General Motors sponsored the 19th annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival

General Motors sponsored the 19th annual Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival
Award-winning actress Lynn Whitfield, Telva McGruder, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for General Motors; Oscar Award-winner Spike Lee; and Grace Gibson (Photo Credit: Andrea Stinson)

The 19th annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival (MVAAFF), presented by General Motors and produced by Run & Shoot Filmworks, concluded its nine-day film festival on August14,with a robust line up of screenings, programming, network first looks and insightful conversations. Established in 2002, the Academy Award®-accredited MVAAFF is an event where independent and established African American filmmakers can showcase, screen, and promote emerging feature, documentary, and short films from across the world. The brainchild of the husband-and-wife team, Floyd and Stephanie Rance, the MVAAFF provides a nurturing environment for African American filmmakers to test their creativity.

Festival attendees included Academy Award®-Director Spike Lee, director and Academy- Award®-winning actress Regina King, award-winning writer/producer/director Kenya Barris, director Marcus A. Clarke, Questlove, President and CEO of the National Urban League Marc H. Morial, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, White House Correspondent for The Grio.TV April Ryan, NAACP Image Award-winner, Morris Chestnut, TV personality and author Bevy Smith, director, Sacha Jenkins, and NAACP Image Award-winner Lynn Whitfield.

Presenting sponsor General Motors (GM) sponsored an engaging discussion on The Path to Inclusivity: Diversity Conversation featuring Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and was moderated by General Motors Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Telva McGruder.

“To experience the best of Black film, art and culture in the heart of Martha’s Vineyard was simply inspiring,” said Telva McGruder, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at GM. “We were honored to be the leading sponsor during such a historic year and look forward to supporting the MVAAFF in the future.”

General Motors Cadillac brand partnered with entertainment giants, Oscar-winning director Spike Lee and Academy Award-winning actress Regina King, both of whom helped to promote the introduction of the latest fifth-generation 2021 Cadillac Escalade. MVAAFF co-founder Stephanie T. Rance moderated The Color of Conversation: Femme Forward in Film talk featuring Cadillac brand ambassador King, while Lee co-hosted the highly anticipated Director’s Brunch along with co-founder of MVAAFF Floyd Rance.

During the Director’s brunch, Lee gave words of encouragement to the independent filmmakers in attendance, “If you want to be a filmmaker, there’s no excuse. You can edit on your phone or computer. If you want to be a storyteller, then be a storyteller. You have to make up your mind and make a commitment. Is this what you want to do for the rest of your life or are you faking the funk.”

Other GM sponsored activities  included a networking mixer with GM’s talent acquisitions and public policy teams as well as Cadillac Day, where attendees enjoyed Cadillac’s brand Equity and Justice partner’s products including Ellis Isle Tea and other minority owned products including Equity Water, Oh-Mazing granola, Symphony potato chips and Dang bars.

The festival came to a close on Saturday, August 14, but promised to be back for its 20 year anniversary milestone year. To view talk backs from the event, visit and to find out more information about the festival, visit Be sure to view the photo gallery below and leave your comments in the comment section. Will you be attending next year?

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Watch this video
What's new
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x