Actress Kerry Washington is poised to own this year's 14th annual Urbanworld Film Festival, presented by BET Networks. Not only will she serve as the festival's ambassador, but she plays the lead in Tanya Hamilton's "Night Catches Us," which is slated to open the festival, that runs from September 16 to 19 in NYC. The world premiere of Ava DuVernay's "I Will Follow," will close the festival.
This year will see Urbanworld screen a total of 71 films, 22 of which will be making their world premieres. Highlights in the lineup include Nadil Elderkin's "Bouncing Cats," narrated by rapper/actor Common with Mos Def and Black Eyed Pea will.i.am; Qasim Basir's "Mooz-lum," starring Danny Glover and Nia Long; and Madeleine Sackler's "The Lottery," which explores the reasons behind the failures of the American public school system.
"This year’s program is rooted in our original mission: to shine a light on films and filmmakers whose artistic excellence is too often overlooked elsewhere,” said Stacy Spikes, founder of Urbanworld. “Through our partnership with BET, we are thrilled to introduce more than 20 world premieres in a true celebration of bright, bold multicultural filmmaking.”
In addition to the screenings, the festival will present the work of five Urbanworld Screenplay Competition finalists in live readings. Finalists include "Bag Ladies," written by Tai Nelson; "Gracey," written by Julian Breece; "Jean of the Joneses," written by Alison Meghie; "Knife to a Gunfight," written by Gemal Woods and "Osvaldo’s" written by Randy Wilkins.
See below for the full Urbanworld Film Festival 2010 Roster (Features):
Opening Night Selection:
"Night Catches Us," Tanya Hamilton
Closing Night Selection:
"I Will Follow," Ava DuVernay
Narrative Feature Competition:
"Bilal's Stand," Sultan Sharrief
"Callback," Kartik Singh
"Everyday Black Man," Carmen Madden
"Go For It!," Carmen Marron
"Krews," Hilbert Hakim
"Money Matters," Ryan Richmond
"Mooz-Lum," Qasim Basir
"Sus," Robert Heath
"The Inheritance," Robert O'Hara
Documentary Feature Competition:
"Bouncing Cats," Nabil Elderkin
"Finding God in the City of Angels," Jennifer Jessum & Simon Joseph
"Grown in Detroit: Teen Moms, Urban Farmers," Mascha & Manfred Poppenk
"Ni Wakati (It's Time)," Michael Wanguhu
"Streetball," Demetrius Wren
"Osvaldo's," Randy Wilkins
For the remaining entries in the lineup, visit the festival's website.
[Bryce J. Renninger contributed to this article.]