Opening today, and running through Saturday, a new event will make its debut in Hartford: The International Black and Latino Film Festival.
The festival, which includes workshops, seminars, panel discussions, parties and film screenings, was created by three friends, Hartford residents Vilinda McGregor, Dwayne Douglas and Tracy Ann Smith.
"We had been to several film festivals, including the American Black Film Festival, when it was in Miami, and we did a project and entered it into the Roxbury Film Festival," which spotlights films made by minorities, McGregor says. "We thought we should just have a film festival like it in Hartford. Hartford doesn't have anything like that."
McGregor, Douglas and Smith met while making TV shows together; Douglas is a director, Smith a cinematographer and McGregor acts and does makeup. (Her "day job" is selling cars at Thomas Cadillac Jaguar of Hartford.)
Here's a lineup of events and venues:
The Russell, 103 Pratt St.
7 to 10 p.m., opening remarks and networking
10 p.m., opening-night party
Residence Inn, 942 Main St.
Noon to 1:30 p.m., film screenings, "Latin Heavyhitters of Comedy," filmed at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, by Mariette Rodriquiez. and "Color of Freedom," Bille August's story of apartheid-era South Africa, in which Dennis Haysbert portrays Nelson Mandela. In Xhosa with subtitles, and in English. R.
1:50 to 3:10 p.m., film screenings, "Trouble," Shelley Titus' horror film, and "The Shock of the Hour," a documentary about rapper Slick Love.
3:30 to 5 p.m., film screenings, "Safehouse," an action thriller by Spencer F. Johnson, and "Stolen," a story of revenge against criminality, by Shelley Titus.
5:20 to 6:50 p.m., film screenings, "Indiscretion," Ivan Velez's film featuring various interlocking dramatic stories about life in Hartford; "Mr. Luv," Daniel Cooper's story about lovers reunited; and "Talk to Me," Kasi Lemmons' story about a disc jockey who invigorates a community, starring Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mike Epps. R.
Young! Studios, 942 Main St.
8 to 9:30 p.m., panel discussion/filmmaker spotlight on Joe Young.
Bistro 942, 942 Main St.
10 p.m.-1 a.m., mixer/party
Noon to 1:30 p.m., film screening, "Cross Bronx," Larry Golin's story of four young men (including Jerry Ferrara of "Entourage") making their way though relationships.
1:50 to 3:10 p.m., film screening, "All About Us," Christine Swanson's story of two struggling filmmakers, which features Boris Kodjoe and Ruby Dee.
3:30 to 5 p.m., film screening, "Love Trap," Frank B. Goodin Jr.'s story about a guy who doesn't know what to do when a foxy chick flirts with him.
5:20 to 6:50 p.m., film screening, "The System Within," Dale Resteghini's story about a man who has it all but whose fortunes take a dive.
8 p.m., special performance
9 to 10 p.m., salsa lesson with Rey Bermudez
Life Nightclub, 81 Asylum St.
10 p.m. to 2 a.m., party
Noon to 1:30 p.m., film screening, "17000 Block," Curtis Franklin's gangland drama set in Detroit.
1:50 to 3:10 p.m., film screening, "April Fools," Nancy Norman's horror thriller about mysterious happenings that occur a year to the date that a young man was cruelly led to his death.
3:30 to 5 p.m., film screening, "Restoring Order," Reggie Gaskins' story about a man who suspects his wife of infidelity.
5:20 to 6:50 p.m., film screenings, "Black Sorority Project: The Exodus," Derek Ford and Jamar White's documentary about black sororities, and "Sticks and Stones," Rehema Imani's tense drama about a meeting between angry parents and a confused teacher.
9 a.m. to noon, filmmakers workshop
12:15 to 3:15 p.m., actors workshop
3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Film Commission discussion, "Benefits of Filming in Connecticut"
4:45 to 6 p.m., a talk with writer-director-producer George Millner
Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St.
2 to 3 p.m., film screening and panel discussion, "Blacks and Latinos in Film, Past, Present and Future"
3 to 4 p.m., staged reading of IBLFF Screenplay Competition winner
6:30 to 8 p.m., awards/closing Remarks
City Steam Brewery Cafe, 942 Main St.
10 p.m. to 2 a.m., closing-night party
Also showing, at as-yet-unspecified times, are "Quincy & Althea" by Doug Lenox; "She's Got It" by Jeff Benson; "Contending for the Faith: Public Enemy No. 1," J. Stan McCauley; "The Gospel According to Lenny," J. Stan McCauley; "It's Christmas Dr. Joe" by Joe Young; and "Games" by Bill Slue.
Buy passes and event tickets at Young! Studios, 942 Main St., or by calling 860-560-1122. Passes to free events can be picked up at the opening-night party. For details about the festival, visit www.iblff.com.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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