2014 Gary International Black Film Festival

2014 Gary International Black Film Festival

The 2014 Gary International Black Film Festival is riding off the triumphs of 2013’s success of Black Hollywood that broke records and made history, grossing huge box office earnings and garnering Oscar Award accolades. This year’s film festival celebrates with much provided entertainment including the soulful sounds of a live band and displaying the authentic richness of African American pride and heritage found in the works of independent African American filmmakers.  

This year’s display of films has much more variety and flavor. They are centered on themes closely related to home - those themes are fixed on societal ills that serve controversial, thought-provoking, and challenging to the masses. The youth film showcase achieves its intention of arousing and engaging discussion with audiences addressing issues and finding resolutions after each film viewing. The showcase kicks off with Gentry’s Roots, a film that captures a dispirited Haitian community affected by poverty and a female activist and humanitarian call to action in bettering lives. The heartfelt Echoes of Incarceration documents children’s worst nightmares of seeing their parents become additional statistics to incarceration. It displays how parent’s incarceration has an impact on youth emotionally and mentally after being abandoned with no one to care for them.
 
What Does It Mean to Be an African American Woman Who Loves Hip-Hop is the loud outcry for women that are misrepresented, degraded, and easily stereotyped in the culture of hip-hop causing women to take action. The animated feature Miss Divine was the highlight of the youth film series that reminds us often of a disciplinary elder we all had in our neighborhoods who looked after the next generation of young individuals.
 
The film festival stepped it up a notch in entertainment by presenting the audience with a short film showcase that attest to being both an eye opener and jaw dropper. The dramatic Eli’s Liquor Store is the story of a liquor store owner and the everyday encounters with his customers. The prolific film The Gift is absolutely powerful in the delivery of a concise message of vengeance, betrayal, and power. A Must See!
 
However, the strongest films of the three day festival include the Jeymes Samuel directed (brother to singer Seal) western They Die By Dawn, an actual account of African American cowboys of the old west with a stellar cast ranging from the best in acting from Michael K. Williams, Isaiah Washington, to the beautiful Erykah Badu. Though the film had an ending that was unexpected - expecting more from the movie, the film Christmas Wedding Baby  (CWB) made up for the latter. CWB is a long awaited film with overdue praise for its comedy, unique performances from actress Maria Howell to actor Stephen Hill (whom was present at this year’s film fest), and for preserving the authenticity and true portrayals of African Americans since both the Soul Food films and series.
 
The 2014 Gary International Black Film Festival is a one festive joyride. It gets better every year in film festival entertainment.
 
By Hector De La Rosa @ILLAFIED_WRITER

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