The 18th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival today announced a spotlight conversation with acclaimed festival alumni, writer/director Ava DuVernay, in her first public dialogue about her upcoming film, SELMA. One of the most exciting new voices in American cinema, DuVernay will also present never-before-seen clips of SELMA exclusively at Urbanworld. This special event, moderated by Urbanworld Executive Producer Gabrielle Glore, will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. at Manhattan’s AMC Loews 34th Street 14.
“It is such an honor to have Ava join us at this year’s festival to share clips and insights on her latest cinematic accomplishment, SELMA,” said Glore. “Ava’s relationship with Urbanworld over the last decade has evolved from festival publicist to first time director to award-winning filmmaker. From the premiere of her first short film, Saturday Night Life, to her first documentary feature, This Is The Life, to her narrative features I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere, Ava has found a home at Urbanworld, exposing our festival-goers to distinctive and diverse stories traditionally underrepresented in the industry. We look forward to giving our audience an up close and personal look at what’s next in her body of work with SELMA.”
SELMA, from Paramount Pictures, Pathe and Harpo Films, stars David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Touissant, Common, Giovanni Ribisi, Andre Holland, Colman Domingo, Wendell Pierce, Tessa Thompson, Keith Stanfield, Stephan James and Alessandro Nivola with Tom Wilkinson and Oprah Winfrey and chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The film will be released by Paramount Pictures on December 25, 2014.
Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay was honored with the 2013 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and the Tribeca Film Institute 2013 Affinity Award for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere. Her previous films include the critically-acclaimed feature I Will Follow and the celebrated documentaries This is The Life, Venus Vs for ESPN, My Mic Sounds Nice for BET, along with John Legend Interludes Live and Essence Music Festival for TV One. In 2013, she directed ABC’s Scandal, as well as acclaimed fashion and beauty films for Prada and Fashion Fair Cosmetics. DuVernay is the founder of AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and a board member for Film Independent, Imagenation and the Sundance Institute.
A screening of ISA, hosted by Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo, has also been added to the festival. The film is directed by Jose Nestor Marquez and follows Isa Reyes (Jeanette Samano) who thinks she’s a normal American teenager until she discovers that a chip in her brain is causing her dreams to merge with reality. When Isa is kidnapped by a company that wants to exploit her powerful dreams, her friends Nataly Gomez (Sabi) and Officer Diaz (Eric Ochoa) come to her aid. Together they uncover a conspiracy that spans from the forests of Mexico to Wall Street. Sabi is confirmed to host the special late night screening onFriday, September 19, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Focusing on diversity in the urban action film genre, Michael Jai White will be a featured guest at a Q&A session that will follow a screening of his film Falcon Rising, the story of an ex-marine (played by White) who travels to the slums of Brazil to hunt down the Yakuza after the brutal beating of his sister (Laila Ali). Cinemax® and The Urban Action Showcase & Expo are sponsoring the event slated for Friday, September 19, 2014 at 10:00 p.m.
Also confirmed to participate in the festival, Best Man Holiday director Malcom Lee will moderate the panel discussion with the stars and filmmakers from the opening night film Beyond the Lights on Thursday, September 18, 2014; Bravo’s Fashion Queens co-host Bevy Smith will moderate the clips and conversation event for Addicted on Friday, September 19, 2014 and commentator Marc Lamont Hill will co-host the festival’s invitation-only awards brunch along with Tony® nominated actress Condola Rashad on Sunday, September 21, 2014.
For the complete slate of films, film synopsis, ticket information and daily updates on the nation’s largest competitive multicultural film festival, September 17–21, 2014 in New York, visit www.urbanworld.org.