captains log: afrikana film festival 2017

a karynrose bruyning recollection

This weekend the guys ( Stephen Cofield Jr., star of both PERCEPTION and I KNOW THE SUNSET, Skyler James , author of the poem that appears in PERCEPTION which he also co- stars in, and one half of DREAMABLE MUSIC GROUP, and Dominique Perera ) and I left New York for Richmond, Virginia to take part in the Afrikana Film Festival and it was awesome!

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We laughed, we danced, ate good, celebrated both Stephen and Dominique'd birthday, and watched some truly inspiring films, made by some thoughtful and truly talented filmmakers. These were the easy parts.

The not so easy parts came as I sat in galleries and theaters waiting as the people received my films, many of which were seeing them for the first time. The first Christmas In July 1982 film being screened was THE COLORED HOSPITAL, written and directed by my former intern/ assistant, Terrance Daye. I love this film! It's technically sound, visually beautiful, and it's message is pointed and necessary but will these people get it?? Will they love it like I did when I knew that we HAD to produce it and work to get it to the world? I never know the answer to that so I was eager to hear back from the audience when it was time to speak on the panel. The result? They understood it. They dug it. We had a great conversation. Now I'm storming down the street to the next location where PERCEPTION is playing and I've relaxed a bit. Having had to sit in the audience as people watched this film once before ( months after it's first screening) and having someone fuss at me during the talk back ( after receiving and overwhelming round of applause), I walked in steadfast in my belief that this film is a great indication of who I was when I made it and was more than enough for me. I watch the film and listen to the people laugh where I want them to and feel sadness the way I intended and that makes me happy. I'm on the panel with Brittany Sanfoka who's film, CURIOSITY, is so interesting that I forget where I'm at and that I'm to speak at all. Her film is smart and the panel goes amazingly well. I have a special love for the people in this audience. They are lively bunch which always fun. Then I'm zooming to  THE BIJOU THEATER for the PREMIERE which according to Google maps is a 9 minutes away ( and it was but it fell much longer on the count of me wearing all black and the humidity having no love for that ) after having explained that I live in Manhattan so walking is a way of life. I get there in time to peak into see quite a large audience ( larger than the last two I'd seen) and note that they are at about the midpoint of the film. I ask the usher to let me know when the film ended and let her know that I would be outside. This was the first time anyone would see the finished film outside of Artemus Jenkins, Enjoli Moon ( the curator and founder of The Afrikana Film Festival) and I so rather than sit in the theater and be a great big ball of nerves, I generally opt to excuse myself. I step back in just in time to hear the last lines of the film and this amazing applause! The talk back was the kind that as a filmmaker, you hope to get for a new film. the audience seemed to really FEEL my film which is all I ever really wanted. Their question the kind that I'd hoped to be asked as it pertained to this film and I left feeling like it was a success. I got a few blocks from the theater to find a group of women circled around Stephen asking more questions about the film which is always nice.

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Then we heading to do more eating, laughing,and dancing! As I said from the start, The Afrikana Film Festival was awesome and if the reception of I KNOW THE SUNSET in Richmond was any indication of how the films  going to do with audiences, then I'm sure this will be a fun ride.

1 down, 2 to go. Next up, New York City! Details coming soon