ATLANTA — Expanding its footprint as an international leader in the development of social activists, Morehouse College will host its first annual Human Rights Film Festival from Oct. 10-12 at the Shirley A. Massey Executive Conference Center. The inaugural festival will honor Spike Lee’s lifetime achievement in film and offer a platform to other independent filmmakers whose work promotes cultural understanding and exposes the injustices of the world.
Top festival entries will be screened for audiences along with some of Hollywood’s most anticipated movies. Kasi Lemmons’ new epic film “Harriet” will be screened Thursday, Oct. 10. Actor Nate Parker will share his new film “American Skin” Friday, Oct. 11. Parker directed and co-wrote the movie. Lee’s award-winning masterpiece “Do the Right Thing,” released 30 years ago, will be featured on Saturday, Oct. 12. And a documentary on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., “King in the Wilderness,” will also be shown Saturday.
The Human Rights Film Festival will also feature documentaries and short films submitted for judging—works that stimulate discussions about immigration, race, politics, health care, law enforcement, and the judicial system. In addition to seeing new films, festival attendees can also attend workshops conducted by masters in screenwriting, editing, directing, and producing.
Netflix and WarnerMedia will hold panel discussions on career opportunities for filmmakers, industry professionals, and business services workers. Filmmaker Oz Scott, who has also gained acclaim as a television producer and director (“Black Lightning”), and theater director (“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf”), will be a panelist on “Creating Film in Atlanta.”
The Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival is being co-sponsored by the Atlanta Film Society. Morehouse President David A. Thomas said launching a film festival focused on human rights is part of the College’s commitment to supporting creative expression and speaking truth to power
“The Human Rights Film Festival offers the international Morehouse spotlight to new and established filmmakers who want to share their views on social issues through the art of film,” Thomas said. “Morehouse College has a rich legacy of producing leaders who speak truth to power across disciplines, including film, television. Sharing that spotlight with new voices exposes our scholars, the greater Morehouse community, and the public to ideas that broaden their intellect and to art that speaks to their cultural experience.”
The film festival’s awards ceremony will be held at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on Oct. 12, with co-hosts Astrid Martinez of CBS46, a three-time Emmy Award-winning reporter, and Brett Austin Johnson, a Morehouse senior and actor who recently had a supporting role in the film “Five Feet Apart.”
During the ceremony, Lee, a 1979 alumnus of Morehouse College, will receive a lifetime achievement award that bears his name. The “Spike Lee Award for Social Impact in Filmmaking” will be presented annually, starting in 2020, to artists use their craft to champion social justice issues.
Winners of top festival prizes will also be recognized at the awards ceremony Oct. 12. Entries submitted by filmmakers from the United States, Ghana, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium were considered for this year’s honors.
“I believe that films give us an opportunity to examine human behavior through a lens that captures the essence of our humanity and brings an awareness to important issues that should be widely exposed,” said Kara Walker, executive director of the Human Rights Film Festival. “By highlighting global injustices and promoting an understanding and appreciation of diverse thoughts, beliefs, and lifestyles, human rights films start the difficult conversations that are necessary to rally people to effect positive change.”
The talent of students in Morehouse’s Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies Program will also be showcased at the film festival. Student films will be shown on Friday, followed by a screening of the sci-fi film “See You Yesterday,” which was directed and co-written by Morehouse alumnus Stefon Bristol and produced by Lee. A panel discussion will follow.
More than 1,000 people are expected to attend Morehouse’s new Human Rights Film Festival to view new films and explore career opportunities. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the movie and television industry in Georgia was responsible for 92,100 jobs and some $4.6 billion in wages in fiscal year 2018. The state experienced an overall economic impact of $9.5 billion during that time, according to the Office of the Governor.
For schedule and ticket information, please contact: https://morehousefilmfest2019.eventive.org/welcome.