ROAR! 7th annual Bronzelens Film Festival was Bigger Better and Bolder

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By: Isabelle Doll Ngcobo

More than 49 films screened over a four day period August 25-28th including a collection of shorts, features, webisodes and documentaries. Narrative fiction, documentary, and short film screenings coupled with the who’s who of the film industry , the core components that have established BronzeLens as one of the nation’s most substantive film festivals.

Founded in 2009, The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. Its mission is twofold: to promote Atlanta as the new film Mecca for people of color; and to showcase films and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers. Since its inception the BronzeLens Film Festival has evolved as one of the most comprehensive film festivals for filmmakers of color in the United States.
BEST OF FESTIVAl

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Filmmaker/director Russ Parr brought his latest film, “Ringside” to Bronzelense film festival premiering September 4th on TV. One at 7pm.

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Ringside stars Tyler Lepley (“The Haves and the Have Nots,” Baggage Claim) as undefeated boxer Jaxon Holley and explores the personal battles he faces outside of the ring while preparing for the biggest fight of his career. As he gears up for the epic fight, he’s met with several distractions — including family drama, thirsty groupies, and a manager with a serious gambling problem — that try to deter him from his ultimate goal.

First Glance   new to Bronzelens was a roaring success, with “first glances” at two upcoming and highly anticipated television series: HBO’s “Insecure” and OWN’s “Queen Sugar

The audiences enthusiastically welcomed ‘   Insecure’ and its creator Isaa Rae for a talkback with BLFF artistic director Deidre McDonald.

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Insecure “ ‘premieres on HBO on October 9th. With a multiracial cast and team of writers,
“Insecure” stands to broaden the diversity of HBO’s current programming lineup . Issa Rae’s new series has yet to premiere and already people can’t stop talking about it.

The sold-out crowd then settled down to view the first episode of producers AvDuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s  “Queen Sugar”

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and also  enjoyed the talk back with veteran director Neema Barnette and actor Omar Dorsey, who stars in the new series.

Produced by Du Vernay and  Oprah Wynfrey , Queen Sugara familiar drama about a family in crisis told through the eyes of three siblings: Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner); the rich, well-educated wife of a Los Angeles basketball star; Nova (Rutina Wesley), a dedicated journalist and social activist; and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), a ne’er-do-well single father seeking a new start. Their separate lives are intertwined by scandal and tragedy, forcing them to decide whether the family farm is worth saving. And so they re-establish bonds and reopen old wounds, as each seeks to make sense of the other.

Explains DuVernay: “I feel like the intention of the book, to amplify the everyday magnificence of these people and the tragedies and triumphs of the family, is still there.”

DuVernay first envisioned “Queen Sugar ” as an 8-episode limited series. Then it grew to 13 episodes. Then it was picked up for a 16-episode second season, with no end in sight.The “Selma” director hand-picked an all-female roster of directors to shoot eight of the 10 episodes that make up Season 1. DuVernay directed the other two, meaning  and “Queen Sugar’s” first season was entirely helmed by women.

DuVernay chose to make considerable changes to the book’s plot. Viewers familiar with Baszile’s book will notice additional changes in the series. A big one was giving sibling Ralph Angel Bordelon the back story of being a former inmate. “It’s a story we both wanted to tell,” says DuVernay, whose first documentary, The 13th, explores the skyrocketing incarceration rates in the U.S. and will debut at the New York Film Festival later this month.

“Queen Sugar” will debut Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN. The two-part premiere concludes Sept. 7 at 10 p.m., with the remaining episodes airing Wednesdays at  10 pm.      

In another standing room only crowd, was at the Center for Civil and Human Rights to view Deborah Riley Draper’s “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice”, which won as BronzeLens 2016 Best.

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This timely documentary on the 1936 Berlin Olympics coincides with the official opening of the Rio Summer Games.

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The film set is againts a racially divided backdrop that features trials and triumphs of black Olympians in the 1938 Olympic Games .Many know of Jesse Owens , but not many know about the other 18 African Americans who also intergrated sports on a foreign soil.
“Olympic Pride “,  “American Prejudice” tells not just how they did in the Olympics but also how they fared in life after the games were done. Their stories are well worth hearing .19 African American Olympians, The   superheroes of 1936 Olympic Games .For Americans, the 1936 Games are inextricably linked to one name: Jesse Owens, the track-and-field genius with the easygoing movie-star grin who literally ran like the wind. He won four gold medals in Berlin, but his saga has all but obliterated that of the other African-Americans who competed and triumphed there. “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” reclaims the story of those 17 men and women: trailblazers who kicked open the door to a new society as much as Jackie Robinson did when he debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers playing field 11 years later

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7th Annual Women Superstars Luncheon was indeed superb  spectacular and superior with a sold out room of more than 600, the largest ever.  Filmmakers, sponsors,  and celebs gathered at the Atrium Ballroom of the Atlanta Mariott Marquis on Friday, August 26, while Bronzelens honored  Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Margaret Avery, Dawn Gilliam, Nina Yang Bongiovi, and Julie Dash.

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A special feature of the luncheon was “A Conversation with Cheryl Boone Isaaacs” sponsored by Macy’s,  and interviewed by veteran journalist Nsenga Burton. New to BronzeLens.

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Bronzelens, 2016 Master Classes  dilivered as promised and contained a wealth of information for filmmakers and film lovers alike. “Up and Close ,” Through the BronzeLens series presented SuperStar honoree and director Julie Dash in conversation with producer/director Roger Bobb; a conversation with filmmaker Mattthew Cherry, whose 9 Rides feature was shot with an iPhone.

Among those in attendance were actress/director Terri J.Vaughn who also premiered her film. “Digital Lives Matter”

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From Legal Mash-Up to Producers Roundtable to David Banner who produced and directed his short film ” Walkinh with gods’. Bronzelens attendees were treated to a variety of sessions that helped them to better their craft.
“Be Bold Be Banner ” session with David, to producer Angi Bones, who hosted the first All-Female Producers Roundtable with Lydia Dean Pilcher, Deborah Riley Draper, and Gabrielle Glore was informative , educational and. inspiring for young filmmakers.

Bronzelens closing night featured an Atlanta lensed film “The Products of the American Ghetto.” On hand were director Henderson Madix along with writer Tierre Ford and lead actorTobias Trivllian of Empire.

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