HBO’s “Insecure” and Fox’s “Shots Fired” are among new additions to the upcoming 20th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival that will take place from September 21-25, 2016 at Manhattan’s AMC Empire 25 on 234 West 42nd Street.
HBO’s highly anticipated series “Insecure,” created by Issa Rae (“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”), is a comedy starring Rae, Yvonne Orji (“Love That Girl”), Jay Ellis (“The Game”) and Lisa Joyce (“The Following”), that looks at the friendship of two black women, their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations. Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce’s “Formation”) directed the episode of the series that will be screened at Urbanworld on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. A Q&A with Rae, Ellis and Matsoukas, which will be moderated by Bevy Smith, will immediately follow.
Examining the dangerous aftermath of two racially charged shootings in a small Southern town, Fox’s “Shots Fired,” starring Sanaa Lathan (Best Man Holiday) and Stephan James (Selma), is a dramatic new event series that is a “why done it?” and a “who done it?” From creators and executive producers Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) and Reggie Rock Bythewood (“New York Undercover”), “Shots Fired” is an explosive look at the criminal justice system. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the showrunners and stars including Lathan, James, Tristan Mack Wilds (The Secret Life of Bees), Prince-Bythewood and Bythewood on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Academy Award® winning director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) will moderate the panel.
Also confirmed to attend the 2016 events are festival ambassadors Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo as well as actors Cory Hardict, Aisha Hinds, DeWanda Wise and LaLa Anthony. Tickets and passes are available now at www.urbanworld.org/films.
Urbanworld Digital, presented by HBO since 2010, will return to highlight industry experts sharing their insights on the evolving landscape of content creation, financing, distribution and marketing, all through the lens of digital opportunity. This year, Urbanworld Digital’s series of conversations and industry networking reception will begin on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. at the HBO Theater on 1100 6th Avenue. The highlights include a conversation with HBO Chairman & CEO Richard Plepler and entertainment entrepreneur Russell Simmons, as well as a session featuring legendary DJ and audio engineer Young Guru introducing his new production company, Era of the Engineer Films, and its respective partnerships with Warner Bros. Films and Time Warner Inc.’s 150 Incubator. Festival filmmakers, digital influencers, executives, entrepreneurs and content creators attend annually. “HBO is thrilled to host the 6th annual Urbanworld Digital, which embodies the ever-changing digital landscape’s impact on how we interact, communicate and consume entertainment. This medium of viewing further elevates the power of multicultural storytellers who skillfully use various digital platforms and social media outlets,” said Dennis Williams, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO. Guests may RSVP on Urbanworld’s official website on September 7, 2016.
At Time Warner on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 3:30 p.m., Overstand, the premiere consultancy for advising diverse storytellers and financial partners, will launch The Stand, an intimate consultative financing event at Urbanworld. The company has vetted and selected two creative projects and their respective teams to pitch their projects to a curated roundtable of industry experts and investors. Through this opportunity, investors and filmmakers benefit from introductory connections, relationship building and knowledge share. This year’s inaugural event will highlight scripted project D-Days (directed by Tamika Guishard and produced by Julius Pryor and Marttise Hill), interactive project The Art of Dying Young (directed by Shawn Peters and produced by Barry Cole) and a reception hosted by Ghetto Film School’s program The Roster. “Overstand is honored to partner with best in class creative leaders like Urbanworld and Ghetto Film School to launch a new system for diverse storytellers to connect with investors. This is the time to lift up excellent storytellers and diverse stories to engage audiences in new ways,” said Sharese Bulock-Bailey, Founder, Overstand.
Also to celebrate the 20th anniversary, Urbanworld has collaborated with genius visual artist and storyteller, Shantell Martin (www.urbanworld.org/shantell-martin), on an exclusive work of art encompassing the essence of the festival. “We are so proud to partner with Shantell Martin around this milestone year for the festival,” said Gabrielle Glore, Festival Director & Head of Programming, Urbanworld. “Shantell’s vision and innovation around storytelling perfectly represent Urbanworld’s desire to convey the blurred lines of creativity and artistic expression that prevail in our world.” Shantell’s unique work and wisdom will be highlighted across the festival in various ways, including her participation in a community event at BRIC in Brooklyn on Sunday, September 25, 2016.