April showers brought May flowers, and June is bringing a bevy of multicultural culture treasures, including the annual goodies starting on June 8 with the award show for excellence on Broadway, the Tony Awards, broadcasting live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS, and, on the same day, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, marking its 57th year.
There will be positive changes in the annual parade that, in recent years, has had its reputation sullied by a few unruly spectators who disrespected women, giving the illusion that the parade itself was unsafe. The Puerto Rican Day Parade elected a new board, and board chair Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez shared this: “The work we have done has truly been a rescue mission for this long-standing, beloved and iconic cultural institution.”
The entire month of June celebrates LGBT pride, which includes Harlem Pride June 26-28 (www.harlemonestop.com/event/19598/harlem-pride-2014-vip). Meanwhile, cinefiles should be particularly excited because Gotham is hosting four unique film festivals with such a wide canvas of choices that it’s almost like having a passport to the entire world:
- June 5-12: Open Roads: New Italian Cinema 2014
- June 12-22: The Human Rights Film Festival
- June 18-22: The third annual Dominican Film Festival
- June 19-22: HBO’s American Black Film Festival
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will showcase 22 films (20 documentaries and two fiction films, including 19 New York premieres and 16 features by women) that bring human rights struggles to life through storytelling, reminding us that film can be a powerful source of change and inspiration. This year’s program is organized around five themes: “Armed Conflict and the Arab Spring”; “Human Rights Defenders, Icons and Villains”; “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights”; “Migrants’ Rights”; and “Women’s Rights and Children’s Rights.”
“Twenty-five years is quite a milestone,” said John Biaggi, festival director at Human Rights Watch. “And we would like to acknowledge the enthusiastic support of our audience, which has allowed the festival to grow into what it is today. This anniversary is also an opportunity to reflect on human rights concerns. One look at the breadth of this year’s program confirms that the festival is even more crucial today.”
The festival is co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center.
The Dominican Film Festival in New York will feature more than 30 films from the Dominican Republic. Said festival creators: “The Dominican Film Festival in New York’s mission is to promote a new generation of Dominican filmmakers along with the established ones. It strives on strengthening the vital economic and cultural relationship with the United States.”
The five-day event will present a film retrospective celebrating the career of actor and producer Manny Perez and a photo exhibition featuring Juan Fernandez on June 17 at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center.
The opening night red carpet event for the acclaimed film “Al Sur de la Inocencia” (“To the South of Innocence”), directed by Hector M. Valdez and starring Dominican popular actors Frank Perozo and Jullieta Rodreguez, will include a talent Q-and-A followed by an after-party celebration at El Morocco Night Club.
Miami’s loss is Gotham’s gain with HBO’s American Black Film Festival, which is bringing big ticket films and talent right into our groovy backyard.
“The Black experience is an integral part of American culture,” stated the passionate Jeff Friday, founder and CEO of Film Life. “The universal appeal of Black stories is becoming more apparent as African-Americans make substantial inroads into the motion picture industry. The American Black Film Festival is committed to broadening the mainstream embrace of Black culture to have as great an impact through cinema as we have had through music, fashion and sports.”
The American Black Film Festival will be an interesting mix of industry panels, workshops and films (the official lineup was announced June 3), with Morris Chestnut (“The Best Man”) as the official celebrity ambassador and Tonya Lewis Lee as New York City host of the committee.
The master classes series, sponsored by the Time Warner Foundation in association with the Metropolitan College of New York ($150), are all taught by seasoned professionals, including a “Writing for Television” class taught by Karen Horne, vice president of programming, talent development and inclusion at NBC Entertainment and Universal Television.