From a gritty, gripping and captivating gangland feature (Joy Road) to a documentary examination of post-Katrina New Orleans politics (Race), through an indictment of health insurance companies who value profit over patients' needs (Good Intentions) to a short that tackled issues of incest, homosexuality, teen pregnancy and abortion (The Roe Effect), the Festival's award-winners represent a great diversity of style, form and current events and topics of discussion.
"Macy's is proud to be a presenting sponsor for the 8th Annual Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival. This is a great opportunity to partner with an organization which shares in the spirit of celebrating diverse voices and artistic expressions of the Black Diaspora. We hope to expand our relationship with MVAAFF and forge strong relationships with its organizers, participants and attendees," says Lisa Walker, director of marketing and special events.
Other MVAAFF sponsors included Saatchi & Saatchi, HBO, SagIndie, Disney, The Bay State Banner (media sponsor), Mansion House (host hotel), Disney Home Video, Edgartown National Bank, ARRI/CSC, Universal Pictures, CNN and Merrill Lynch which sponsored a private sailing cruise during the Festival. "The co-chairs' attention to detail made for a successful first rate event for all involved," says Elise Yoby Sanders. "I was impressed by the sheer number of attendees, over 2000 people touched the festival and I hope my seminar provided those that attended with sound financial strategies and wealth management solutions."
Saatchi & Saatchi's Sheldon J. Levy, Executive Vice President and Deputy Director, Broadcast Production, presented the "Nothing is Impossible Producer's Award" to Kiel Adrian Scott, director The Roe Effect. The award includes $5,000 and an opportunity for Scott and the other finalists, to screen their films for the creative partners at Saatchi & Saatchi's New York City offices. Other directors nominated for this award were Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders), Harry Davis (Joy Road), Katherine Cecil (Race), Roy Clovis (The Cycle), and Bree Newsome (Wake).
"This is the second year we have sponsored this award," Levy said. "Saatchi & Saatchi wants to identify directorial and production talent in the film world," he continued, "to see if their talent is transferrable within the advertising world. Filmmakers are passionate and creative. We want to infuse their passion into the work being done at Saatchi & Saatchi."
Marvin Scott, HBO's representative, announced award winners in three categories: documentary, feature and short. The HBO documentary competition nominees included Freedom Riders (Stanley Nelson), Courting Justice (Thandi Lipman), Freedom House Street Saviors (Gene Starzenski), andRace (Katherine Cecil) which was awarded the prize. The HBO feature film competition nominees included Joy Road (Harry Davis), Computer Love (Mike A. Pender), Money Matters (Ryan Richmond), Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Tabari Sturdivant), Everyday Black Man (Carmen Madden) and Joy Road (Harry Davis) which won the award. The HBO short film competition nominees included The Cycle (Roy Clovis), You Stole My Heart (Corey "Mr. Complexx" Roberts), Osvaldo (Randy Wilkins), Wake (Bree Newsome) and Good Intentions. (Morocco Omari).
Accepting the award for HBO Best Short for Good Intentions, three-time nominee Morocco Omari joked that he felt like Susan Lucci. On a serious note, he echoed the sentiments of all the directors who had their works screened at the 2010 Festival by saying he appreciated the opportunity to have his work seen by a community of other filmmakers.
Held August 11-14 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 DelRoy Lindo, Ben Vereen, Karyn Parsons, Jeffrey Wright, Reginald Hudlin and Charles Ogletree. This year, word spread quickly across the Island that the MVAAFF had returned and the majority of films were viewed by standing-room audiences. Some audience favorites such as Freedom Riders by Stanley Nelson had to be screened twice.
"Martha's Vineyard is a special place and it helps create a welcoming, cordial, folksy vibe to the Festival," says Floyd, one of the co-organizers. Hundreds of people attended the Festival events which included an opening night Champagne and White Linen Reception, a Director's Brunch at Lola's, a free screening of Tinker Bell presented by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, panel discussions, parties, and the screening of 46 features, shorts and documentaries. "It has been a fertile ground for new talent and a door opener for many aspiring filmmakers since its inception in 2003," Rance continued. "We encourage interested filmmakers, directors, casting agents, sponsors, venture capitalists and film buffs to visit www.mvaaff.com to partner with us for next year."
"We are extremely proud of everyone who participated in this magnificent event. All of our sponsors, repeat attendees, guest speakers and filmmakers helped to make this one of the best film festivals of the year," said MVAAFF co-founder Stephanie Tavares-Rance. "The quality and number of films we receive each year is confirmation that our festival is not only vital, but it also plays a key role in getting mainstream Hollywood to recognize the untapped talent and possibilities within the African-American film community."
About Saatchi & Saatchi
Saatchi & Saatchi NY is the largest agency in the 150-office Saatchi & Saatchi global network, part of Publicis Groupe, the world's fourth largest communications group. It handles the Miller High Life, I Love NY Tourism Board and JCPenney businesses as well as over 40 #1 brands in its client portfolio, including: Tide, Pampers and Olay (Procter & Gamble); Pillsbury and Cheerios (General Mills); Theraflu and Triaminic (Novartis); Ameriprise; and Reynolds Wrap. The agency represents clients with combined annual revenues of approximately $500 billion and market capitalization of approximately $650 billion.
Saatchi & Saatchi is known for its outstanding creative ideas that generate powerful emotional connections between consumers and products. This is a key element in Lovemarks, Saatchi & Saatchi's unique methodology for elevating the status of brands created to create "loyalty beyond reason" and "inspirational consumers."
About Run & Shoot Filmworks, Inc.
Run & Shoot Filmworks, Inc., is a New York-based film production company credited with creating outstanding visual work for several clients including HBO, Martell Cognac, Reebok, NBC Sports and Footlocker. For the past three years, Run & Shoot Filmworks has produced the MVAAFF with the primary goal of providing a positive environment where filmmakers can share their thoughts, ideas and aspirations. The film festival serves as a vehicle through which Run & Shoot Filmworks can support the efforts of emerging and established African-American screenwriters, as well as aid in their artistic development.