Another jam-packed, exciting lineup scheduled for the Urbanworld Film Festival this year - its 17th edition. We've been highlighting films over the last 2 weeks or so, and will continue to do just that.
Today brings word of Larenz Tate - whose BET original movie Gun Hill will screen at the festival - will serve as festival ambassador; and also that George Tillman's The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete is the official Closing Night Film on September 21.
Also you should know about the 4th Annual Urbanworld Digital, a one-day symposium on September 18, sponsored by HBO, at the HBO Theater (1100 6th Ave @ 42nd St, 15th floor) from 4pm - 9pm, featuring key industry influencers present to talk about a myriad of topics, including digital marketing, social media and distribution.
You'll also find the list of official jurors for this year's festival, as well as award category sponsors and prizes.
Everything you need to know via press release below...
NEW YORK, NY (Sept. 13, 2013) - The 17th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival (www.urbanworld.org) presented by BET Networks announced today that actor Larenz Tate - star of the BET original movie Gun Hill - will serve as festival ambassador and George Tillman's The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete is the official Closing Night Film on September 21.
Known for iconic performances in Love Jones, Menace II Society, Dead Presidents and Why Do Fools Fall in Love?, Tate will attend the Gun Hill screening on Friday, September 20 at 8:00pm. Directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood, the film centers around a pair of identical twins on opposite sides of life: Trane, a cop, and Bird, a con (both played by Tate). On one fateful night, Trane is killed. Bird assumes his identity and begins his own search for redemption.
"I'm honored to not only have my new BET project, 'Gun Hill,' premiering here, but to also be festival ambassador of this year's Urbanworld Film Festival," said Tate. "This festival is a celebration of multicultural art and its diverse and innovative contributors. I look forward to working with the Urbanworld team and enjoying some great films!"
Directed by Tillman and written by Michael Starrbury, the festival's Closing Night Film The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete stars Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jordin Sparks, Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award winner Jeffrey Wright, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Anthony Mackie and Academy Award® and Golden Globe® winner Jennifer Hudson. Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, and Bob Teitel produced the film with Alicia Keys, Susan Lewis, Clay Floren, Aimee Shieh, Julio Depietro, Keith Kjarval, Mary Vernieu, and Amy Nauiokas executive producing.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete is a beautifully observed and tremendously moving film about salvation through friendship and the way transformation sometimes can happen just by holding on long enough. During a sweltering summer in New York City, 13-year-old Mister's (Skylan Brooks) hard-living mother (Jennifer Hudson) is apprehended by the police, leaving the boy and nine-year-old Pete (Ethan Dizon) alone to forage for food while dodging child protective services and the destructive scenarios of the Brooklyn projects. Faced with more than any child can be expected to bear, the resourceful Mister nevertheless feels he is an unstoppable force against seemingly unmovable obstacles. But what really keeps the pair in the survival game is much more Mister's vulnerability than his larger-than-life attitude. Visit www.MisterandPeteMovie.com for film information & updates.
Urbanworld Founding Sponsor HBO® returns to host the 4th Annual Urbanworld Digital, a one-day digital track on September 18 at the HBO Theater (1100 6th Ave @ 42nd St, 15th floor) from 4pm - 9pm, featuring key industry influencers who will discuss topics including digital marketing, social media and distribution.
"HBO is pleased to take part in the continuing discussions on the growing demand for personalized entertainment and its impact on how we interact," said Dennis Williams, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, at HBO. "From connecting with viewers via a variety of digital platforms and social media outlets to cutting-edge promotions, this new environment offers a myriad of opportunities to become better communicators and removes many barriers traditionally faced by emerging filmmakers."
An expanded program overview is available at Urbanworld.org with advance online RSVP required. Session highlights include a series of panels, demos, fireside chats, and succinct digital download presentations, all with the focus of creating dialogue and connectivity around this evolving digital landscape. From industry authorities including HBO GO®, NBC Universal, and Interactive One, to emerging enterprises such as MoviePass and Revolt TV, leaders in the space will share their perspectives. This Urbanworld Digital Day will include the following:
- Inside HBO GO®: A Look at the HBO GO Distribution Strategy (Presented by HBO) featuring Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert; Jackie Gagne, Director, HBO College Distribution & Marketing; and Navin Kamath, Director, HBO Digital Domestic Distribution & Partner Marketing
- Hollywood Embraces the Digital Shift (Presented by NBC Universal)featuring: Tricia Clarke-Stone, Founder/CEO, Narrative Marketing; Carol Cunningham, Vice President, Consumer Insights, BET Networks; Seana Johnson, Universal Pictures Digital; andTalitha Watkins, Vice President, Multicultural Marketing, Universal Pictures.
- Influence & Insight (Presented by Interactive One) led by Smokey D. Fontaine, Chief Creative & Content Officer, Interactive One, who will interview a celebrity gueston their success using social media as a means to leverage their brand and related initiatives.
A series of sound-bite moments (10-15 minutes in length) will be layered into the Digital Day and include:
- Big Data: Audience in Command (Presented by MoviePass) featuring Stacy Spikes, Co-Founder & CEO, MoviePass, as well as Founder, Urbanworld Film Festival.
- Google Hangout with Cast Members from HBO's The Wire
- Revolt TV: The Vision of Sean "Diddy" Combs (Presented by Revolt TV) featuring Angela Northington, Content Acquisitions, Revolt TV.
Urbanworld is also proud to announce the official jurors for this year's festival, award category sponsors and prizes.
NARRATIVE FEATURES JURORS
- Dori Begley - Senior Vice President, Magnolia Pictures
- Nikkole Denson-Randolph - Vice President - Specialty & Alternative Content, AMC Theatres
- Zola B. Mashariki - Senior Vice President, Production, Fox Searchlight Pictures
- Valerie Meraz - Vice President, Program Acquisitions, Turner Entertainment Networks
- Maria Zuckerman - Vice President, HBO Films
NARRATIVE SHORTS JURORS
- Andre Des Rochers - Partner, Gray Krauss Stratford Des Rochers LLP
- Kelly Edwards - VP, Talent Development, HBO
- Smokey D. Fontaine - Chief Content & Creative Officer, Interactive One
- Niija Kuykendall - Vice President, Production Warner Bros. Pictures
- Frida Torresblanco - Award Winning Producer
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES JURORS
- Jacqueline Glover - Vice President, Documentary Films, HBO
- Shola Lynch - Award-Winning Filmmaker
- Tricia Rose - Professor of Africana Studies, Brown University
- Scott Budnick - President, Green Hat Films
- Franklin Leonard - Founder, The Black List
- Christopher Mack - Vice President, Warner Bros. Television Workshop, Warner Bros. Entertainment
- Constance Orlando - Vice President, Original Programming, BET Networks
- Heather Morris Washington - Manager, Emerging Writers Fellowship Program, Universal Pictures
- Roger Bobb - President & CEO, Bobbcat Films
- Nkechi Okoro Carroll - Writer
- Erica Montolfo-Bura - Executive Producer
- Best Narrative Feature - Presented by Fox Audience Strategy - $5,000 Cash Prize
- Best Documentary Feature
- Best Narrative Short - Presented by HBO - $5,000 Cash Prize
- Best Screenplay - Presented by BET Networks - $5,000 Cash Prize
- Best Teleplay - Presented by BET Networks - $5,000 Cash Prize
- Audience Awards for Best Feature & Best Short