By KENYA KING (Special to the Daily World)
The Black Women Film Network held its annual Black Women Film Festival at the Savannah College of Art and Design on June 17-19, 2011. Celebrating its 15th year, the festival showcased several documentary films about African- American women, held workshops about the film industry, hosted a Black Women Book Festival brunch featuring Black female authors and a networking affair featuring Black Entertainment Television’s programming executive.
The festival kicked off with a reception at the Woodruff Arts Center and viewing of films about experiences of African- American women, including “Crime after Crime,” which tells the story of a woman jailed for involvement in her abuser’s murder. Former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young’s documentary, “Stars Fell on Alabama” was also shown.
The business side of filming included sessions on writing, producing and marketing films. Filmmaker and veteran writer Rhonda Baraka, whose newest film “Trinity Goodheart,” starring Eric Benet, was a keynote panelist for the “How to Write and Produce A Successful Film” workshop. “Trinity Goodheart,” a faith-based drama, premieres in August on the Gospel Music Channel.
The Black Women Film Network’s founder, Sheryl Riley Gripper, shared her story of how the organization began while she was studying film in college.
“I got my master’s in film, and in my film classes, there were no other African-American women and my instructor, a young 26-year-old White man said, ‘We need more stories like yours. Yours are the untold stories. What are you going to do about it?’ So, in 1997, I started the Black Women Film Preservation Project to preserve the voice of African-American women through film,” said Gripper.
“It has evolved into the Black Women Film Network, and today we realized that we need networking opportunities and we need educational opportunities, and we also need faith. So we are here to nurture African American and women, and people – all people who are trying to tell untold stories, who are trying to inspire and who are trying to uplift. In today’s media world, there is so much