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Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival Workshops and Panels Aims to Empower the Next Generation of Filmmakers and Activists


ATLANTA—The Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival (MCHRFF) returns Sept. 23-25 for the third year with TV and film industry experts leading several online, on-demand workshops and roundtable sessions as well as in-person, post-screening discussions at The Plaza Theatre. Programming includes sessions on developing authenticity as an actor, character development for writers, producing and directing tips for short films, as well as a workshop on how to create a film in Atlanta, sponsored by Atlanta Film Society, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment, and Fulton Films Office at Fulton County Government. Additionally, a virtual awards ceremony will take place awarding filmmakers in three categories: Best Short Documentary, Best Short Feature, and Best Full-Length Documentary. Two special awards will be presented this year: the “Humanitarian Award” for individuals whose lives are dedicated to promoting human wellbeing and enlightenment, and the “Artivism Award” for creators whose work exists at the intersection of art and activism.

“This year’s educational programming will help enlighten and elevate the craft of purposeful storytelling,” says Kara Walker, executive director of the Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival. “At Morehouse, we want to empower the next generation of filmmakers, activists, and humanitarians to advance poignant, consequential stories, causes, and perspectives that ultimately impact change in the world.”

In-person film screenings with post-discussions at the Plaza Theatre include:

  • Thursday, Sept. 23 from 6-10:30 a.m. – Student Showcase – During opening night, the showcase will feature films submitted by students and alumni from Morehouse College, Spelman College, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, followed by post-discussions with students and professors.
  • Friday, Sept. 24 from 8-9:45 p.m. – “Red Horizon” – A group of young pilots attempt to carry on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, while struggling to overcome racism and prejudice in today’s world. This screening will be followed by a post-discussion with the next generation of Tuskegee Airmen.
  • Saturday, Sept. 25 from 8:45 p.m. – “On Trees” – In this experimental supernatural thriller/horror, we subliminally explore the epidemics of black bodies, black-on-black violence, strange fruit, suicide, and even Covid-19. A post-discussion with filmmaker Korstiaan Vandiver will follow.

A selection of the on-demand, virtual workshops available through the festival dates include:

  • Authenticity: A Prerequisite for Actors and Storytellers: Be authentic. Just be yourself.” It is paramount to let your authentic self shine through in your craft, but what does that really mean and why is it so important? In this lively discussion, we will explore the nuances of authenticity, how to recognize it in others, and how to truly “just be yourself.”
  • “Jordan” Film Case Study: Funding, Writing, and Directing a Short Film – Join the production team of Filmmaker-in-Residence Ebony Blanding’s new project to dive into the process behind creating “Jordan.” Learn how they’re funding the film, the challenges they’ve faced, and how they’re creating the world for her short but epic tale.
  • Producing and Directing for Television: If you want to write for television, you better be a great storyteller. It’s a bonus if you’re funny. Producer and Director Rob Hardy sits down with his friend, Writer and Executive Producer Randy Huggins, who shares his career path from Detroit to Hollywood, the importance of mentorship and having diverse voices in the writers’ room, and how being nice and working hard has helped him fail up.
  • Justice System and Prison Reform: Morehouse Professor Dr. Sinead Younge will lead a conversation about the justice system and prison reform with the director of 2021 Official Nominee film “Retribution” Mel Orpen and cast members from 2021 Official Selection documentary “Apart.”
  • The Artivism of Short Filmmaking: Masterclass with Kors Vandiver. Learn all aspects of short filmmaking from an award-winning filmmaker as well as how to navigate the latest socially conscious genre newly coined “artivism.”
  • Character Development in Documentary Storytelling: Join Morehouse Professor Mikki K. Harris on how to identify, engage and develop characters for documentary projects. A graduate of Spelman College with a degree in economics, Mikki K. Harris is a multimedia journalist with special interest in documentary storytelling.
  • Creating Film in Atlanta: Sponsored by Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment and Fulton Films Office at Fulton County Government, panelists will discuss all the details for making films in the City of Atlanta.

This year’s festival will feature 87 films from 29 countries and include 15 student films covering topics including immigration, race, gender identity, politics, health care, law enforcement, along with many other human rights and social justice topics. Limited tickets will be available for in-person screenings at the Plaza Theatre. MCHRFF attendees will be required to follow all COVID safety protocols put in place by the Plaza Theatre.

A full list of programming for the Morehouse Human Rights Film Festival can be found morehousefilmfestival.eventive.org/schedule. For more information about the Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival, visit morehousehumanrightsfilmfestival.com.