VENUE: New York’s AMC Empire 25.
DATE: September 19-23, 2018
The 22nd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival has added Steve McQueen’s Widows starring Viola Davis and the Amandla Stenberg-starring The Hate U Give to its film screening slate. The event, presented by AT&T’s The Humanity of Connection and founding partner HBO, will take place September 19-23 at New York’s AMC Empire 25.
The Hate U Give, directed by George Tillman Jr., is based on The New York Times best-selling book by Angie Thomas. Stenberg headlines as Starr Carter, described per the press release as “a girl constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends.” When police kill her best friend Khalil (Algee Smith), Starr has to come into her own to stand up for her friend and justice. After the September 22 screening, a conversation with Tillman, Stenberg and Smith will take place, moderated by Ava DuVernay.
Widows is directed by McQueen and co-written by McQueen and author Gillian Flynn and based on Lynda La Plante’s 1980s British series of the same name. The film, described as a “blistering, modern-day thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption,” follows four women (Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo and Elizabeth Debicki) who have nothing in common except the debt their deceased criminal husbands left behind. The women are left with no choice but to take matters into their hands. The film will screen on September 21. Both The Hate U Give and Widows hail from 20th Century Fox.
Other screenings occurring at the festival include a September 21 special screening of Coming to America, prefaced by a Q&A with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris, who is spearheading the film’s sequel. Barris will moderate the conversation, which is slated to include John Amos, Frankie Faison, Vondie Curtis-Hall and other stars from the film.
BET Networks’ original film Running Out of Time, starring Tasha Smith and directed by Christopher B. Stokes, will screen September 22. The film focuses on newly-widowed mother Brenda Harper, who is taken hostage with her family due to something from her husband’s past. After the screening, Smith will take part in a Q&A with the filmmakers and cast.
Also on September 22, Warner Bros. animated comedy Smallfoot, starring the voices of Zendaya, Yara Shahidi, Common, Gina Rodriguez, Channing Tatum, James Corden and Danny DeVito, will screen. The comedy takes place in a Yeti community that discovers the existence of the “smallfoot,” aka a human.
Other events include Urbanworld Digital, which will take place on September 21 at the HBO Theater. HBO will feature its Point of View campaign by holding ‘A Behind the Scenes POV’ panel discussion that will include thoughts on the creative process and storytelling with members from the Westworld crew, including associate producer Halle Phillips, writer Gina Atwater and VFX producer Liz Castro. Other panelists include actor/director Adepero Oduye, producer Donna Gigliotti and Sorry to Bother You producer Nina Yang Bongiovi. Urbanworld Music will occur on September 22, with an opening night party featuring The Roots’ Ray Angry. That same night, a co-hosted concert with Jill Newman Productions will feature Bilal and artist/actor Ayo at 7:30 p.m. at Sony Hall. Throughout the week, Everyday People will hold afterparties featuring DJs and live music.
The list of film and television stars and pop culture notables includes Night School’s Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart, Rel’s Lil Rel Howery, Luke Cage’s Mustafa Shakir and Simone Missick, The Affair’s Ramon Rodriguez, Code Black’s Boris Kodjoe, journalist Elaine Welteroth and more.