2023 AWARD WINNERS
BEST LONG DOCUMENTARY
RHYTHMS OF THE LAND
DIRECTOR BY DR. GAIL P. MEYERS
Rhythms of the Land is a valentine to generations of Black farmers in the United States from the enslavement period to the present, whose intense love of the land and dedication to community enabled them to survive against overwhelming odds. They struggled from the beginning without support or recognition, and have been written out of the dominant narratives of US agriculture. In 1920, there were over 920,000 Black families farming in the United States, although the majority were sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Today there are just over 48,697, a 95% decrease in 100 years. Black farming families have lost their land and their stories are quickly disappearing and should be preserved so that we may understand the history and nature of lives on the farms. The goal of this documentary is to preserve their stories and honor their lives and agrarian legacies.
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
A CIVIL RIGHTS STORY
DIRECTED BY LOKI MULHOLLAND
George Sallie is 92 years old and everyday he does the exact same thing... he forgives the man who beat in 1965 on Bloody Sunday.
BEST LONG NARRATIVE
DIRECTED BY Kgosana Monchusi, Menzi Mzimela,
Grace Molotsi, a married nurse from the township, feels trapped and at her wits end due to an abusive husband who has made her life a living nightmare. When she finally takes the decision to end his life, her house is invaded by two thugs on the run from a cash-in-transit robbery gone wrong who take her hostage.
BEST SHORT NARRATIVE
BIRTH OF A SONG
Birth Of A Song is a short adaption of the full length screen play, "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right". It tells the tumultuous history of the legendary Memphis based record company STAX as seen through the eyes of one of its most influential artist, Luther Ingram. The story unfolds with his rise to fame and his involvement with Johnny Baylor and Dino Woodard.., a relationship that leads him into a dark industry where loyalty is a necessity but greed reigns supreme. A time and place where people would do anything to get their share of the American dream.
BEST SOCIAL JUSTICE
THIRST FOR FREEDOM
DIRECTED BY Christopher D. Windfield
African-American civil rights advocate George Raymond Jr. was the leader of the Congress of Racial Equality in Mississippi during the 1960s. He was also a Freedom Rider and a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. As a result of George's efforts to organize voter registration in Mississippi's rural communities, he was the focus of police brutality, which led to one of the country's most gruesome high-profile trials, afterwards known as the Mississippi Burning Trial.
WOMAN MEETS GIRL
DIRECTED BY Murry Peeters
As cocktails lead to revealing conversation, chemistry builds between Annabelle, an awkward in her own skin, forty-two-year-old woman and Tessie, an extroverted, eighteen-year-old sex worker. A surprising moment soon introduces the possibility of deeper connection.
BEST OF TENNESSEE
THE SOUL OF NASHVILLE
DIRECTED BY Chase Thomson
“Exit 207: The Soul of Nashville” tells the story of Jefferson Street in North Nashville, a proud and resilient community that thrived during the Civil Rights Era, was deeply affected by the construction of Interstate 40 and is now fostering the future identity of Nashville’s Black community.
THE MAN WHO INVENTED ROCK & ROLL
DIRECTED BY J. NICOLE
OLIVE a stay at home mom whose overwhelmed with past due bills and funeral costs, must find a way to deal with her uncommunicative son CALVIN JR. after the lost of her husband, CALVIN SR. With a bit of guidance from the Super Mario Brothers, her and her son learn to jump over life's hurdles.
BEST OF FESTIVAL
DIRECTED BY David F. Fortune
A devoted father experiences the highs and lows of teaching his son with down syndrome the sweet science of baseball. However, his patience is stretched as his child struggles to grasp the basic fundamentals of the sport they love.
A BINDING TRUTH
DIRECTED BY Louise Woehrle
They were high school classmates in 1965. Jimmie transferred his senior year to an affluent high school in Charlotte—he was their first Black football star. That decision swept him into one of North Carolina’s most volatile civil rights cases, played out at the explosive intersection of football and race. De watched that case unfold and wrote about it in his college essay application. Decades later, a shocking discovery reveals secrets buried in church records that would change their lives. Their story, rooted in the South, is also America’s story—one of slavery’s legacy and our current racial divide. It’s a story of healing as Jimmie and De explore their binding truth.
BEST STUDENT FILM
DIRECTED BY Ava Daffinrud
Born in 1935 on Bonnie Blue plantation in Tunica, Mississippi, apprenticing with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Howlin’ Wolf, and schooled by Muddy Waters, James ‘Super Harp’ Cotton became a mentor to harp players around the globe as he brought the delta blues into mainstream rock ‘n roll. Orphaned at nine, Cotton’s journey tracks America’s history and his story is one of empowerment during a time when the weight of racial inequity made the journey seem impossible. Bonnie Blue – James Cotton’s Life in the Blues is a unique portrait of an era and its impact today. Cotton’s music made history; his musical voice was unique, and the blues were never the same.
TIK TOK CHALLENGED
DIRECTED BY Ivan Rome
Claretha, a soap opera-loving grandmother, has always dreamed of being a star, and she's finally got her chance. TIKTOK. She's gonna go viral baby! BUT, she needs a little help from her grandson, Daryl, who didn't plan to spend the day teaching his grandma how to do a TikTok dance. Will they be able to successfully make a TikTok? Maybe. Will their TikTok go viral? Who knows! But, watching the two of them struggle through this challenge together will be a fun ride filled with peach cobbler, Hollywood dreams, and a whole lot of funky dancing.