The 2nd edition of the not-for-profit SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York, which runs from March 16 – 22, 2015 at Tribeca Cinemas, Maysles Cinema and SVA, will screen socially-engaging films from over 30 countries, including a few World and U.S. premieres, in addition to a slate of tributes and industry panels.
Among the films selected that raise awareness to social problems and current issues, is director Kevin Willmott’s “Destination: Planet Negro,” which will be making its New York premiere at the festival.
The satire that follows influential African American figures, W.E.B DuBois and George Washington Carver, as they time warp to the present to discover unbelievable developments, like the election of a black president. A group of black leaders during the 1930s, including even DuBois, gather for a secret meeting to discuss the “Negro Problem” in America at the time, when they decide that the only real solution is for black people to, not only leave America, but the planet altogether, and, with the help of George Washington Carver, they build a rocket ship that they plan to use to take an exploratory group to Mars, to research the possibility of such a bold undertaking. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and, instead, they wind up in present day America, to their befuddlement.
Sergio previously covered the film, calling it a “terrifically funny and very clever satire;” it made its world premiere at the Black Harvest Film Festival, in Chicago, where director Willmott was present, along with his 2 costars Tosin Morohunfola and Danielle Cooper. And they will also be present for the film’s New York premiere later this month, for a Q&A following its screening at the SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York.
The Festival was inaugurated in March 2014 with a program of 55 films from 18 countries at the Quad Cinema. Nora Armani, Actor/Filmmaker and Founding Artistic Director of SR, created the festival in response to the proliferation of violence and violent forms of storytelling.
“I strongly believe that the violence portrayed on our screens and in video games is responsible for the banalization of evil in our societies and the proliferation of violent forms of communication,” Armani said. “Most films today encourage mis-representation, reinforce stereotypes and create an escapist passive attitude in youth and adults towards major social issues. In reverse, simply by focusing more on socially relevant themes, positive social change can be promoted through the powerful medium of cinema.”
Screenings will take place at Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street; Maysles Cinema, 343 Malcolm X Blvd / Lenox Ave (Between 127th and 128th Streets); and The Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street.
Industry Panels will take place at SVA MFA SocDoc in Chelsea, 136 W 21st Street, 1st Floor, Chelsea
More highlights of films from the upcoming festival, to come, after I scrub their lineup list. In the meantime, check out the trailer for “Destination: Planet Negro.”