Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo lift Urbanworld Film Festival


The 20th annual Urbanworld Film Festival (www.urbanworld.org), presented by Revolt with founding sponsor HBO, is one of the largest competitive film festivals and is designed to advance the presence and impact of diverse content creators.

All screenings took place at Manhattan’s AMC Empire 25, 234 W. 42nd St. The festival screened more than 68 films, including Disney’s Queen of Katwe.

Queen of Katwe, directed by Mira Nair, stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Tony® nominee and Academy Award® winner Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga. The film is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

The Sept. 22 screening was followed by a Q-and-A with Oyelowo, one of Urbanworld’s 2016 festival ambassadors, and Nair.

Audiences at the UrbanWorld Film Festival got a first look at the highly anticipated New Edition biopic set to premiere on BET in January 2017.

The network is presenting “The New Edition Story” as a three-part miniseries that chronicles the Boston group’s upbringing and rise to fame.

The film stars Bryshere Y. Gray (“Empire”), Elijah Kelley (“The Butler,” “The Wiz Live!”), Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Luke James, Keith Powers (“Straight Outta Compton”), Algee Smith (“Let It Shine”) and Woody McClain (“Autographs”).

During the festival, exclusive clips from the series were previewed and New Edition also participated in a Q-and-A session along with members of the cast.

“With Revolt as our presenting partner and HBO as founding partner, we are honored to elevate and showcase an inclusive representation of talented storytellers,” said Gabrielle Glore,
festival director and head of programming, Urbanworld Film Festival. “In our 20th anniversary year, Urbanworld’s curated selections highlight content from around the world, enabling the
festival to further expand the gaze on the many distinct voices that deserve to be heard. We are proud to be a welcoming home for filmmakers, film enthusiasts and industry partners, all
of whom return to Urbanworld to celebrate the artistry and craft of filmmaking.”

Under the short section, the buzz is strong around the award winning short Balcony, by Harlem-based filmmaker Toby Fell-Holden.

Fell-Holden has been called a “breakout talent” and “courageous” as his film Balcony explores the complicated veils of prejudice swirling around the Muslim communities and LBGTQ issues in our modern society.

Below are other highlights from the Urbanworld 2016 film slate:

Class Divide, directed by Marc Levin, presented by HBO Documentary Films

Black, directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, presented by Saboteur Media


Loved Like This, directed by Christopher Lewis Dawkins (U.S. premiere)

Madaran, directed by Rayka Zehtabchi (East Coast premiere)


72 Hours: A Brooklyn Love Story? Directed by Raafi Rivero (New York premiere)

Chee & T, directed by Tanuj Chopra (East Coast premiere)


Dar Noir (Tanzania) – Directed by Hamadi Mwapachu (U.S. premiere)

Gidi Blues (Nigeria) – Directed by Femi Odugbemi (U.S. premiere)


Beatbox Boom Bap Around the World (France/Germany/U.S.) – Directed by Pascal Tessaud (U.S. premiere)


[Re]defined, directed by Danae Grandison (New York premiere)

Balcony, directed by Toby Fell-Holden

Chameleon, directed by Reza Dahya (New York premiere)

For more information, visit www.urbanworld.org.

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