Typically held in the heart of New York City, this year’s Urbanworld Film Festival is literally coming to you. From September 23 to 27, film lovers can deep dive into the first-ever virtual edition of the venerable film showcase from their own home, the park or anywhere there’s a strong WiFi signal.

Aptly themed “A Brave New [Virtual] World,” this year’s festival is as star-studded as ever. Participants include David Oyelowo, longtime supporter Ava DuVernay, Rosario Dawson, Kelly Rowland, Candyman director Nia DaCosta, Dear White People creator Justin Simien, Lena Waithe and many more. 

Highly-anticipated films screening in Urbanworld, followed by post-film discussions, include Simien’s latest Bad Hair for Hulu starring Kelly Rowland, Vanessa L. Williams and Waithe; Oyelowo’s directorial debut The Water Man starring himself; the Baltimore-set Charm City Kings, starring Jahi Di’Allo Winston (perhaps best-known as young Ralph Tresvant from BET’s The New Edition Story), rapper Meek Mill and Love Is star Will Catlett.

Hot-ticketed conversations feature Robert Townsend speaking with Radha Blank, creator of Netflix’s The Forty-Year-Old Version, a one-on-one with Alano Mayo, the newly-minted president of Orion Pictures, as well as Candyman director and co-writer DaCosta, discussing the film along with stars Teyonah Parris and Vanessa Williams.

For nearly 25 years, Urbanworld, founded in 1997, has curated the best of global possibilities from content creators of color, working within an urban aesthetic and this year’s virtual edition doubles down on that. And no pandemic can disrupt the Urbanworld mission.

Radha Blank
Radha Blank appears in her film The 40-Year-Old Version, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. (Courtesy of Sundance Institute/ Eric Branco)

Discovering new talent is the heartbeat of Urbanworld and, as always, urban content creators from all over the globe drive the festival with some 20 countries being represented through content from a variety of platforms, including narrative features, web originals, animated shorts, documentaries and music videos.

“In an unimaginable year of change, we remain inspired by the creativity, culture and community that prevail in this brave new virtual world. Powerful storytelling is now more important than ever and Urbanworld is proud to be a consistent platform that brings Black, Indigenous and people of color storytellers and audiences together from across the globe,” shared Urbanworld Film Festival Director and Head of Programming, Gabrielle Glore. 

To find out more about this year’s festival, visit urbanworld.org. Tickets begin at $15 and cap off at $75.