Awards to be given out at Pure Heat

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Queer Black Film Fes­ti­val co-founder Onyx Kee­sha, also a fes­ti­val di­rec­tor, stressed that a fes­ti­val of this cal­iber was a long time in the mak­ing. With both hav­ing a back­ground in film, Wal­ter and Kee­sha felt that many films made by peo­ple of color were still be­ing over­looked by the masses, es­pe­cially in gay me­dia. This prompted the creation of the Queer Vi­sion Film Screen­ing, which started out two years ago dur­ing At­lanta Black Gay Pride week­end.

“Kee­sha and I came to­gether and col­lab­o­rated with Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen III, who over­sees the Vi­sion Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion – our main spon­sor,” Wal­ter said.

But as time wore on, the three felt it was

Ac­cord­ing to Kee­sha, there will be one nar­ra­tive fea­ture, “Red Car­pet, Hash­tags & Heart­break,” which will be the open­ing night film for the fes­ti­val. This dram­edy writ­ten and di­rected by Davien Harlis was also cham­pi­oned by a num­ber of ac­tors and cre­ative artists in and around At­lanta, ex­pos­ing the pool of tal­ent and solid net­work­ing that At­lanta has to of­fer.

Satur­day af­ter­noon brings “Par­al­lel the Doc­u­men­tary,” a doc­u­men­tary short that fol­lows film di­rec­tor B. Danielle Watkins as she traces her ex­pe­ri­ences of be­ing the only black film­maker at a small re­gional les­bian film fes­ti­val in Ken­tucky. A screen­ing of an episodic web se­ries will also be paired with Watkins’ film.

Prior to those screen­ings, a panel dis­cus­sion ti­tled “State of Black LGBTQ Cin­ema,” some­thing Wal­ter firmly be­lieves to be ben­e­fi­cially strate­gic in build­ing upon the re­cent suc­cesses in black queer sto­ry­telling, will be held. Di­rec­tor Seven King, film­maker Lester Matthews, along with Kee­sha, Watkins and Harlis will lead that con­ver­sa­tion.

Fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers hope to break be­yond the At­lanta bub­ble and to make it a des­ti­na­tion for black LGBT film­mak­ers across the coun­try. One of the ways they are work­ing to­wards that goal will be with an ac­tor’s

Septem­ber 1, 2017

The Queer Vi­sion Film Screen­ing un­der­went an ex­pan­sion and is now known as the Queer Black Film Fes­ti­val. (Cour­tesy pho­tos) work­shop at noon on Fri­day. It will be led by Rhavynn Drum­mer, a highly re­spected film­maker and cast­ing di­rec­tor whose list of cred­its in­clude work­ing on Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” and “For Bet­ter or Worse.”

“We only have a few slots open, just 11,” Wal­ter said.

The cul­mi­na­tion of the fes­ti­val will take place at the Pure Heat Com­mu­nity Fes­ti­val the fol­low­ing Sun­day in Pied­mont Park, when the fes­ti­val’s jury will pass out awards for sev­eral cat­e­gories on­stage be­fore thou­sands of At­lanta Black Gay Pride at­ten­dees, many of them un­fa­mil­iar with the film fes­ti­val. With At­lanta Black Gay Pride billed as one of the largest Pride cel­e­bra­tions in the coun­try, Kee­sha be­lieves this op­por­tu­nity will help gener- ate a larger draw for next year’s fes­ti­val.

With the ex­cep­tion of the ac­tor’s work­shop, all of the screen­ings and events at the Queer Black Film Fes­ti­val are free to at­tend, which is a rar­ity for film fes­ti­vals. Al­though they only have one pre­sent­ing spon­sor through Bishop Allen’s Vi­sion Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion and are work­ing un­der the um­brella of At­lanta Black Gay Pride, fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers are to­tally aware that it takes funds, vol­un­teers and com­mu­nity in­put to make such an event pos­si­ble. They are en­cour­ag­ing the pub­lic to make do­na­tions through­out the fes­tiv­i­ties.

All film screen­ings, the panel dis­cus­sion and ac­tor’s work­shop will be held at the Ge­or­gian Ter­race Ho­tel.

“We love hav­ing it there,” Kee­sha said. “The peo­ple stay­ing there – they come down and love to check out what we’re do­ing. It’s open to every­body.”

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