Martha's Vineyard African-American Film Fest holds 9th festival (38073)

Martha’s Vineyard, MA – The 9th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival (MVAAFF) honors the best and the brightest in African-American film and cinematography. Since its inception in 2002, the MVAAFF has been a fertile ground for new talent and a door opener for many aspiring filmmakers.

Held August 9-13 in Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, MVAAFF has grown exponentially over the last eight years from an intimate gathering to a destination event that has attracted Del Roy Lindo, Ben Vereen, Karyn Parsons, Jeffrey Wright, Reginald Hudlin and Charles Ogletree. This year, filmmakers will hail from all across the globe and 60 films will be showcased at Katharine Cornell Theatre, 54 Spring Street, Vineyard Haven.

In support of aspiring and established African-American filmmakers, Macy’s continues to serve as the presenting sponsor at this year’s festival. “Macy’s is proud to be returning as a presenting sponsor for the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival. This partnership allows us to share in the spirit of celebrating voices and supporting the artistic expressions of the Black Diaspora. We’re excited about this year’s offering of feature films, documentaries and short films, and look forward to further developing our relationship with the MVAAFF,” said Lisa Walker, director marketing, special events.

The film festival, the brainchild of husband and wife team, Floyd and Stephanie Rance provides aspiring and established filmmakers a nurturing environment to test their creativity and provides sponsors a captive audience for their brands.

“We’re delighted to welcome Macy’s back into the fold and commend them for their long-standing commitment to identifying, nurturing and spotlighting new creative talent,” added Floyd A.B.Rance III, executive at Run & Shoot Filmworks, Inc.

CNN, another returning sponsor debuts a documentary entitled “Pictures Don’t Lie” about the complicated life of famed Civil Rights-era photographer, Ernest Withers. Withers documented the struggles and triumphs of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s through shocking and inspiring images that evoked the injustices, the victories, and the personalities that defined the times.

Following his death in 2007, documents emerged that revealed Withers was also a paid FBI informant, underscoring a complex life for a man who had become more than a photographer, but through his work had become an icon himself. I’m delighted that we are able to screen this film at the MVAAFF this summer. Our goal has always been to bring underreported stories to the front of the American consciousness. This story is an addendum to our history that many filmgoers may not yet know,” said Geraldine Moriba, executive producer for CNN’s In America unit.

Nationally syndicated radio personality Michael Baisden will debut his new documentary entitled “What Women Want.”

“I’m excited to be able to present my film at such a prestigious film festival,” said Baisden. “With the release of this film, my goal is to promote dialogue between men and women about topics that impact all of our relationships, regardless if you’re married or single such as, sexual compatibility, the influence of girlfriends, interracial dating, as of course the most popular issues of them all, infidelity and dishonesty. The question is not only, Do women know what they want? But does it change over time? What some women want in their twenties is often totally different then what they want in their thirties, forties, and fifties,” said Baisden.

“Finally, all the issues are being put on the table in a way that’s entertaining and compelling. There’s nothing I enjoy more than challenging people to look at things from a different perspective. Let’s the conversations begin,” continued Baisden.

Global advertising agency Saatchi &Saatchi returns to the festival for the third straight year with the “Nothing is Impossible” Producers award. In addition, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Executive Vice President of Production Sheldon Levy will conduct a workshop entitled “This is How We Do It.”

“Saatchi & Saatchi New York is once again a proud sponsor of the Run & Shoot Filmworks Martha’s Vineyard Annual African American Film Festival. This marks the third year in a row that Saatchi & Saatchi will present the NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE Producers award to a deserving film produced by a team of emerging artists. The award represents a continuing commitment to engaging in a dialogue with film makers of color.

The workshop, ‘This is How We Do It,’ is an interactive, hands on, exploration of commercial production. Participants will the opportunity to follow a commercial from concept to shooting to finishing. They will also learn the ‘rules of the road’ for choosing the appropriate a director for a commercial.

This year, Saatchi & Saatchi will also recognize an emerging artist from the festival with the designation of ‘artist in residence’. The film maker will spend three-to six months at Saatchi within their production/creative departments. “The ‘artist in residence’ will spend an equal amount of time with a major production company in Los Angeles,” says Sheldon J. Levy, Saatchi & Saatchi New York’s EVP Deputy Director of Broadcast roduction.

Additional sponsors include, HBO, SagIndie, Arri-CSC, and MV Bank. For festival info and a complete itinerary, please visit