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Hey NYC! The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series Is This Weekend

Hey NYC! The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series Is This Weekend

Hey NYC! This one’s for you specifically… something to add to your weekend to-do list.

See details on the feature-rich Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series kicking off tomorrow, Saturday, October 24, through Sunday October 25. 

For a full schedule of events as well as ticket information, visit or


Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series will present more than 30 diverse films that are guaranteed to inspire, uplift and spark dinner time conversations among family and friends. The festival will be held October 24-25, 2015 at LIU’s Brooklyn campus, at Flatbush and Dekalb Aves.  Screenings will take place in the Salena Gallery’s screening rooms and Kumble Theater. For schedule and tickets, visit / or call 718-488-1624 / 347-534-3304.

To cite just a few notable films screening this year, narratives include: Across the Tracks, a tale about two African-American sisters growing up in 1960s Georgia where one changes her destiny by passing for white; Lia, a coming of age story about a 15-year-old girl with sickle cell anemia; and Forgiving Chris Brown, a dark comedy on sweet revenge inspired by “Rihanna”, “Halle” and “Tina.” Some documentaries in the line up are Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band, a critically acclaimed portrait on the life and music of one of jazz’s greatest unsung innovators [trailer below]; La Belle Vie: The Good Life is a filmmaker’s journey to discover her Haitian roots by examining the complexities of the Haitian society [trailer below]; The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo, which explores the artistic contributions of Africa’s foremost woman writer over seven decades [trailer below]; and Amen: The Life And Music of Jester Hairston, a story on the famed Jester Hairston who popularized the spiritual.

On Oct. 24, 7 pm in the Kumble Theater, Reel Sisters will join Calabar Imports and Haiti Cultural Exchange in presenting a special screening of Jimmy Goes to Nollywood directed by award-winning Haitian actor Jimmy Jean-Louis. This witty and insightful documentary takes a look at Nollywood, the world’s second largest film industry. Atim Annette Oton, CEO of Calabar Imports, will host a discussion on Nollywood’s appeal and goal to expand its global market. She will be joined by Ogugua Iwelu, a US and Nigerian based Producer, Consultant, Management, Activist who began his career at the 1977 FESTAC in Lagos, and Jonathan Adewumi, the Founder/President of the Nigerian Film Festival (NYC) who is expanding the reach of the Nigerian film industry in America.

Film lovers can take a break from a day of film viewing to enjoy the festival’s lecture series presentation. On Sat., Oct. 24, 3 pm, award-winning journalist Alexis Garrett Stodghill will moderate “Good Love! (Re)presentations of Love and Sex in Black Women’s Cinema,” a panel discussion on how Black women’s relationships are portrayed in film. Featured guests include Michèle Stephenson, the director of American Promise; Nefertite Nguvu, the director of the award-winning In The Morning; and Yoruba Richen, the director of The New Black, which aired on PBS’ Independent Lens in 2014.

On Sunday, Oct. 25, 6:30 pm, Reel Sisters will close the festival with an awards ceremony. The festival will present the first Reel Sisters Hattie McDaniel Award to honorees Jessica Williams, the beloved correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Ebony Jo-Ann, award-winning actress noted for her role as Ma Rainey in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Popular comedy sketch troupe American Candy will perform at the gala. Nancy Giles, the Emmy award-winning commentator CBS Sunday Morning, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Reel Sisters Film Festival offers affordable ticket prices. A one-day pass is $20 and a section pass is $10. Awards ceremony tickets are $35. Purchase tickets at the website Reel Sisters looks forward to celebrating 18 years with film lovers from across the tri-state area.

A Brooklyn-based film festival founded by African Voices magazine and LIU Brooklyn Campus, Reel Sisters is dedicated to supporting women of color filmmakers.  The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival is supported, in part, by Council Members Councilmember Jumaane Williams (35 C.D.) and Laurie Cumbo (45 C.D.), New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Brooklyn ALOFT, Centric/BET Networks and Brooklyn Arts Council. Calabar Imports, Harlem World Magazine, Haiti Cultural Exchange, Caribbean Film Academy, Black Documentary Collective and New York Women In Film & Television are community partners.


1 – “The Lady Who Swings the Band”


– “La Belle Vie: The Good Life”

– “The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo”

– ” Amen: The Life And Music of Jester Hairston” (Not a trailer, but an intro and some footage from the documentary)

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