The HBCU First LOOK Film Festival is a new festival dedicated to celebrating the achievements of HBCU alumni in film and broadcasting.
The inaugural festival will take place this November at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In addition to showcasing the talents of HBCU students and alumni in film and broadcasting, the festival will also provide opportunities for networking and learning through panel discussions, master classes and a film challenge.
“I’m excited to bring together a collective of partners who share my vision to build an annual initiative exclusively designed to serve as a unique pipeline for HBCU students,” said Sheila Eldridge, Festival Founder and CEO of the award-winning firm Miles Ahead Entertainment & Broadcasting, in a release shared with ESSENCE.
Under the theme “A Celebration of Black Filmmakers Rooted in HBCU Culture,” the festival will kick off with “Opening Night at the Movies” on Friday, November 10, featuring the film ‘Rustin.’ This film tells the story of Bayard Rustin, a key figure in the 1963 March on Washington. It is executive produced by former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama and directed by George C. Wolfe.
“Howard University is committed to cultivating and supporting HBCU students in their pursuits of greatness and we are pleased to be a partner in bringing the HBCU First LOOK Film Festival to our campus this fall,” said Ingrid Sturgis, Film, Television, and Production Department Chair at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications. “This festival will bring together the best and most creative young filmmakers from HBCUs around the country who deserve to be seen, heard, and presented with opportunities to succeed,” Sturgis added.
Other highlights include the filmmakers’ lunch, which will feature a keynote speech by two-time Academy Award-winning film costume designer Ruth E. Carter, an alumna of Hampton University. In addition, TV One will host a session to announce the finalists for the HBCU First LOOK Film Challenge, which received 150 submissions from HBCU students across the country, according to organizers.
The three-day film festival will end on November 12 with an event called “Closing Night at the Movies” featuring the film “The Crossover: 50 Years of Hip Hop and Sports,” along with a “Talk Back” presented by ESPN E60.