Twin Cities Black Film Festival offers romance, suspense and reality
Kristin Tillotson, Star Tribune
The film “In Search of the Black Knight” is a lighthearted look at a red-hot topic among black professional women — a perceived shortage of suitable black men. The documentary sets the tone Thursday for the Twin Cities Black Film Festival.
While this year’s fest runs the gamut from a Civil War-era drama to present-day violence in Chicago, a strong focus on relationships runs throughout, said organizer Natalie Morrow.
“Love, romance, infidelity, we’ve got it all,” said Morrow, a Minneapolis event planner who started the festival 11 years ago because “I wanted a real showcase for African-Americans in film.”
The 28 films, a mix of shorts and feature-length dramas and documentaries, are being screened at Showplace Icon Theatre at St. Louis Park’s West End complex through Sunday.
The lineup includes five films shown at the Sundance Film Festival. “The Retrieval” (3:35 p.m. Sunday), about a Southern teenage boy who falls in with bounty hunters tracking runaway slaves during the Civil War, has won several awards on the fest circuit. “Middle of Nowhere” (9:45 p.m. Sunday), about a woman who gives up med school after her husband goes to prison, features up-and-coming Hollywood actor David Oyewolo and won a directing award at Sundance in 2012.
“The Suspect,” one of the newest dramas to be shown, stars Sterling K. Brown (“Army Wives,” “Person of Interest”) and prime-time TV veteran Mekhi Phifer (“ER,” “White Collar”) as social scientists who conduct a racial-dynamics experiment in a small town by posing as bank robbers. Brown will be at the screening (7:30 p.m. Saturday).
The fest gets some local flavor from a short doc called “Firsts: Minnesota’s African-American Groundbreakers” (11:30 a.m. Saturday), which precedes a program of shorts made by Minnesota directors, most of whom will attend.
Not all of the filmmakers in the lineup are black.
“This is a multicultural festival,” Morrow said. “We have a diverse group of filmmakers, but the films are about the African-American and African experiences.”
Two moving selections shot in Africa are the half-hour doc “Small, Small Thing” (2:05 p.m. Saturday), the powerful story of a Liberian girl who was raped at age 5 and died from her injuries several years later, and “30%” (4 p.m. Saturday), a look at women’s efforts to influence politics in Sierra Leone.
The festival has a strong social element as well, with parties Thursday, Friday and Sunday at the theater’s lounge and a Saturday-night fashion show to be held at Faces Mears Park in St. Paul themed around Kerry Washington’s hit TV show “Scandal.”
The Twin Cities is a major hub for the arts in the Midwest and Thursday starts a three-day run for a festival that celebrates the cultural perspective of African American filmmakers.
Natalie Morrow, founder of the Twin Cities Black Film Festival talked with Rusty Gatenby about some of the film festival’s attractions.
The documentary “In Search of the Black Knight” by Tamara Makonnen will open the festival.
Over the last decade, the festival has showcased more than 300 film makers as well as 450 films, shorts and documentaries.
Friday, October 10
7:00pm BET Presents Twin Cities Black Film Festival Hollywood Fashion Show. Fashion by Moods of Norway at Mall of America, Minnesota’s Own & Dahil Republic of Couture.
Suggested Donation: $15
VIP: $30 Includes preferred seating and a Glam Bag. Grey Goose drink specials! Glam Bags sponsored by Aveda, Steve Madden, Grey Goose, Hempz, Cole Haan, Warner Bros and many more!
Seven Sushi Ultra Bar & SkyBar
700 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Saturday, October 11
11:30am Mamas Own
12:00pm Planned Parenthood A Vital Service (Sponsored by Planned Parenthood)
12:30pm Transcending Surgeon (Sponsored by Black Association of Doctors)
1:30pm Why Do You Have Black Dolls?
2:00pm Breakfast (Director Present)
2:25pm I am From (Director Present)
3:30pm Little White Lie Director present via Skype
4:50pm CRU (Actor Keith Robinson and Director present)
8:00pm TCBFF Soirée and Listening Party/ Sensational Saturdays
Brought to you by BET & Patron
Faces Mears Park – 373 N. Sibley, St. Paul, MN
Meet recording artist Keith Robinson and Listen to the
smooth sounds of his CD “Famous”
Sunday October 12 Schedule: Radisson Blu MOA
11:55am Welcome Remarks
12:00pm The Heartbroken Rainbow
12:45pm The Bravest The Boldest
1:10pm Made in America
2:50pm Intellectual Intersection
3:30pm Lupita Nyongo’s In Her Genes
3:45pm Everyday Black Man
5:00pm Myra’s Angel
6:00pm Closing Night Event presented by Lexus
Closing Night Event:
Lexus Presents: Twin Cities Verses and Flow Party
Wind down with poetry and music
Special Guest Pavielle French and Chirch Crooner
Winners of the Best Short, Best Feature and Best Documentary will be announced at our Closing Night Event. Sponsored By: HBO and SONY
Radisson Blu MOA
The Nokomis Room
2100 Kilibrew Drive
Bloomington Mn 55425
Enjoy Vendors a Photo Booth, Registration Bags, Great Films, Meet and Greets, Great Networking and Much More! Make sure you follow us on Social Media!
On February 26, Natalie Morrow, Founder of the Twin Cities Black Film Festival, was honored by the Minnesota Timberwolves. At every home game during Black History Month, the Minnesota Timberwolves have honored community leaders who share the Timberwolves’ pride and in turn, enrich their community.
“I am so very honored. This was a great, prestigious honor for Black History Month,” Morrow said. Morrow, who was honored at Target Center’s center court and given an autographed basketball, has led the Film Festival since its inception some ten years ago.
Since its inception, the Twin Cities Black Film Festival has showcased over 300 filmmakers as well as 450 films, shorts and documentaries, offering emerging filmmakers and opportunity to showcase their work, and for industry professionals to discover emerging talent.
Join us for the 11th Annual Twin Cities Black Film Festival
The Twin Cities Black Film Festival is in its 11th year and still going strong. This year’s festival is scheduled from Thursday, September 26th through Sunday, Septmeber 29th. During these 4 days, participants will enjoy over 45 films including fantastic Opening and Closing Night films, shorts, feature length and Documentaries. There will be a $3000 Award each for Best Feature, Best Short and Best Documentary.
This years activities also include industry experts, a Silent Auction, 4 Festival Receptions, a Health and Wellness Seminar and a Hollywood Fashion Show.
Among this year’s sponsors are : HBO, Sony, Showplace Icon theatre, The Microsoft Store, K&G Fashion Superstore, Delta Airlines, Black Enterprise & Radisson Blu Hotels,