Long Beach Indie International Film Festival Opens With 2014 SXSW Audience Choice Winner “Take Me to the River”

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Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, and Grammy winners and nominees join emergent filmmakers from across the globe for the five-day film festival, conference, and college fair.

Take Me to the River

Celebrating global diversity through film, television and digital media.

Celebrating global diversity through film, television and digital media, the Long Beach Indie International Film Festival takes place August 27-31, 2014 at the Cinemark at the Pike Theaters in Long Beach, California. Showcasing more than 90 films from across the globe, the event is presented by Perfect Works and includes a Digital Edutainment Conference and a College and Career Fair co-sponsored by the BLU Educational Foundation that exposes urban youth to options in higher education and careers in the entertainment industry. The conference and college fair are both free and occur on Saturday, August 30th, at the Long Beach Convention Center. Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland (Anna), Academy Award nominee Margaret Avery (The Color Purple), Emmy winners Charles Ragins (The Simpsons), Mark Kirkland (The Simpsons) and P. Frank Williams (Unsung, American Gangster), along with multiple Grammy winner David Porter are confirmed speakers at the festival.

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Long Beach Indie opens with 2014 SXSW Audience Choice winner “Take Me to the River.” Produced by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Hairston (Talking Heads), directed by Grammy nominee Martin Shore and narrated by Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow, Iron Man), the film examines the music and history of Memphis, Tennessee through the songs and stories of its most celebrated musicians.

Starring Long Beach native Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, William Bell, Al Kapone, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Oscar winner Frayser Boy (Hustle & Flow) and the North Mississippi All-Stars, Variety Magazine called “Take Me to the River", "real and genuine and straight from the heart.” After the screening David Porter will join Bell and Kapone to answer audience questions. The night ends with an all-star after-party and jam session at Sevilla Night Club (140 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA) featuring Bell and Kapone backed by the band SoFresh, entertainer Isaiah Walker aka Iconic and Las Vegas hip hop stars Strong Hustle. A portion of the proceeds from the opening night festivities benefit the Believe Foundation and its mission to bring high quality arts education to urban America.

The brainchild of historian and filmmaker Dr. Daniel E. Walker, the spirit of Long Beach Indie is education, inspiration and social change. A research associate at the University of Southern California, Walker, states, “I recognize the power of film and digital media and simply want to channel these mediums productively to an inclusive range of communities. At the core of this commitment are the diverse young people who live in the shadows of Hollywood but very seldom shape the images that it distributes.” Long Beach Indie affirms the value of youth through the College and Career Fair, a showcase of student filmmakers from California State University Long Beach, and by screening an entire suite of films with positive images of young African American and Latino men.

Long Beach Indie is packed with global and domestic cinema including feature films, shorts, panels and industry showcases. On Thursday, August 28th, “Confessions of a Womanizer” (Gary Busey, C. Thomas Howell, Jillian Rose Reed and Andrew Lawrence) screens alongside the powerful documentary “In Collaboration with Bill T. Jones: Reading, Mercy and the Artificial Nigger” produced by the CSULB Dance Department.

Friday evening’s showcase films are the romantic drama “Never” and the uplifting sports documentary “Inner City Champions." “Never” stars Zachary Booth (Damages) and Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams, in her debut as a lead actress in a feature film.

The schedule for Saturday, August 30th, includes a panel from the upcoming documentary “The Black Actress Project” featuring Margaret Avery, Jose Pepe Bojorquez’ romantic drama “Hidden Moon/Luna Escondida", the Sri Lankan political drama “Thanha Rathi Ranga”, and “Makin’ Wookiee”, a captivating documentary that follows a group of adolescent actors from Orange County as they perform a musical parody of Star Wars. “Hidden Moon” is an international co-production between the U.S. and Mexico and stars Wes Bentley (American Beauty), award-winning Mexican actress Ana Serradilla, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Linda Gray and new international heartthrob Osvaldo de León. As Bojorquez states, “We are honored to bring this award-winning film to Long Beach Indie. Placing us in this featured spot shows the festival’s commitment to diversity and independent filmmaking.”

The last day of the festival presents a short film showcase curated by the Latino Queer Arts and Film Festival, the world premiere of “Sing Your Own Song: An Opera Love Story”, plus a block of deeply dramatic short films starring the likes of Stephen Collins (7th Heaven, Revolution), David Lyons (Safe Haven, Revolution), Corey Johnson (Captain Phillips, Saving Private Ryan) and Argentine star Erica Rivas (Casados con Hijos). The festival’s awards ceremony and after-party conclude the five-day extravaganza.

Tickets and festival passes are available at http://www.longbeachindie.com. For more information, e-mail info(at)longbeachindie(dot)com or call (562) 216-8287.

Long Beach Indie is co-sponsored by Yelp and Cafe Sevilla along with festival partners Team Diesel Productions, Boulder Entertainment, Long Beach Cinematheque, the Believe Foundation and the BLU Educational Foundation. Major advertisers include the California Endowment, West Point (U.S. Military Academy) and Brooks Institute.

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Daniel E. Walker
Long Beach Indie International Film Festival
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