Statewide coalition to present Black History Month Film Festival in Oklahoma City

Black History Month Film Festival Poster
A statewide coalition of community organizations and artists will present the Black History Month Film Festival on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr., and from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Cinemark Tinseltown, 6001 Martin Luther King Blvd.

The one-day festival will be free and open to the public, featuring short and feature-length films, classes and film seminars, an exhibition tour and family art activities.

“The festival will include award-winning films from Sundance Film Festival, locally-produced short films, civil rights films and biographies of great Oklahomans like Wayman Tisdale, Anita Hill and Clara Luper.”“We are excited to celebrate Black History Month by sharing great African American films with the community,” said Ayanna Najuma, a Black History Month Film Festival organizer and one of the original sit-in activists featured in Julia Clifford’s new documentary film ‘Children of the Civil Rights.’” “The festival will include award-winning films from Sundance Film Festival, locally-produced short films, civil rights films and biographies of great Oklahomans like Wayman Tisdale, Anita Hill and Clara Luper.”

Provided Movie Still from Anita
The festival kicks-off from 10 a.m. to noon at the Oklahoma History Center with kids films and art activities for children 3-12, a curated tour of the current Oklahoma History Center pictorial exhibit “Colored Memories,” which includes 25 digitally colorized photographs from Boley, Oklahoma (known as the “crown jewel” of all-black towns) in the 1920s.

Oklahoma City University adjunct film professor James Cooper will offer a class on the history of African American cinema, and Andre and Jessilyn Head of the Coltrane Group will present a selection of short films about Oklahoma’s historically black towns.

At 1 p.m., the festival moves to Cinemark Tinseltown, where people age 12 and older can attend a film seminar series and watch a selection of feature-length films and shorts running throughout the day on two screens.

The seminars will include: “How to Make Movies” from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; “Meet the Casting Agents” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.; “How to Write a Screenplay” from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and “Entertainment Law: Know Your Rights” from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Film screenings begin at 1 p.m. with “The Wayman Tisdale Story,” the Emmy Award-winning documentary about the incredible life and spirit of OU basketball legend and jazz musician Wayman Tisdale.

Oklahoma Shorts Films will screen at 2 p.m., a curated selection of shorts by filmmakers from Oklahoma and beyond.

Children of the Civil Rights,” a new film by director Julia Clifford about Oklahoma civil rights leaders will begin at 3 p.m., featuring a discussion with Ayanna Najuma and other people that participated in the original sit-ins in Oklahoma City.

At 4 p.m., Inclusion in Arts will present online film competition winners, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Sundance Film Festival comedy “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty,” will screen at 5 p.m.

Beginning at 6 p.m. will be “ANITA,” a documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock about OU Law Professor Anita Hill. The film is both a celebration of Anita Hill’s legacy and a rare glimpse into her private life with friends and family. Anita Hill courageously speaks openly and intimately for the first time about her experiences that led her to testify before the Senate and the obstacles she faced in simply telling the truth. She also candidly discusses what happened to her life and work in the 22 years since.

Take Me to the River,” a music documentary about the rise and fall of Memphis’ Stax Records during the turbulent 1960s will screen beginning at 7 p.m. The film features Terrence Howard, Mavis Staples, Frayser Boy, William Bell, Otis Clay and Snoop Dogg.

Director Jeymes Samuel’s shoot ‘em up western “They Die by Dawn” begins at 8 p.m. The film is set in Langston, Oklahoma, and stars Erykah Badu, Rosario Dawson and Michael K. Williams. Four outlaws with a bounty on each head, set a date for a shootout. The last man takes the collective bounty.

Black History Month Film Festival is made possible through a collaboration of community groups including deadCENTER Film Festival, The Coltrane Group, Inclusion in Art, Bare Bones Film Festival in Muskogee, The Charlie Christian Festival in Lawton, the Oklahoma History Center, Langston University and The Urban League, and local artists Jaybe Holiday, Tiffany McKnight, Josh Norman, Njeri Haygood, Nathan Lee and Mauricio Griffin.

For more info about the Black History Month Film Festival, please visit http://bhmfilmfestival.tumblr.com/.

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