THE VOLUNTEER directed by Vicky Wight, THE NEW BLACK directed by Yoruba Richen, and FULL CIRCLE directed by Solvan “Slick” Naim won the big awards at the 17th annual Urbanworld Film Festival held over the weekend – September 18 to 22 in Manhattan, New York City. Urbanworld, which screened 60 films this year describes itself at the largest internationally competitive festival dedicated to the exhibition of independent cinema by and about people of color.
The 17th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival winners are:
Best Narrative Feature – Presented by Fox Audience Strategy – $5,000 Cash Prize
Directed by Vicky Wight
After dramatically leaving her successful but soul-crushing career, forty-something Leigh finds herself wondering if there’s more to life, to love, to everything. Overwhelmed by apathy and a vague sense of guilt, she decides to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. There, she begins an unexpected and electric affair with a homeless man, Ethan. Leigh attempts to hide Ethan from her long-time boyfriend, her family, and her new coworkers. However, after a series of troubling encounters, she realizes Ethan’s charm may be masking a troubled past.
Sable Fable – Directed by Stephen Jackson
Best Documentary Feature
THE NEW BLACK
Directed by Yoruba Richen
The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. The film documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage and examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar—the black church and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda. The New Black takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.
Brother’s Hypnotic – Directed by Reuben Atlas
Best Narrative Short – Presented by HBO – $5,000 Cash Prize
Directed by Alonso Alvarez
Baghdad Messi – Directed by Sahim Omar Kalifa
Best Screenplay – Presented by BET Networks – $5,000 Cash Prize
“YEAR OF OUR LORD”
Written by Darius Clark Monroe
Best Teleplay – Presented by BET Networks – $5,000 Cash Prize
“MEL & MISSY”
Written by Allison Bonner Shillingford
Audience Award – Feature
Directed by Solvan “Slick” Naim
A young pizza delivery boy, Anthoni, faces a life-changing crisis when his curiosity pulls him away from his delivery order into an adjacent apartment’s open door. He cannot resist temptation when he stumbles across a large sum of money in the aftermath of what seems to be a drug deal gone bad. After taking the money, his life is thrown into turmoil as everyone he knows and cares about is put in jeopardy. His focus turns to revenge when his close friend is killed. Anthoni goes on a comically charged journey for vengeance as outlandish characters banter throughout in this musically infused, urban set comedy-action-drama. Anthoni is set on avenging the death of his close friend even if it means going up against the neighborhood’s most notorious thug.
Audience Award – Short
“FLY ON OUT”
Directed by Robert Kolodny