07 Jul 2014


Film Festival honors Florida’s black history and filmmaker Lyndale Pettus 

BOCA RATON, Fla.—(July 7, 2014)—It was once an idea. An idea that Professor S. Lizabeth Martin, Communications at Palm Beach State College, envisioned as a one-day concept for local students to gain first-hand insight and knowledge into film & TV during the summer break. The idea grew from educational workshop sessions and panel discussions to a promising film and screenplay competition for local black content makers that is now the Boca Black Film Festival. And this year’s inaugural 2014 film festival will culminate with an awards luncheon that will honor the achievements of new, emerging, independent filmmakers while also celebrating one Floridian of color who has worked tirelessly to make an impact in film & TV and remain local.

The Boca Black Film Festival is a three-day event held, almost exclusively, at the Boca Raton Marriott. Day one, Thursday, July 17, kicks off with a collection of films that showcase black history and a film dialogue on the history of blacks in cinema. The “Culture, Heritage & Legacy” theme continues into Friday, July 18, with a special screening of The Black Miami. Co-director Carlton Smith’s documentary covers the creation and progress of Florida’s black history in direct connection to the growth of Miami. The documentary film is based on the book, “Black Miami in the Twentieth Century” by Dr. Marvin Dunn.

Sessions and screenings aside, Professor Martin especially wanted the Boca Black Film Festival to annually recognize one local person of color who has steadfastly made headway into the entertainment industry and yet, remained in the local community or state. This year’s recipient is Lyndale Pettus, a renowned photographer and filmmaker/assistant director/producer and location manager for a number of films—2 Fast 2 Furious, Transporter 2, and top television shows—CSI Miami, The Sopranos and The Amazing Race, that have come through South Florida. He has an extensive IMDB-listing and is presently working on a major film project.

Much like Pettus, local professionals have volunteered their time to come out in support of the film festival’s mission. In addition to panel discussions and film screenings, workshop sessions and collaborations will range from animation basics, voice-overs, product placement and today’s digital toolbox to a case study on industry practices and issues. Then, there’s an actors’ schedule that includes an audition prep class for youth only, talent agency do’s and don’ts, and SAG- AFTRA (Miami Local) providing invaluable information on union membership and the low budget independent agreements.

Martin’s one goal remains the same—to celebrate black cinema, inform about the history of black cinema and showcase the talents of the official selections for the 2014 Boca Black Film Festival. “There has always been a need for diverse representation in film & television content and storylines that looks like me, my parents, my kids, and my life experiences,” Martin shared. “These stories, like Florida and James Evans on Good Times or the Huxtables on the Cosby

Show to films like Do the Right Thing and Soul Food, they can mean so much to a young person trying to find their way in this world. Diversity of perspective means that I can relate to this issue or topic and thus, I matter, and maybe, I am valued too.”

Scheduled speakers include: Dr. Tachi Egwu, documentary filmmaker and professor, NOVA Southeastern; filmmaker Frank Eberling; actress Deltoiya Goodman; Patricia Ruiz Medina, student intern, CBS 48 Hours; newcomer McKinson Souverain, the ABFF 2014 Webisode Challenge winner; Trenae Floyd, director of Miami’s Product Placement Expo; Kevin Sharpley, Kijik Multi-Media Productions and special guest, Frances Presley Rice, executive producer with Block Starz Music Television. Rice will headline a special screening of Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood on Opening Night.

“It is not enough today to just watch and enjoy ‘universal experiences’ that do not include our images. The African-American buying power is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2015, and 81% of films seen by African-American audiences do not feature a black actor, storyline or cast in prominent roles,” Martin stated. “But, these ‘universal experiences’ happen in black communities too—love, courage, faith, survival, family crisis, identity issues, coming-of-age stories, long-term health issues like AIDS and Alzheimer’s and even, race—we share the same universal life experiences. And yet, movies with black casts are often classified as black films.”

So, with a dream and a vision, plus tons of community support from organizations such as Palm Beach Film & TV Commission, SAG-AFTRA (Miami Local), the African-American Women in Cinema, and businesses such as Wells-Fargo, the first Boca Black Film Festival aims to serve the community, provide professional-level educational training and share about the amazing accomplishments made by persons of black heritage to the entertainment arts community.

The film submission deadlines have expired. But, there’s still lots to do for new, emergent and independent artists. The Family & Friends rate now offers a 50% discount ($100) to guests and attendees who stay on-site at the Boca Raton Marriott and provide reservation confirmation. The Awards Luncheon is $35. Room reservations can be made online at www.BocaBlackFilm.org.

As one of Florida’s only film festivals dedicated to the art and craft of filmmaking for black content makers, the Boca Black Film Festival organization strives for authenticity and originality in promoting and screening film works. The Festival provides balance in creative arts development, training sessions, networking, mentorship and endeavors that promote well- balanced, diverse images of color in film, television and other media venues. The Festival celebrates the imaginative, organically grown, perspective that is uniquely black American.

Media Contact:

Dhima Days @ 561-235-3028 Dhima@BocaBlackFilm.org