HUMANITAS Winner Gina Prince-Bythewood's Film Premieres at Urbanworld Film Festival
The goal of the Urbanworld Film Festival has always been to spotlight the world of filmmakers of color since its beginning in 1997. This year’s event, housed on the top floor of Manhattan’s AMC Theater on 34th Street, showcased 72 short and feature length films, along with TV pilots, educational panels, screenplay competitions, performances and celebrity conversations. Marking its 18th year of lending a supportive hand to those hoping for film financing, distribution and the applause artists often need to encourage creative efforts (themes that clearly shined in the spotlight of 2014’s festival), women and social commentary.
The opening night of this year’s four-day event kicked off last Thursday, with the premiere of writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights. Hitting theaters November 14, the movie stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Danny Glover and Minnie Driver in the story of a pop star succumbing to fame and disease.
The film’s take on mental health and self-esteem provided the basis of thoughtful questions and candid responses during the cast’s post-screening panel discussion, moderated by director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man). Prince-Bythewood moved the crowd by sharing her own personal experience with pain.
“I was adopted and tracked down my birthmother. And found her and she was White. Finding out the circumstances of my birth was very troubling and not the fantasy I had envisioned,” said Bythewood, who also admitted to having a friend who attempted suicide. “I’m grateful to her for giving me up and she was going to abort me. I’m grateful to my adoptive parents. But it was a very crushing thing to find out how I came in to this world. But this as great to be able to write and get that out and get past it.”
"Beyond the Lights" to Receive Special Gala Screening at Chicago International Film Festival, read more at Indie Wire: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/beyond-the-lights-to-receive-special-gala-screening-at-chicago-international-film-festival-in-oct-20140924
Read a short profile of Gina Prince-Bythewood at The Motion Picture Association of America: http://www.mpaa.org/events/an-evening-with-gina-prince-bythewood-and-nate-parker-as-we-look-beyond-the-lights/