Earlier this month, a dear friend of mine recommended me to the New Orleans Film Society to be invited as a filmmaker who lives and works in the South. I would be given All Access to attend all the events and watch as many movies as I wanted. Of course, I jumped on this opportunity to be a part of it and I am sure glad I did.
The festival took place between October 11th through the 19th and I was able to only attend the festival for just two days. But I tell you my schedule filled up pretty fast as there was so much to do, but very little time. I was able to network with other filmmakers and make new friends, it was quite a delight. I watched as many films as I could and meet some incredible filmmakers and actors. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Ms. Gabourey Sidibe (Empire, Precious) after her directorial debut, A Tale of Four screened as well as actor Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) shortly after his film Mudbound ( which is bound to win an Oscar, for sure) made it's debut in his hometown of New Orleans. I also made sure to attend some panels as well. One of the panels that I was looking forward to was the "Meet the Programmers" panel. The purpose of the panel was to provide a platform for filmmakers to ask questions about the different stages that happen after submitting a film to a festival. I raised the question about the lack of positive stories/images of Africa that are represented in film festivals in general. A great discussion followed and we came to the conclusion that there is a huge disconnect between both spectrums ( Film Festivals and African Filmmakers) and efforts need to be made especially on the programmers end to reach out to this community in order to have more access to films done by Africans. By the end of the panel, I made sure I shared my film with every programmer in attendance by giving them film business card that I had prepared mainly for this particular reason. Yes, I came ready! As a result of these interactions, I am now in communication with programmers from the Atlanta Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Vimeo, Sarasota Film Festival and the SideWalk Film Festival to have the Mr. Gele film submitted for consideration.
Mission accomplished. So I am excited about the future of our film and we'll see how far we'll go!
Below are some photos I was able to take despite my crazy schedule: