UK markets closed
  • FTSE 100

    7,204.55
    +14.25 (+0.20%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    22,931.66
    +14.61 (+0.06%)
     
  • AIM

    1,234.19
    -7.18 (-0.58%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1800
    -0.0061 (-0.51%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3760
    -0.0036 (-0.26%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    43,835.36
    -779.25 (-1.75%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,453.34
    -49.69 (-3.31%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,544.90
    -4.88 (-0.11%)
     
  • DOW

    35,677.02
    +73.94 (+0.21%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    83.98
    +1.48 (+1.79%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,793.10
    +11.20 (+0.63%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,804.85
    +96.27 (+0.34%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    26,126.93
    +109.40 (+0.42%)
     
  • DAX

    15,542.98
    +70.42 (+0.46%)
     
  • CAC 40

    6,733.69
    +47.52 (+0.71%)
     

Urbanworld Film Festival Announces 25th Anniversary Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

·9-min read

The Urbanworld Film Festival is set to mark its 25th anniversary with a star-studded hybrid event featuring Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay; “Wu-Tang: An American Saga’s” RZA and Shameik Moore; “King Richard” director Reinaldo Marcus Green and star Aunjanue Ellis; “Power Book III: Raising Kanan’s” Patina Miller; “Sankofa” filmmaker Haile Gerima and more.

The 2021 edition of the film festival will be presented virtually with on urbanworld.org, running from Sept. 29-Oct. 3, with select in-person events held at Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas, Chelsea at 260 West 23rd Street in New York. Presented by founding partner HBO and prestige partners WarnerMedia and Ally, the festival officially unveiled its slate of more than 88 official selections, panels and conversations.

More from Variety

A longtime supporter of and participant in the Urbanworld lineup, DuVernay will be on hand for multiple special events with the Netflix series “Colin in Black & White” featured among the virtual spotlight presentations at the fest. On Saturday, Oct. 2, DuVernay will preview the first episode of NBCUniversal’s “Home Sweet Home,” while OWN’s “Queen Sugar” returns to the festival with costume designer Christann Chanell, set decorator Kellie Turner, hair department head Nakoya Yancey and makeup department head Lalette Littlejohn on hand to discuss the behind-the-scenes of the show’s sixth season.

DuVernay’s Array Releasing is also tied to a special presentation of Gerima’s acclaimed film “Sankofa.” On Sunday, Oct. 3, the filmmaker will appear at the festival with his wife and co-producer Shirikana Gerima for an intimate conversation alongside Haki R. Madhubuti, Acklyn Lynch, Mama Rashida Foreman-Bey and Mashariki Jywanza to discuss the grassroots efforts to bring the resistance film to audiences around the world.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, “King Richard” duo Green and Ellis will discuss the Warner Bros. Pictures movie, which tells the story of Richard Williams’ determination to write daughters Venus and Serena into sports history. The same day, RZA, Erika Alexander, Moore, Zolee Griggs and TJ Atoms will also appear at the festival to discuss Hulu’s “Wu-Tang: An American Saga.”

On Thursday, Sept. 30, Aliyah Royale, Alexa Mansour and Joe Holt will discuss the upcoming second season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead: The World Beyond”. In a special presentation of the Shudder Original anthology “Horror Noire,” writers Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes will discuss the importance of lifting Black voices and shining a light on these stories in the horror genre.

Miller and MeKai Curtis from “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” will appear at the festival on Friday, Oct. 1 to discuss their Starz family drama series.

Other premiere events during the festival include Urbanworld Innovation, presented by WarnerMedia 150 on Thursday, Sept. 30, featuring pitch presentations to investors, industry case stories, artist installations and conversations around imagining the future of world building in storytelling and the importance of holistic wellness and mental health for creatives.

Urbanworld’s uEmbrace initiative, which launched last year as a result of the pandemic, is available during the weeks leading up to the festival, comprised of virtual events, skill-building opportunities and wellness-centric experiences focused on the festival’s content creators. uEmbrace serves as the festival’s “official welcome” to the Urbanworld family, featuring discussions with festival alumni.

In addition to celebrating its milestone anniversary, this year’s event also marks the final bow for Gabrielle Glore (pictured above with DuVernay at the 2017 edition of the festival), Urbanworld’s director and head of programming.

“I cannot be happier to celebrate 25 years of Urbanworld with our amazing slate of films from Black, Indigenous, Latinx and content creators of color hailing from all over the world,” Glore said in a statement about the news.

“As our world continues to change, our filmmakers continue to soar towards the highest heights of excellence with their work, as they connect with our dedicated audience,” Glore continued. “After nearly two decades with Urbanworld and this being my last year with the festival, I am looking forward to working with our illustrious founder Stacy Spikes to find the next person to lead the festival.”

