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The Urbanworld Film Festival announces 2011 slate

The Urbanworld Film Festival Presented by BET Networks Announces 2011 Festival Slate & Celebrates 15th Anniversary

The 15th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival (, presented by BET Networks, announced today that the world premiere of Diane Paragas' and Nelson George's Brooklyn Boheme (Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Branford Marsalis, Rosie Perez, Saul Williams) will serve as Opening Night selection for the festival, which will take place September 14-18, 2011 in midtown Manhattan at AMC 34th Street.

BET Networks returns for a fourth year as presenting sponsor along with founding sponsor HBO, who will host the Urbanworld Digital program again this year.

Alrick Brown's Kinyarwanda, a feature narrative based on the 1994 Rwandan genocide, is the festival's Closing Night Selection. Kinyarwanda earned the World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and is also the second release (in theatres November 2011) from AFFRM (African American Film Festival Releasing Movement), an Urbanworld partner.

The nation's largest competitive multicultural film festival, Urbanworld also announced its 2011 official selections for the narrative feature, documentary feature, documentary short, and narrative short categories. The festival will screen 58 films, including 17 world premieres.

Highlights of Urbanworld 2011 include: the Horne Brothers' The Start of Dreams, a documentary set in the world of Broadway and starring Kenny Leon, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and more; Ty Hodges' You, Me & the Circus, produced by Omar Epps; Parrish Smith's The Scroll, a documentary featuring T.D. Jakes, Rev. Al Sharpton, Bishop Eddie Long, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. A.R. Bernard and more; Victoria Mahoney's Yelling to the Sky, starring Zoe Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe; Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation, a production of Vh1 Rock Docs in association with Prodigious Media; narrated/executive produced by Ice-T and starring Snoop Dogg, Rza, Raekwon, ?uestlove, Too $hort and Chuck D; and the season two premiere of HBO Presents: How to Make It In America, starring Kid Cudi.

In addition, the festival will present the work of five Urbanworld Screenplay Competition finalists in live readings. This private event will be hosted by BET Networks, the sponsor of the screenplay competition category, as well as the 2nd Annual BET / Urbanworld Teleplay competition, both of which deliver a $5,000 prize to the winner. Finalists include: After the Storm written by Cole Wiley; Blackbird written by David Polk; My Heart Skipped a Beat written by R. Shanea Williams; The Divide written by Rashmi Singh; and By My Boot Straps written by Debra Azemar.

"We are proud to enter our 15th year of celebrating the artistry and genius of multicultural films and filmmakers from around the globe," said Stacy Spikes, founder of Urbanworld. "Once again, BET's and HBO's invaluable partnerships will allow us to bring more than 17 world premieres to a national audience."

"BET Networks is thrilled to support the 15th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival celebrating the amazing creativity and work of such talented filmmakers," said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks. "This is the leading showcase for multicultural films, many of which connect with our audience, and we applaud the Urbanworld® Foundation Inc. for its continuous leadership in redefining the multicultural roles in the world of film entertainment."

Urbanworld Film Festival 2011 Roster

Opening Night:

Brooklyn Boheme, directed by Diane Paragas and Nelson George – World Premiere

Closing Night:

Kinyarwanda, directed by Alrick Brown – New York Premiere


HBO Presents: How To Make It In America – Sneak Peak, Season 2 Episodes
I Want My Name Back, directed by Roger Paradiso – Work In Progress
Mamitas, directed by Nicholas Ozeki – New York Premiere
Outside In: The Story of Art in the Streets, directed by Alex Stapleton – East Coast Premiere
Vh1's Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation, Directed by Rob Lowe and Martin Torgoff – World Premiere

Narrative Features:

Life Love Soul, directed by Noel Calloway – New York Premiere
Make A Movie Like Spike, directed by Jamil Walker Smith – New York Premiere
Restless City, directed by Matthew Parker
Yelling to the Sky, directed by Victoria Mahoney
You, Me & The Circus, directed by Ty Hodges – East Coast Premiere

Documentary Features:

Love Arranged, directed by Soniya Kirpalani – World Premiere
Sole of a Hustla, directed by Chad Heeter – New York Premiere
Sonia Sanchez: Shake Loose Memories, directed by Jamal Joseph – World Premiere
The Learning, directed by Ramona Diaz
The Scroll, directed by Parrish Smith – New York Premiere
The Start of Dreams, directed by The Horne Brothers – New York Premiere
Zero Percent, directed by Tim Skousen – New York Premiere

Documentary Shorts:

Common Ground, directed by Holli Fifer – World Premiere
Jamaica House, directed by Al Graag – World Premiere
Love Lockdown, directed by Nadia Hallgren
The Line of Departure, directed by Folleh Tamba – New York Premiere
The Rhythm of My Life – Ismael Sankara, directed by Franck Onouviet & Marc A. Tchicot – US Premiere

Narrative Shorts:

A Higher Power, directed by Jacolby Percy – East Coast Premiere
Black Bayou, directed by Jonas Carpignano – New York Premiere
Black Swan Theory, directed by Nikyatu Jusu
The Boxer, directed by David Au – East Coast Premiere
Bump, directed by Rodney Lee – World Premiere
Burned, directed by Phyllis Toben Bancroft – New York Premiere
Camilo, directed by Rafael Salazar Moreno – World Premiere

Counterfeit, directed by Geoff Bailey – New York Premiere
Crazy Beats Strong Every Time, directed by Moon Molson – New York Premiere
Digital Antiquities, directed by J.P. Chan – World Premiere
Homage to Bela, A Prelude, directed by Randy Wilkins – World Premiere
Jemila's Tale, directed by Christina L. Bryant – World Premiere
Jerk Chicken, directed by Samuel Stewart – US Premiere
Karim, directed by Carl Seaton – World Premiere
L.A. Coffin School, directed by Erin Li – New York Premiere
Men in Love, directed by Keith Davis
Reform, directed by Jamal Caesar – World Premiere
Silencio Fuerte, directed by Ozzy Villazon – New York Premiere
The Man In The Glass Case, directed by Maxwell Addae – World Premiere
The Package, directed by Natasha Parker – World Premiere
The Street Performer, directed by Lamont Stephens – World Premiere
The Tombs, directed by Jerry LaMothe – New York Premiere
Underground, directed by Akil DuPont – East Coast Premiere
Wake, directed by Bree Newsome
When Cars Sing, directed by Fabien Ortiz – World Premiere
Wolf Call, directed by Rob Underhill – New York Premiere

Screenplay Finalists:

BLACKBIRD – David Polk
MY HEART SKIPPED A BEAT – R. Shanea Williams
THE DIVIDE – Rashmi Singh
BY MY BOOT STRAPS – Debra Azemar

Narrative Shorts Jurors

Alyce Myatt – Director of Media Arts, NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)
Tambay Obenson – Filmmaker, Film Critic and Creator, Shadow & Act
Effie T. Brown – Producer (Rocket Science)

Narrative Features Jurors

Lauren Craniotes – VP of Productions, Sony Pictures
Barry Jenkins – Writer & Director (Medicine for Melancholy)
Stephanie Allain – Producer (Hustle & Flow)
Dori Begley – Director of Acquisitions, Magnolia Pictures
Roger Bobb – President, Bobbcat Films (House Of Payne)

Documentary Shorts & Features Jurors

Jeff Zimbalist – Writer & Director (Favela Rising)
Jackie Glover – VP of Documentary Films, HBO
Valerie Watts Meraz – VP of Content Acquisitions, Showtime Networks

Screenplays Jurors

Moikgantsi Kgama – Founder, ImageNation
Jae Kim – Senior Director of Original Programming, BET Networks
Glendon Palmer – VP of Development, Our Stories Films
Paul Hall – CEO/Founder, Paul Hall Productions (For Colored Girls)
Ava DuVernay – Writer, Director, & Producer (I Will Follow)

Teleplay Jurors

Jae Kim – Senior Director of Original Programming, BET Networks
Tamara Gregory – Senior Director, Original Programming, BET Networks
Rickey Austyn Biggers – Senior Director of Development for BET Networks


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