- Faith & Family
Filmmaking is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative industries in the world and Miami has become one of the top choices for settings both because of its beautiful environment and its multicultural pool of actors. But Black filmmakers are still struggling to gain access to the industry and to become noticed for their own quality work. That’s why a team of committed visionaries from Miami have come together to produce the first annual Miami Inner City Film Festival, which opens at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium on Thursday, May 10 and runs through Saturday, May 12.
The goal of the Festival is to bring greater attention to a niche market that has long been ignored by the mainstream industry — Black filmmakers. Other festivals abound in Miami, including the Miami Jewish, Gay & Lesbian, Latin and Women’s International, but none give credence or attention to Miami’s inner city population or the filmmakers that live and work there.
Film Festival highlights
Curtis Ballard, 37, the writer, producer and director of “Baghdad” which will be featured during the three-day event [it premiered last summer], is one of the co-founders of the Festival.
“Our goal is to bring awareness to the public of the ins and outs of the film business,” he said. “We are catering to younger minds interested in filmmaking and wanted to bring this to our community at an affordable price so they can get really get involved and talk to directors, actors and writers.”
Ronny Cush, another co-founder, will premier his film “Brianna,” a suspense-filled feature that tells the tale of a young girl who is kidnapped, forced into a brothel and then finds that her first client is none other than the pastor of her church.
“When the ABFF [American Black Film Festival] comes to Miami every summer, we tend to get left out,” he said. “We have a lot of talented directors and actors that make Miami their home and deserve the same kind of exposure. We shouldn’t have to wait for Hollywood to give us their approval. We can create our own market. That’s why this Festival is so important.”
Eddie Brown, a Opa-Locka entrepreneur, is another co-founder. He says bringing art and culture to the inner city in the form of film projects has long been his dream.
“There will be a variety of shorts and feature films that will demonstrate that Blacks in Miami have equal proficiency in cinematography, acting, directing and script writing,” he said. “We hope that this venture will attract production companies, investors and industry insiders to the inner city.”
Ballard believes that given the exposure, lesser-known Black actors and filmmakers from Miami’s inner city, will illustrate that they have just as much talent and creativity as Hollywood’s “A-team.”
“Sometimes you have to explore other markets in order to promote your product,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing with my own film. We know we’re just as good as the folks in LA. And we intend to prove it.”
Other co-founders of the Festival include: Perry Cassagnol [director, “The Forgotten Father”] and Serge Jean [line producer, “Baghdad”].
For the complete schedule go to www.micff.net or call 786-558-3323.
By D. Kevin McNeir