Founded in 1997, many successful filmmakers have made their industry debut during the festival, including DuVernay (who debuted the short film “Saturday Night Life” in 2006), Dee Rees (who premiered the short “Pariah” in 2007), Ryan Coogler (the short film “Locks” in 2009), Tina Mabry (“Mississippi Damned” in 2009) and Blitz “The Ambassador” Bazawule (“The Burial Of Kojo” in 2018).

The full 2021 programming slate is below and more details about the festival can be found on urbanworld.org. All-access passes, day passes and tickets for official selections and virtual spotlights are now on sale.

VIRTUAL SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATIONS
“Colin In Black & White” (Presented by Netflix)
“Home Sweet Home” (Presented by NBCUniversal)
“Horror Noire” (Presented by Shudder)
“King Richard” (Presented by Warner Bros.)
“Power Book III: Raising Kanan” (Presented by Starz)
“Queen Sugar” (Presented by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
“Sankofa” (Presented by ARRAY)
“The Walking Dead: World Beyond” (Presented by AMC Network)
“Wu-Tang: An American Saga” (Presented by Hulu)

U.S. CINEMA NARRATIVE FEATURES
“7th & Union” – Directed by Anthony Nardolillo (New York Premiere)
“Americanish” – Directed by Iman Zawahry
“Bridges” – Directed by Maria Corina Ramirez (New York Premiere)
“The Scrapper” – Directed by Bari Kang (World Premiere)
“Ten-Cent Daisy” – Directed by Lisbon Okafor (World Premiere)
“This Is Not a War Story” – Directed by Talia Lugacy (New York Premiere)
“Women is Losers” – Directed by Lissette Feliciano (New York Premiere)

WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE FEATURES
“A Pencil to the Jugular” (Australia/Mexico) – Directed by Matthew Victor Pastor (U.S. Premiere)
“Bantu Mama”(Dominican Republic) – Directed by Ivan Herrera (New York Premiere)
“Holidays at All Cost” (France) – Directed by Stevan Lee Mraovitch (East Coast Premiere)
“Hunger” (Korea) – Directed by Ye-Rim Rey Lee (U.S. Premiere)
“Preman” (Indonesia) – Directed by Randolph Zaini (East Coast Premiere)
“Son of Monarchs” (Mexico/U.S.) – Directed by Alexis Gambis (New York Premiere)
“Sons of the Sea” (South Africa) – Directed by John Gutierrez (East Coast Premiere)
“The City of Wild Beasts” (Colombia) – Directed by Henry E. Rincón (New York Premiere)
“The Girl In The Yellow Jumper” (Uganda) – Directed by Loukman Ali (World Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES
“Dom Salvador and Abolition” – Directed by Lilka Hara and Artur Kummer (U.S. Premiere) “Skategoat” (Australia) – Directed by Van Alpert (U.S. Premiere)
“Target: St. Louis Vol. 1” – Directed by Damien D. Smith (World Premiere)
“The Death Of My Two Fathers” – Directed by Sol Guy
“The Last Election and Other Love Stories” – Directed by Miguel Silveira (New York Premiere)
“Vicenta” (Argentina) – Directed by Dario Doria (U.S. Premiere)
“We Still Here/Nos Tenemos” (Puerto Rico) – Directed by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi (World Premiere)

YOUNG CREATORS SHOWCASE (Presented by Ally)
“All The Young Dudes” – Directed by William Stead
“Fufu” (Canada) – Directed by Omolola Ajao (World Premiere)
“Gratuity” – Directed by Daoji Yang (World Premiere)
“Necessity of Life” (Indonesia) – Directed by Kevin Rahardjo (World Premiere)
“Sunday” (Kenya) – Directed by Christian Schifano
“Tesoro” – Directed by Roxanna Denise Stevens Ibarra
“There’s Food At Home” (Canada) – Directed by Carlos Soriano (World Premiere)

