cinemas, 65 Main Street, Edgartown, MA. The film, written and directed by Richard Tanne, set in 1989 Chicago, is the charming and witty reimagining of the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama.
On Wednesday, August 10, at 7:00 p.m. at MVPAC, the Wharton Sports Business Initiative will present “Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ,” a biographical tribute to the former heavyweight champion and global hero, Muhammad Ali. Ali, directed by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah, draws a line between the boxer’s avid activism and the millennial generation and uncovers what the champion signifies to the current world at large.
Journalist and producer, Soledad O’Brien will explore, in the feature length documentary, “Babies Behind Bars,” a program at Washington Corrections Center for Women where women are permitted to keep their babies and raise them, for up to two years, within prison walls. The screening will take place on Thursday, August 11 at 7:00 p.m. at MVPAC.
HBO will present Issa Rae’s newest project: “Insecure” on Friday, August 12 at 5:30 p.m. at MVPAC. The series, which debuts on HBO this fall, follows the friendship of two modern-day black women and explores the life experiences that are unique to women of color.
Writer and director Deborah Riley Draper’s historically-based, “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” will screen at the MVAAFF on Saturday, August 13 at 12:00 p.m. at MVPAC. The film explores the experiences of eighteen African American Olympians who defied harsh Jim Crow laws, along with Adolf Hitler, to successfully compete in the 1936 Nazi Olympic Games in Berlin. They went on to win over ten medals, collectively.
On Saturday, August 13 at 7:00 p.m. at MVPAC, Spike Lee will lead “The Color of Conversation,” a lively discussion with Nate Parker and Aja Naomi King around the groundbreaking film, “The Birth of a Nation,” and the journey from conception to distribution. Parker’s directorial debut recounts the 1831 slave uprising commanded by Nat Turner. The film was honored at the Sundance Film Festival with the highly coveted Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Fox Searchlight has acquired the worldwide rights by closing the richest deal in Sundance history and will distribute the film in theaters this fall.
All screenings and events will take place at Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center (MVPAC) unless otherwise noted. All screenings and events are subject to change without notice.
“We are always thrilled to give filmmakers of color a platform for their art. We consider them storytellers and providing a showplace for them is paramount to my husband, Floyd and I,” says Stephanie Rance, co-founder of MVAAFF.
For more information on the MVAAFF and a complete schedule of screenings and special events, please visit www.mvaaff.com.
2016 Sponsors: HBO (Premier Sponsor); Fox Searchlight Pictures (Premiere Sponsor); TV One (Premiere Sponsor); Saatchi & Saatchi (Premier Sponsor), Hennessy (Premier Sponsor) and The Wharton Sports Business Initiative (Premier Sponsor).