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

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

    "Brooklyn Boheme" Selected as Opening Night Film; "Kinyarwanda" is Closing Night Selection

    PR Newswire

    NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — 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

    Spotlights: ?

    • 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: ?

    • AFTER THE STORM ? Cole Wiley
    • 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

    About Urbanworld

    The Urbanworld? Film Festival is the largest internationally competitive festival of its kind. The five-day festival includes features, documentaries, short films, as well as panel discussions, live staged screenplay readings, and the 2nd Annual Urbanworld? Digital, a 1-day Conference during the festival focused on digital and social media. ?Over the last fourteen years, Hollywood studios and talent-driven independent films have consistently chosen Urbanworld? to premiere box office and award-winning hits. ?Urbanworld? has also become home to some of today's top brands who wish to reach key influencers and media & entertainment leaders across the multicultural landscape. ?The Urbanworld? Film Festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld? Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes dedicated to redefining the multicultural roles in contemporary cinema, television, and online, by implementing programs and initiatives that support the development of the urban content creation community. ?Gabrielle Glore serves as Executive Producer of the Urbanworld Film Festival, as well as ancillary Urbanworld Foundation endeavors. ?For this year's 2011 festival, BET Networks returns as the Presenting Sponsor. ?HBO continues support as the Founding Sponsor. ?Media Sponsors include Vibe, Uptown,, TheUrbanDaily, Hello Beautiful, Essence, Rolling Out and Carter Magazine. ?Benefactor Sponsors include AMC Theatres, Directors Guild of America – New York, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. The festival website is

    SOURCE BET Networks