Monday, November 12, 2007

10th Annual African American Women in Cinema Festival

This weekend I attended the 10th Annual African American Women in Cinema (AAWIC) festival. African American Women In Cinema is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support minority women filmmakers by providing resources in the film industry.

Incorporated by the Organization's President, Terra Renee, in 2000, the objective of AAWIC is to improve cultural understanding and overall social welfare through the promotion of diversity in all filmed content in both dramatic and documentary formats.

Their Mission is to expand, explore and create opportunities for minority women filmmakers within the entertainment industry through:

To publicize and increase various resources leading to the development of the practical skills necessary to advance in the business of filmmaking and offer them to minority women seeking self-expression through the medium of film.

To encourage, promote and support talent, individual expression and diversity for the good of the individual and society as a whole.

To showcase the work of talented minority women filmmakers through the production of film festivals, script readings among other developmental projects.

To produce industry panel discussions, workshops, seminars that foster continued learning and nurture growth.

To develop a database of contacts within the film and television industry consisting of writers, producers, directors, actors, tech people and general information that would be accessible to aspiring and working filmmakers.

I attended this festival for the first time last year and I thoroughly enjoyed myself...In particular I thought the panel discussions were extremely informative and the whole "networking" aspect of the weekend...simply put...was not to be missed. On Friday evening I attended the opening reception...which included a salute to Director Kasi Lemmons and a screening of her latest project..."Talk to Me", which is the story of local DC radio DJ Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene starring Don Cheadle and the ever beautiful Taraji P. Henson. I hooked up with Timikal Bobo & Melody Louisdhon, both from Oxygen...we found some seats and chatted briefly before the movie began. I had already seen the movie on a flight from LA to NY last month but to see it on the big screen made it even more enjoyable for me. If you haven't seen it you should definitely check it out. I said my goodnights to Timikal & Melody and headed downstairs. It was rather cold and rainy on this particular night...but as I left the HBO building rocking my mink hat (thanks Hollywood!), I found myself getting excited about the next morning's workshops.

The next morning I arrived on 50th St at the New World Stages Theater for the 9am workshop called "Upclose & Personal with the Actor" which covered The Art of the Audition and how to learn what casting directors are looking for. This was the one workshop that I EAGERLY anticipated...on the panel were casting director Winsome Sinclair, acting coach Tracy Moore-Marable and Ugly Betty actress Funmi Desalu.

I overslept (Go figure.) and wound up arriving at around 9:15am. The workshop was already in progress so I quietly took a seat and proceeded to "be a sponge",lol...trying to absorb all that was being taught. The conversations and the Q & A were priceless and although I enjoyed the intimacy of the small group of us...I was dismayed at the lack of attendance at this workshop. Anyone who calls themselves an actor be it working or aspiring...should have been in that room!

I also attended the workshop that followed that was moderated by producer Crystal McCrary Anthony...the subject was "The Day in the Life of a Producer - Understanding the process of securing financing. Attendance at this one was better than the previous I had to make some appointments uptown so I missed many of the films being screened. I made it back in the middle of the screening of the very last movie entitled "Deceitful Storm". As interesting as the movie was what intrigued more was the reaction of the audience throughout this movie. THAT was REALLY interesting to

Their was a reception following with Bombay Sapphire hosting the bar with Bombay Sapphire based drinks...along with a Q&A with the producers of the movies screened. The Q&A was hosted by the beautiful Abiola Abrams and the discussion flowed well and the audience was lively. And after a amusing discussion with Timikal, Melody, Neferiti and myself...I think I managed to try most if not all of the different signature drinks...and probably created a few of my I finished my cocktail and walked to Columbus Circle and caught the train home.

I was up early the next morning to get ready to attend the Closing Awards Ceremony Brunch at 11am. I wound up having to take a taxi from 8th Avenue (because the D train was rerouted to the 8th Avenue line...THEN my taxi and I ran into traffic because of the Veterans Day was ridiculous people! I got to the restaurant at around 11:15am and managed get one of the few tables left..near the window. The brunch was a really nice display of blueberry pancakes, stuffed french toast, lox & bagels...(with all the works!!!!), fried potatoes, assorted fruits & pastries...along with Bombay Sapphire holding down the bar again. After coffee, juice & conversation...Denise Richardson of WNET, the host for the day...took the mic and welcomed us all...with a "getting to know you/introduction of all of the folks in the was a great ice breaker. The special honoree of the event was the gorgeous Tasha Smith (Why Did I Get Married). I got a chance to speak with her for a moment and take a few photos and let her know that I took one of the best acting classes EVER with her twin sis...Sidra. She is very beautiful, poised and polite but makes you feel like she is very much at home in YOUR presence...ya know? She gave a very moving speech on how she came to be the woman she is now and the turning point for her was turning it over to God. She was awesome ya'll. She also made an announcement about her upcoming workshop in NYC for more info check her out at

The entire weekend was beneficial to me and I am very glad that I participated. Congrats to Terra Renee on her 10th Anniversary....may you have many more!

Timikal - Thanks for everything! Now let's get it on & poppin mama!

"Until the lion tells his side of the story, songs of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."

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