NARRATIVE SHORTS (Presented by WarnerMedia)
“¡Llamame Chinita!” (Mexico) – Directed by Stacy Chu (World Premiere)
“Americanized” – Directed by Erica Eng (New York Premiere)
“An Island Drifts” (Singapore) – Directed by Vivian Ip (World Premiere)
“Apart, Together” – Directed by Olivia Hang Zhou
“Aurinko In Adagio” – Directed by Elisee Junior St Preux
“Be Good” – Directed by Jessica Damouni (World Premiere)
“Beauty Boys” (France) – Directed by Florent Gouelou (New York Premiere)
“But Tomorrow” – Directed by Lin Que Ayoung (World Premiere)
“Cherry Lemonade” – Directed by Aisha Ford
“Death & Deathability (A Period Piece)” – Directed by Maria Victoria Ponce
“Five Tiger” (South Africa) – Directed by Nomawonga Khumalo (New York Premiere)
“Geri and Rick” – Directed by Vincent Turturro (World Premiere)
“Hector’s Woman” (La mujer de Héctor) (Puerto Rico) – Directed by Ricardo J Varona
“I AM” (Germany) – Directed by Jerry Hoffmann
“IKARUS” (Trinidad) – Directed by Shaun Escayg
“I’m A Vampire” (Mexico) – Directed by Sofia Garza-Barba (New York Premiere)
“I Like It Here” (Ghana) – Directed by Amartei Armar (New York Premiere)
“Lakutshon’ Ilanga/When The Sun Sets” (South Africa) – Directed by Phumi Morare (New York Premiere)
“Lovesick In The West Bank” (Palestine) – Directed by Said Zagha (World Premiere)
“Omolara” (Italy) – Directed by Andrew Vasquez
“Purple, Green, Blue” – Directed by Eugene. K (East Coast Premiere)
“Stigma, Style” (Singapore) – Directed by Cheryl Wong Ye Han (East Coast Premiere)
“Summer Dream” (Brazil) – Directed by Luan Dias (U.S. Premiere)
“Swimsuit” – Directed by Hasan Hadi (World Premiere)
“Tasbeeh” (United Kingdom) – Directed by Iqbal Mohammed (World Premiere)
“The Last Days” (United Kingdom) – Directed by Dipo Baruwa-Etti (New York Premiere)
“The Pie Shop” (United Kingdom) – Directed by Tyler Pierreson (World Premiere)
“The Trucker” – Directed by Raven Johnson
“Wouldn’t Mean Nuthin’” – Directed by Tristan Mack Wilds (World Premiere)
“X US” (United Kingdom) – Directed by Akinola Davies (U.S. Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
“Ale Libre” – Directed by Maya Cueva (New York Premiere)
“Halima” – Directed by Dina Valentin (World Premiere)
“The Road to Justice” – Directed by Kaliya Warren, Brendan Hall (New York Premiere)
“Wonderfully Made” – Directed by Benita Ozoude (New York Premiere)

ANIMATION SHORTS
“Footsteps on the Wind” (Brazil/United Kingdom) – Directed by Maya Sanbar, Gustavo Leal, Faga Melo (New York Premiere)
Lines – Directed by Claire Fleming (New York Premiere)
“Nuevo Rico” – Directed by Kristian Mercado Figueroa
“Step Into the River” (China/France) – Directed by Weijia Ma (New York Premiere)
“The Ballad Of Joe Pass” – Directed by Jordan Hendrickson
“The Black Disquisition” – Directed by Quincy G. Ledbetter (New York Premiere)

EXPERIMENTAL SIDEBAR
“At The Wall” (Mexico) – Directed by Sandra Varona (World Premiere)
“Black Love Manifesto” – Directed by Liza Jessie Peterson and Jason K. Battle (World Premiere)
“Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma” – Directed by Topaz Jones and rubberband.
“The Antimatter Suite” – Directed by Steven E. Mallorca (World Premiere)
“Why Do I Love Us So Much?” (United Kingdom) – Directed by Jade Hackett (World Premiere)
“Would You Kill God Too?” – Directed by WJ Lofton and Natalie Lauren

ENVIRONMENT + SOCIAL IMPACT SIDEBAR
“On the Fenceline: A Fight for Clean Air” – Directed by Tara Eng, Kristen Harrison, Alex Klein, Alisha Tamarchenko (New York Premiere)
“Once Upon A Time in Venezuela” (Venezuela) – Directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
“Youth v. Gov” – Directed by Christi Cooper

WEB ORIGINALS SHOWCASE
“Kontaxt” – Directed by Andrew Bachelor (East Coast Premiere)
“Last Bodega In Brooklyn” – Directed by Mosiah Moonsammy and Jared Glenn (World Premiere)
“Ms/Manage” – Directed by Caralene Robinson and Michael “Boogievision” Pinckney (New York Premiere)
“The Corps” – Directed by Tijuana Ricks (East Coast Premiere)
“Our Shag Pad” – Directed by Aldo Pisano

MUSIC VIDEOS
“Calendário” (Featuring ANAVITÓRIA) (Brazil) – Directed by The Fridman Sisters (U.S. Premiere)
“Tesfay” (Featuring Witch Prophet) – Directed by Leah Vlemmiks
“Take Your Time” (Featuring Fool The Fox and Jamie Broad) (Jamaica/United Kingdom) – Directed by Rasheed Bailey
“North Star” (Featuring Mumu Fresh and D Smoke) – Directed by T.L Benton (East Coast Premiere)

SCREENPLAYS
“Gun Powder” – Written By R Cadell Cook
“Inheritance” – Written By Fedna Jacquet
“Tarabull” – Written By Esdras Romero
“The 84” – Written By Sonja Perryman

(Pictured: Urbanworld’s Gabrielle Glore and Ava DuVernay at the 2017 edition of the festival.)

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting