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Martha’s Vineyard Holds African American Film Festival

The Vineyard Gazette Reports that Martha’s Vineyard is going to be running an African American Film Festival, from August 6th to August 11th, and some big names are participating, including Moonlight director Barry Jenkins.

In an interview with the Gazette, Jenkins talked about the response he got to his film and characters, which won an Academy Award. “Thinking of it now, and how much the movie has meant to people who lived that experience, I kind of want to see the glass half-full,” he said. “I think that maybe there is a beautiful version of the world.” One interesting story he shared on the power of cinema regarded the Japanese response to the film. “Some of the critics there were talking to me about how Japanese businessmen really responded to the film because they have to go out in their work life and perform this very macho, alpha-man persona,” he said. “And it ends up bleeding into the way they are with their families.”

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Jenkins will be closing out the festival with a discussion and screening of selected clips from his latest film, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, If Beale Street Could Talk. The story revolves around a young man falsely accused of sexual assault and imprisoned, after which his girlfriend discovers she is pregnant and works to prove her innocence. He said he is excited to show parts of the film, which is in the final editing stages, to the Vineyard audience.

“When it’s inside your head for as long as it’s been in my head, you can’t wait to share it with people,” he said. “Especially because I assume there will be a high concentration in this audience of people who are familiar with Baldwin’s work.”

This marks a huge jump for the festival since its humble beginnings 16 years ago, where it was founded as a side project by Stephanie and Floyd Rance. “In the last five years, the festival sort of exploded,” Ms. Rance told the Gazette. Organizing it and a sister festival in Washington D.C. has become her full-time job. “This year, with all the big content and talent that’s coming, it feels massive,” she said.

Other guests include Spike Lee, Tarana Burke, as well as a live concert with Angie Stone, PJ Morton, and the Woo Factor. “That’s a whole new thing that we’re venturing into, adding music to the festival,” Ms. Rance said.

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Written by PH

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