HBCU First LOOK Film Festival (HBCUFLF) kicks off its inaugural year at Howard University also known as ‘the Mecca.’ The festival will take place the weekend of November 10 – 12, 2023 and showcase a stellar group of leading HBCU alumni joining the (HBCUFLF) initiative with film challenges, internships, college tours and additional festival programming.
With the theme ‘A Celebration of Black Filmmakers Rooted in HBCU Culture’,” attendees will experience a diaspora of HBCU students and alumni in film and broadcast coming together to celebrate Black films, nurture Black talent, and provide a platform for emerging filmmakers to showcase their creative work.
“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,” states Sheila Eldridge, Festival Founder and CEO of the Award-Winning firm, Miles Ahead Entertainment & Broadcasting.
Kicking off “Opening Night at the Movies” on Friday, November 10 is Netflix and Higher Ground’s ‘Rustin’. Executive produced by Higher Ground’s Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, ‘Rustin’ is the story of Bayard Rustin, the architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington. The special screening will be held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Directed by DGA Award and five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe and starring Emmy Award winner Colman Domingo. Produced by Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen, Higher Ground’s Tonia Davis and George C. Wolfe, the film features an all-star cast. Rustin will be in select theaters November 3 and on Netflix November 17.
As part of its programming, the festival hosted an HBCU First LOOK Film Challenge. The challenge has received over 150 submissions from HBCU students across the country who are expected to converge on the campus of Howard University.
On Saturday, November 11th Café Mocha radio’s “My HBCU JOY” filmmakers’ lunch will feature Hampton alum, two-time Academy Award winning film costume designer Ruth E. Carter, as Keynote Speaker. She will be honored with the Café Mocha Salute HER’ Women of Style Award presented by AARP.
TV One will present A Conversation with Urban One Founder and Chairperson, Cathy Hughes where seven HBCU First LOOK Film finalists will be announced with the winner receiving a $5,000 grand prize.
The festival’s “Closing Night at the Movies” will feature the film, “The Crossover: 50 years of Hip Hop and Sports,” and ‘Talk Back’ presented by ESPN E60. A surprise performance will accompany this film block.
From panel discussions to Master Classes led by alumni, participants will have the opportunity to attend two days of continuous curated screenings of independent films in the festival’s “We Gotta Have It” Film Marathon, which will also feature HBCU student filmmaker finalist films. They can attend the 1st Annual PITCHFEST with major Hollywood Executives and visit the Career Lounge where participants will have the opportunity to jumpstart their careers with internship opportunities.
Presenting sponsors and media partners include AARP, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Café Mocha Network, Howard University Television + Film. Howard University Television (WHUT), HBCUGO.TV, Howard University Radio Network HBCU SiriusXM Channel 142, L.A.I. Communications, ESPN and Netflix.