NBTF Film Fest continues to grow

The Last Revolutionary

NBTF Film Fest continues to grow
August 03
11:59 2017

Since 2003, along with featuring over 100 onstage productions, performed by some the best black theater companies in the world, the National Black Theatre Festival has also showcased known and unknown independent films, and filmmakers who are making a difference with their work as well.

From very humble beginnings (in a hotel room with only two or three films), the NBTF Film Fest has become one of the week’s most anticipated events. This year the event will show 32 different films from independent filmmakers from across the United States.

Event coordinator Kathryn Mobley said the event started by accident. Mobley, who also serves as the senior video producer for the City of Winston-Salem’s WSTV Digital Media, said while black actors have come a long way, in most cases movie producers aren’t knocking down doors for black actors to play in their films. And in most cases, white actors are paid twice as much.

“What they’ve done is created their own projects. They’ve teamed together and many of those alliances were created by coming here to the Black Theatre Festival,” she continued. “They swap information and reconnect and come back with these wonderful projects.”

“The Last Revolutionary” is an example of that. It was directed by Michael Brewer, who made the film based on the play that was presented at the NBTF two years ago. Brewer said he saw the play at the NBTF, contacted the playwright, and they collaborated on the film. It stars well-known actors Marla Gibbs and John Marshall Jones.

The film is set in 2015 and it tells the tale of a life and death confrontation between two men whose lives have taken different paths since the Black Liberation days. The plot follows Mac Perkins, who is confronted by an ex- revolutionary buddy named Jack who persuades Mac to change his political stance. The film will be playing in Studio 2 of the a/perture Cinema today and tomorrow, Friday Aug. 4,  at 9:45 a.m. and will feature a Q. and A. session following the film.

The film fest offers fare from comedies to dramas that tackle real life issues. This years’ event has it all.

Just a few films that take a closer look at issues plaguing the black communities across the country are “Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. is the Answer,” “The Last Revolutionary,” and “Searching for Shaniqua.” “Walking While Black” looks at racial profiling in minority comminutes from the perspective of African-American officers. The film by A.J. Ali and Errol Webber features commentary from Bobby Kimbrough Jr., a city native and retired law enforcement officer at the local, state and national level. Following the viewing of the film earlier this week, Kimbrough answered questions about the film and his 30-year career.

“Searching for Shaniqua” deals with the impact of having a name like “Shaniqua,” which is usually connected to race and how people make judgments on individuals based solely on their names. According to the film’s official website, ‘“Searching for Shaniqua’ is a documentary that examines the impact of unique, Afrocentric, Islamic, and so-called ‘ghetto’ names have on people’s lives.” The film is directed by Phillip Branch and will be shown in Studio 2 of the a/perture Cinema today and tomorrow at 1 p.m.

If you’re looking for a laugh, Mobley recommends “Lemonade Mafia” or “Cruise Control.” Other films generating a lot of early buzz include “Soul City,” “Raising Kings,” “In Pursuit of Justice” and “Darkroom.”

“We have an array of fabulous films,” said Mobley. “When you’re supporting these films and these individuals, you are supporting black arts, and that’s what the National Black Theatre Festival is about.”

For more information on the NBTF Film Fest or for a list of films that will be shown throughout the week, visit

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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