(ATLANTA) - March 15, 2018 - The 2018 Black Women Film Network Summit was nothing short of amazing! A record 300+ participants attended the Summit, marking a historic year for BWFN.
On Friday, March 9, the Summit kicked off at Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema with an Opening Night screening of Ava DuVernay's visually stunning A Wrinkle in Time. Then on Saturday, March 10, the full day of seminars and classes took place at Atlanta Technical College, where women and men came out in droves to learn from experts on industry topics such as acting, auditioning, comedy, screenwriting, publishing, SAG-AFTRA, pitching scripts to networks, hair/makeup/wardrobe, and protecting your legal work. Later in the day, Georgia House Minority Leader and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams stopped by to share her vision for Georgia and why she wants to be the state's next governor.
BWFN founder Sheryl Gripper was on hand to announce the recipients of the 2018 BWFN Scholarship. These awards are given to deserving students pursuing careers in film and television. This year's winners are:
Dorie Cross - Savannah College of Art & Design
Ariel Jones - Lousiana State University
Kayla Parker - Florida A&M University
The Saturday Summit also included the BWFN Short Film Festival, which featured nine shorts written, produced, directed or starring black women. The films were judged by Alexa Harris, Jaunice Sills and Gregg Brown and awards were given out to filmmakers in the following categories:
Best Actor: Keith Douglas - "Broken Branches"
Best Director: Chris Anthony Hamilton - "Broken Branches"
Best Screenplay: "Soul Fire" - Janlatae' Mullins, writer/director
Best Cinematography: "In The Field" - Tesia Walker, director
Best Editing: "In The Field" - Tesia Walker, director
Audience Award: "Distorted" - Tai Anderson, director
Best in Festival: "Dirty Money" - Ciara Boniface, director
Additional thanks to our sponsors Atlanta Technical College, HBO, 11Alive and Oz Magazine.
Finally, this year's Summit would not be possible without the tireless dedication of our members, especially Summit executive producer Larry Cooper, BWFN Chair Saptosa Foster, Short Film Festival director Mercedez Springer, Summit coordinator Natana Denzmore, BWFN Board Members Tomika DePriest, Deidre McDonald, Jaunice Sills, Donna Lowry, Ronda Penrice, Alexa Harris, and Lisa Wright; Film Guild Members Denise Armstrong, Tish Glover, Veda Mcneal-Wright, Hattie Lemon, Chelsea Diallo and many others.
BWFN Members turned out to celebrate 'A Wrinkle in Time' on the Summit's Opening Night
BWFN team Tish Glover, Larry Cooper, Tomika DePriest, Hattie Lemon, Saptosa Foster, Sheryl Gripper, Jaunice Sills, Mercedez Springer and Natana Denzmore (left); Acting coach Jonna Johnson and kids (right)
Guests arrived at Atlanta Technical College bright and early Saturday morning (left); The "Finding Your Funny" class led by Cocoa Brown was standing-room only (right)
The young students were attentive in Jonna Johnson's "Kids Acting Class"
HaJ House's "How to Pitch to Network TV" class was fascinating
Tyler Perry Studios casting director Rhavynn Drummer's "Auditioning Tips" class is always in-demand at the Summit.
Summer Jackson offered several key tips in the "Red Carpet Hosting" seminar (left); Glam gurus Mauricia Grant, Kim Ford (moderator), Denise Tunnell, Adrene Ashford and Gocha Hawkins made a great team at the "Hair, Makeup and Wardrobe for Film & TV" class (right)
The BWFN Short Film Festival featured several great films (left); BWFN Board Member Mercedez Springer facilitated the film fest program (right)
The filmmakers answered questions after their screenings (left): 11Alive reporter Francesca Amiker moderated the "Conversation with Zane" event in the afternoon (right)
BWFN Board Members Jaunice Sills, Saptosa Foster, founder Sheryl Gripper, Donna Lowry, (11Alive reporter) Francesca Amiker and Tomika DePriest were proud to award Dorie Cross (center) with a BWFN Scholarship (left); The mother (in blue) of scholarship winner Ariel Jones accepted the award in her daughter's absence (right)
The Short Film Festival trophies awaited their winners (left); Jaunice Sills presided over the awards announcements (right)
Nina Laguna (producer, "Broken Branches"), Best Actor winner Keith Douglas ("Broken Branches"), Best Screenplay winner Janlatae' Mullins ("Soulfire"), Best Director winner Chris Anthony Hamilton ("Broken Branches"), actress Maxie McClintock of "Soul Fire" (left); Audience Award winner Al G. Sillah ("Distorted") (right)
"Valerie Morgan: TV Qualified" director LaQuanda Plantt with actress Kahlimah Gatson (left); Writer/Creator Kimbercy Marie ("Least Suspect") with guest and "Least Suspect" actress Ashley S. Evans (center); actress LaDonna S. Jackson (right)
Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams delivered a rousing speech on her plans for the future of film in Georgia as the state's next governor
Author/publisher Zane with BWFN former chair Tomika DePriest (left); Dimitri and Ashley Snowden of TLC's "Seeking Sister Wife" (center); red carpet experts Keenyah Hill, Georgia Dawkins and Summer Jackson having a little fun (right)
Songwriter/animator/recording artist EMCEE N.I.C.E. posed for a photo with BWFN staff
"The Quad" actress Marquita Goings (left); realtor/tv personality Gwen Boyd Moss (center); documentarian Alexa Harris (right)
SAG-AFTRA rep Ruth T. Paul closed the Summit with the "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about SAG-AFTRA" session.