NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Spotlights Black Cinema at February 20th Film Festival in Downtown LA

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With Sundance wrapping up for another year, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) celebrates independent film every month at the AT&T center in Downtown LA. On February 20th, NFMLA is thrilled to present its latest red-carpet screening event featuring a Black Cinema shorts program, a narrative shorts program about Love, and a feature film presentation.

It’s awards season and for the second year in a row not a single actor of color was nominated in any of the Oscars’ acting categories, sparking the rapidly trending hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Celebrities, including Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, are boycotting the Academy Awards this season in an effort to bring awareness to the lack of diversity in the mainstream film industry and inspire change.

In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and echoing this important movement, is an independent film, which has just sold for a record-breaking $17.5 million at Sundance. The film’s title, Birth of Nation, is a reclaiming of the same title associated with the D.W. Griffith silent film from 1915. The silent film was once considered one of the first great epic films, but in present day, it is seen as an embarrassingly racist and horrific memento of our country’s intolerance. Director, Nate Parker’s film repurposes the title and instead tells a story about Nat Turner, a former slave in America, who leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African-Americans that results in a violent retaliation from whites. This film paints an unpleasant, but real picture of slavery in the 1800s, which forces the country to confront its ugly past.

With Sundance wrapping up for another year, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) celebrates independent film every month at the 1150 Olive in Downtown LA. On February 20th, NFMLA is thrilled to present its latest red-carpet screening event.

The NewFilmmakers LA Film Fest includes a In Focus shorts program spotlighting Black Cinema, a narrative shorts program celebrating love, and a feature film. In between films, audiences can check out check out filmmaker Q&As or meet and mingle with one another in the premium Cinema Lounge and balcony over cocktails. Details on the featured films playing at the film fest can be found below.

Shorts Program - In Focus: Black Cinema

Leap – Directed by Justin Ervin

A young woman goes upstate for a wistful getaway with a friend who wants to be something more. Upon her return she is faced with reality - and a decision.

Short film director, Ervin, wrote, produced, and shot this film on what he calls a “shoestring budget” and all on location in Upstate New York.

The Real Reality – Directed by Larry Ulrich

The Real Reality series highlights social justice issues and provide viewers practical tools for addressing them. Terrell is a 21-year-old in search of finding the true meaning of manhood with the fear of succeeding against the odds.

Larry Ulrich is Pepperdine University graduate student, focusing on Social Entrepreneurship and Change, who created, hosted, and executive produced this short.

Born With It – Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour

A young half Japanese boy is forced to prove to his Japanese peers that his dark skin is not a disease.    

Director, Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, Jr. was born in Houston, Texas. He received his B.A. in film studies from Stanford University in California and completed Born With It as his master's thesis film while attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Asia. The film went on to NBCUniversal Short Film Festival where it won Best Film and Film With The Greatest Social Impact Award. He is currently at work in Japan on his debut feature film.

Bleach – Directed by Nona Schamus

The close relationship between a mother and daughter is altered after the daughter falls in love with a washing machine.

The film was created as a Columbia University MFA student short film by director Schamus, who has written, directed, and produced over five short films.

To Catch a Dream – Directed by Jim Chuchu

Ajuma, a beautiful grieving widow, is desperate to stop her recurring nightmares. In an effort to end them once and for all, she explores a forgotten traditional remedy that leads her to unexpected discoveries.

Chuchu wrote, directed, shot, edited, and composed To Catch a Dream. His previous short film “Stories of Our Lives,” was nominated for 2015 Best Short Film at the African Movie Academy Awards. This is the third short he has written, directed, and edited in two years during his budding filmmaking career in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also co-founder and Creative Director at the NEST, which is a multidisciplinary art space in Nairobi.

Shorts Program - Love

(en)vie - Directed by Maude Forget
Nathalie lives with her mother with whom she maintains conflicting relationships. Her dark and melancholic everyday life is enlightened by its meetings between friends and its secret passion for her neighbor, Guillaume, who she meets every morning without ever daring to speak to him.

This is Forget’s first short film, which she wrote, directed, and produced. Forget is most often an actress in French films, acting in over 13 independent films.

Allende – Directed by Corwin Garber

Allende traces the moments between a nephew and his uncle as they learn to give each other unconditional love.

Allende stars Julian Brand, who played Mario in Sundance-favorite Dope in 2015.

Stuffed – Directed by Warwick Young

Taxidermist Peter Murphy loves his mother, so when she dies he can't bear to live without her and does all that he can to keep her with him.

Director Young completed his master’s degree at Australian Film Television and Radio School and, it was there that he directed “Stuffed” as student. Not only does he wear the director’s hat, but he has also acted in many films including small roles in Superman Returns and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Hold Back – Directed by Steffen Geypens

When a young introvert skater falls in love with the girlfriend of one of his best friends, he's pushed to his limits by the people who are most close to him.

This was film director, Geypens’s third short film which he has written and directed. He has has worked in post-production on films such as The Lovers, featuring Josh Hartnett and Third Person, featuring Liam Neeson.

Companion – Directed by Andrew Crabtree

Jody sets out on a dangerous wilderness adventure in order to connect with her fiance who died hiking the very same trail. 'COMPANION' is a gritty, vérité look at the struggle and determination of a woman unprepared for the journey ahead of her. All set amongst the gorgeous - if dangerous and deceptive - backdrop of the northern California wilderness.

Companion is director Crabtree’s third short in three years, which he has both written and directed.

Two Kinds of People – Directed by Quincy Perkins

There are two kinds of people, those that read the logline and those that don't. A love story.

Director Perkins has directed six short films over the last ten years. One of which, a short film titled Swingers Anonymous was an official selection at Cannes Film Festival in 2015.

The Truth About Lies - Directed by Phil Allocco

Gilby Smalls is having a meltdown. He’s just been fired from his job, lost his apartment in a fire and his girlfriend gave him the boot. And it’s only Wednesday. Now, at the ripe old age of thirty-something, he is forced to move in with May, his booze-swindling man-obsessed mother. This is the last straw.

The film features a fantastic cast, including Odette Annable (Cloverfield, Transformers, The Holiday) as Racheal, Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods, Training Day, Donnie Darko) as Gilby, Mary Elizabeth Ellis (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as Sharon, Colleen Camp (Apocalypse Now, American Hustle) as May. This is Allocco’s eighth film as a director.

Located in Downtown LA, 1150 Olive is the Presenting Venue Sponsor of NewFilmmakers LA Film Fest (NFMLA). Founded in 2007, NFMLA has screened over 1250+ films from over 67 countries. The organization provides a forum where filmmakers can be recognized with title supporters Sony Pictures Entertainment, TheWrap, SAG-AFTRA, and FilmLA.

For information or to reserve tickets to the NewFilmmakers LA February 20th 2016 screening, please visit

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Alexandra Diantgikis
NewFilmmakers LA
since: 08/2013
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