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Gibbs, Ragsdale win top Juneteenth Film Festival directing awards

Roundtree, Reid, Bishop Jakes and Elise honored at 3rd annual black film showcase

Two filmmakers – from Dallas and Los Angeles – took top honors for best documentary and best short feature film categories, respectively, as the Juneteenth Film Festival (JFF) Awards and Tribute show completed a third successful season. (Please visit

Angela Gibbs, LA-based daughter of actress Marla Gibbs, won the best short film award with The Ties That Bind, a story of a young woman’s difficult relationship with her mother and its impact on her as an adult. Dallas native Q. Ragsdale, director of a subject analysis surrounding a Dallas community leader -- No Ways Tired: Kathlyn Gilliam -- won best documentary. 18 films submitted from across North America competed for top festival honors.

JFF’s highest tribute honor for Lifetime Achievement was bestowed on legendary actor Richard Roundtree, who shared thoughts on his legacy in film and television with more than 1000 attendees at the Naomi Bruton Theatre in downtown Dallas. Noting anecdotes of how some members of his family supported, but others doubted his professional career choice, he emoted: "I know I can look them square in the eye and be proud of what I've put on film." A perspective by Sidney Poitier, Sheila Frazier and Bill Duke reflected Roundtree’s character portrayals in Shaft, Once Upon A Time ... When We Were Colored and numerous film and TV roles.

Filmmaker of the Year honors went to Bishop T.D. Jakes for his work in the independent movie Woman Thou Art Loosed, (2004) starring Kimberly Elise, who is JFF’s 2006 Brightest Star award recipient. Director/actor Tim Reid, and his wife, actress Daphne Maxwell-Reid, accepted the “Junie” for the annual Emancipation Series award for Once Upon A Time ... When We Were Colored.

Festival producer Kennedy Barnes said the work of all honorees resonate resilience and respect earned by the artists from the industry and audiences. “Mr. Roundtree’s place in American cinema has been under served despite the positive influence made on young and mature audiences in North America’s urban and rural areas and internationally,” Barnes said. “Ms. Elise’s powerful performances and the perseverance of Bishop Jakes personifies both on film and daily life reflects breakthroughs from historic stereotypes and limited access to film making for black talent.”

"We take for granted nowadays leading roles played by African American film makers, in front of and behind the camera," Barnes said. "But Richard was breaking ground and changing paradigms before anyone else. Kimberly and Bishop Jakes are carrying it forward. With that, Dallas’ positioning for film and entertainment projects and local talent base is growing accordingly. "

KiKi Shepard, hostess of ceremonies and JFF co-chair, sends thanks to the festival’s returning sponsors Countrywide Mortgage Financial, American Airlines, Columbia College Chicago, Hyatt Regency at Reunion, Enterprise Rent A Car, i10 Media, The Design Factory, Mbarnesdesign, South Dallas Cultural Center, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and NTheKnow, and the support of over 10 new organizations, including Phonz on Wireless (a Metro PCS authorized dealer), The Dallas Morning News, WFAA-TV, Junie Productions LLC, Absolutely Blooming, Chocolate Secrets, Kelley & Witherspoon LLP, Mary Kay, Texas Black Film Commission and Xocolatl Room.

Entertainment by The Dallas Black Dance Theatre, celebrating its 30-year anniversary in the community, and musical performances by Martha Burks, Fred Hammond and Mary McMeans provided contrast to A.J. Jamal’s comedy and dramatic delivery by the Ebony Emerald Classic Theatre under the direction of Akin Babatunde’ for a well-rounded and popular tribute.

Film screenings and one-on-one discourse with renowned filmmakers Charles Burnett, (To Sleep with Anger) Jordan Walker-Pearlman (Constellation), Reid and directors with films in competition were held at Fair Park’s Magnolia Room, midtown’s Angelika Film Center and downtown Dallas’ Hyatt Hotel at Reunion (returning host hotel) and provided the daily catalysts for patrons over the three-day showcase, June 15 - 18.

Juneteenth, an ironic celebration of former Texas slaves and ancestors learning of the Emancipation Proclamation – and their freedom -- some two and a half years late, June 19, 1865, is a state holiday. The Juneteenth Film Festival Foundation and Junie! Productions are solely responsible for content and efforts for the annual Dallas-based festival, bridging gaps and creating venues for cinematic efforts featuring African American filmmakers, talent and their audiences.

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