03 Jul 2014


Black cinema comes to life in film screenings & discussions for local community

BOCA RATON, Fla.—(July 3, 2014)—The Boca Black Film Festival has gathered together local experts in film, TV and cinema arts for their three-day film fest, July 17 – 19. The inaugural film festival is open to the entire South Florida community and neighboring areas, and includes panel discussions, film screenings and educational sessions on independent filmmaking, voice- overs, product placement and the new digital filmmaker’s toolbox.
Each day has a theme to support the Boca Black Film Festival’s cinema arts & education mission. As such, an array of selections for the young and the young-at-heart are available for those who want to gain knowledge, information and insight into the entertainment industry. The film and scriptwriting competition was only open to persons of black heritage, but that competition has now closed.

On Thursday, July 17, from 5 – 8:00 p.m., the “Culture, Heritage & Legacy” theme plays out at Palm Beach State College with a panel discussion, short films and a special screening of the documentary Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood.

On Friday, July 18, “The Grit & the Grind” provides a number of sessions aimed to reach a diverse, up-and-coming student and young adult audience of aspiring actors and filmmakers at the Boca Raton Marriott. There’s the middle and high school student on-site scriptwriting competition, the For Kids Only Guide to Prepping for a Great Audition and a session on animation basics and storytelling essentials. Additionally, a local talent agency will share do’s and don’ts, and a photographer will speak about professional headshots.

With a range of offerings that cover many aspects of cinema arts & education, scheduled presenters include: Dr. Tachi Egwu, filmmaker and professor, NOVA Southeastern; filmmaker Frank Eberling; actress Deltoiya Goodman; Patricia Ruiz Medina, student intern, CBS 48 Hours; film lover Michelle McKoy, founder of the Caribe Arts Fest; Trenae Floyd, the director of Miami’s Product Placement Expo and newcomer McKinson Souverain, the ABFF 2014 Webisode Challenge winner. Panel discussions include Black Images in Film, Women in Film and To Be Young, Driven & Black Male.

The opening night special screening celebrates the groundbreaking works of Oscar Micheaux in Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood. The executive producer Frances Presley Rice will share the intricacies of the Florida-based company’s documentary work. Micheaux was revolutionary for using motion pictures to communicate and create, and portray blacks in a greater complexity. In the early 1900s, Oscar Micheaux single-handedly raised capital with small donations (like today’s Kickstarter or Crowdfunder) to produce independent films that portrayed educated black Americans and yet, covered issues within race and society.
Micheaux’s works were in direct contradiction to the early film work of D. W. Griffith that incensed race relations with exaggerated, unintelligent portrayals of early 20th century blacks. Birth of a Nation is critically acclaimed for the pioneering art form of feature-length film. However, as was custom in that era, white actors were in black face in highly stereotypical roles Oscar Micheaux is credited as being the first African-American to produce a feature-length film and used black actors extensively, like the legendary Paul Robeson.
Florida-based filmmaker Frank Eberling has a career that spans 40 years. On Thursday evening, he will share his short documentary piece on Zora Neale Hurston who was an author, folklorist and storyteller with writings and recording on the oral culture of the South, particularly, rural blacks. She was closely connected to the Harlem Renaissance and yet, epitomized the struggling artist. She died destitute in Ft. Pierce, and remained in an unmarked grave for more than 10 years. A young Alice Walker became enamored with Hurston’s works and purchased a headstone in 1973. Oprah Winfrey produced Hurston’s seminal work in African-American and women’s literature, “Their Eyes were Watching God,” as a made-for-TV adaptation in 2005.

“There’s a lot to be learned throughout our collective almost 100-year history of filmmaking, from race films to black films to where do we go from here,” said Lizabeth Martin, Festival Founder & Director. “Our history is American history and we need to continue to use this medium as a form of artistic and cultural expression for the next generation.”

The African-American Women in Cinema (South Florida branch), the Palm Beach Film & TV Commission and SAG-AFTRA (Miami Local) are also supporting partners with the Boca Black Film Festival to bring high-quality educational sessions and collaborative engagements to aspiring actors and film lovers throughout the community.

The Family & Friends rate now offers a 50% discount ($100) to guests and attendees that stay on site at the Boca Raton Marriott and provide hotel registration confirmation. The Awards Luncheon is $35. Festival registration is still ongoing and hotel reservations can be booked through the film festival site at www.BocaBlackFilm.org.

The Boca Black Film Festival is the premier creative arts and educational film fest that specifically celebrates and champions independent film works created, designed and inspired by persons of black heritage. The organization strives for authenticity and originality in promoting and screening film works. The Boca Black Film Festival celebrates the imaginative, organically grown, perspective that is uniquely black American.

Media Contact:
Dhima Days @ 561-235-3028 Dhima@BocaBlackFilm.org