Husband and wife music producers Ray Chew and Vivian Scott Chew embark on an ambitious journey to Cuba: Two weeks in Havana to create a collaboration of sounds which originated from Afro-Caribbean roots that has evolved into what we now consider modern-day Salsa music. Bringing together artists from the U.S. and Cuba, the film shines a light on Cuban culture and takes the viewer through the creative process and challenges of producing an album while providing an auditory sensation that touches the soul. Featuring Eric Benét, Louie Vega and Sergio George-who has produced albums for Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and more. Audiences will walk away feeling the passion, positive energy, triumph, and love that keeps this musical marriage strong.
Directed by: Vivian Scott Chew
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
BEATING THE ODDS
Communities In Schools of Atlanta (CIS Atlanta) is a drop-out prevention program founded in Atlanta, GA in 1972. Our mission is to surround students with a community of support empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. This powerfully raw and emotional film follows the lives of two students from different backgrounds who faced non-academic barriers that presented challenges in reaching their fullest potential.
Directed by Jessica Young, Jason Young
BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
FIRST DAY BACK
t’s the first day back at school for the faculty and students of Lincoln High School in Philadelphia, after a fight between two students from rival neighborhoods resulted in the death of a fellow student, left others injured and changed the community forever.
Directed by DeShawn Plair
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
Micheal Trainer is a lawyer at the center of a trial in which a for-profit foster care agency puts a known sex offender into the same foster home as his young client Jamal, with catastrophic results. Michael, a successful litigator with a long career protecting corporate interests, wants nothing to do with Jamal’s case until a Judge forces him to accept it. Initially, he sees Jamal as a kid off the streets looking to grab a piece of corporate profits. But, when Jamal refuses to settle the case for any amount of money, Michael begins his representation in earnest. As their work together reveals the horrifying depth of the corrupt and abusive for-profit foster care agency, Michael is transformed from cynical skeptic to fierce warrior in the pursuit of justice.
Directed by: Youssef Delara
BEST SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM
A father and son discuss police shootings in America.
Directed by: Sekuleo Gathers
LOREEN'S GOTTA BOOGIE
It’s 1978. Loreen is torn between her dreams of being a Soul Train Dancer & honoring her traditional Filipino heritage.
Directed by Bobby Yan
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
A struggling finance student looks to her former friend turned escort to help her make money for her looming tuition deadline, however, the business deal costs more than she bargained for.
Directed by Kelvin Omor
Homelessness is not a choice. A bad decision, a natural disaster, or even the loss of a job can result in homelessness.
Directed by Vickie Adams
BEST INSPIRATIONAL FILM
The Journey of Deland McCullough
Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough went searching for his biological parents. He found them where he never would have expected.
Directed by John Minton III
BEST STUDENT FILM
SKIN I'M IN
An African American teenage girl struggles with issues of her skin color. She decides to ask her best friend to be her date to the school dance. Upon his disapproval of darker skin, she decides that bleaching her skin will make things better for her. Her mother, who bleached her skin when she was younger catches her with the bleaching products and tries to prevent her from making the same mistake as she once did.
Directed by Chavez Caley
BEST WEB SERIES
CHI-nanigans follows the adventures of mischievous tween-aged siblings, Foster and Marie, as they come of age in a diverse neighborhood learning how to accept and understand their own differences, and those of the other's they interact with at school and in their community.
Directed by Jill Ross
THE BEST OF TENNESSEE
PAST IS PROLOGUE: CAMERON CLASS OF 1969
In the turbulent year of 1968, a black Nashville, TN high school fights back, in the streets and in Federal Court, when it is unfairly stripped of its sports programs, following unrest at a basketball game.
Directed by Mark Schlicher
BEST CHILDREN & YOUTH FILM
WHAT IF... THEN WHAT?
What if…Then What? is a dramatic story of a friendship being torn apart by bullying. It follows 11-year-old, Cameron Walker and his friendship with Kyle Morris. Cameron is aware that they are growing apart from one another which started when Kyle joined the school’s basketball team. What begins as harmless “roasting” from Kyle's teammates, turns into full blown bullying. Though it bothers Cameron, he tolerates it because he knows how important basketball is to Kyle. But he can no longer take the public disgracing. Cameron is determined to get even with Kyle and his teammates for bullying him.