Friday, October 2, 2015

2015 Urbanworld Film Festival Highlights | Tyrese Gibson and Misty Copeland

The 2015 Urbanworld Film Festival was hosted by film ambassador, Tyrese Gibson. The festival ran Sept. 23-27. 

It opened with BET biography “Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ” and close with “A Ballerina’s Tale,” the documentary that centers on American Ballet Theater principal dancer Misty Copeland. The two films were part of a full slate of more than 80 films, including shorts, that made up the 19th annual New York festival, presented by BET Networks with HBO.

Check out the video highlights and subscribe to the ROBIN DOWNES NETWORK on Youtube:

Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah’s “The People’s Champ” aims to showcase Ali’s boxing skills and his activism to a millenial audience, and will feature interviews with Laila Ali, Ludacris, Sugar Ray Leonard, Billie Jean King and Common, among many others. Meanwhile, Nelson George’s “Ballerina’s Tale,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, chronicles Copeland professional triumphs as well as her recovery from a painful injury.

Spotlight films include Marc Silver’s “3 1/2 minutes, 10 Bullets,” a documentary about a 2012 shooting; Bobbito Garcia’s “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives,” about the titular hip-hop radio show; and Trey Haley’s mystery “The Man in 3B.”

For more information: http://www.urbanworld.org

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Urbanworld Film Festival to Opens in NYC Sept. 23 - 22nd [TEASER VIDEO]

The 2015 Urbanworld Film Festival will open with BET biography “Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ” and close with “A Ballerina’s Tale,” the documentary that centers on American Ballet Theater principal dancer Misty Copeland. The two films are part of a full slate of more than 80 films, including shorts, that make up the 19th annual New York festival, presented by BET Networks with HBO. Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah’s “The People’s Champ” aims to showcase Ali’s boxing skills and his activism to a millenial audience, and will feature interviews with Laila Ali, Ludacris, Sugar Ray Leonard, Billie Jean King and Common, among many others. Meanwhile, Nelson George’s “Ballerina’s Tale,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, chronicles Copeland professional triumphs as well as her recovery from a painful injury. Spotlight films include Marc Silver’s “3 1/2 minutes, 10 Bullets,” a documentary about a 2012 shooting; Bobbito Garcia’s “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives,” about the titular hip-hop radio show; and Trey Haley’s mystery “The Man in 3B.”



The 2015 Urbanworld festival runs Sept. 23-27. The list of features is below. URBANWORLD FILM FESTIVAL 2015 FILM SLATE OPENING NIGHT “Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champ” – Directed by Coodie Simmons & Chike Ozah (USA) – US Premiere — Presented by BET Networks CLOSING NIGHT “A Ballerina’s Tale” – Directed by Nelson George (USA) SPOTLIGHT FILMS “3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets” – Directed by Marc Silver (USA) “Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives” – Directed by Bobbito Garcia (USA) “The Man In 3B” – Directed by Trey Haley (USA) – East Coast Premiere NARRATIVE FEATURE FILMS “After School” – Directed by Carlos Melendez & Mauricio Mendoza (USA) – New York Premiere “A Girl Like Grace” – Directed by Ty Hodges (USA) – New York Premiere “Breaking Through” – Directed by John Swetnam (USA) – US Premiere “Carmin Tropical” – Directed by Rigoberto Perezcano (Mexico) – New York Premiere “Chapter & Verse” – Directed by Jamal Joseph (USA) – World Premiere “Flow” – Directed by Fenar Ahmad (Denmark) – US Premiere “Honeytrap” – Directed Rebecca Johnson (UK) – New York Premiere “Knucklehead” – Directed by Ben Bowman (USA) “Last Night” – Directed by Harold Jackson III (USA) “Pocha” – Directed by Michael Dwyer (USA) – New York Premiere “Primero De Enero (January 1st)” – Directed by Erika Bagnarello (Dominican Republic) – New York Premiere “Riding 79” – Directed by Karola Hawk Gonzalez (Puerto Rico) – New York Premiere “Romeo is Bleeding” – Directed by Jason Zeldes (USA) “Somewhere In The Middle” – Directed by Lanre Olabisi (USA) – New York Premiere “The Stockroom” – Directed by Victor Cruz (USA) – World Premiere “The Two Of Us” – Directed by Ernest Nkosi (South Africa) – New York Premiere DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILMS “Anatomy of a Dress” – Directed by Flora PĂ©rez-Garay (Puerto Rico) – New York Premiere “Hate Crimes in the Heartland” – Directed by Rachel Lyon (USA) “Dramatic Escape” – Directed by Nick Quested (USA) – World Premiere “Can You Dig This” – Directed by Delila Vallot (USA) – New York Premiere “We Like It Like That” – Directed by Mathew Ramirez Warren (USA) – New York Premiere “In Football We Trust” – Co-Directed by Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn (USA) – New York Premiere “Tap World” – Directed by Dean Hargrove (USA)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Original Tee Golf Classics Celebrates History With Sports, Entertainment and Business Influencers [VIDEO]

Wendell Haskins, Beverly Johnson, Amari "Tigress" Avery, Lee Elder and Roland Martin
On July 20, 2015, the Original Tee Golf Classic held its 16th tournament at Wild Turkey Golf Club in Hamburg, N.J. Over 250 VIPs from various industries participated in the all-day event which honored golf legend Lee Elder for breaking the color barrier at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA forty years ago.

Check out the video highlights of the Original Tee Golf Classic 2014 from the Robin Downes Network



Attendees included supermodel Beverly Johnson, radio/tv host Roland Martin, Wendell Haskins (founder, Original Tee Golf Classic), Iain Page (FOX29 Philadelphia anchor), Keith Clinkscales (CEO, REVOLT), Len Burnett (Publisher, UPTOWN), Sharon Harris (Microsoft), golf phenoms Amari "Tigress" Avery and Alona Avery, entertainment attorney Matt MiddletonJeff Sanchez (NBA Senior Manager, Event Activation), designer Tony Shellman, Derrin Woodhouse (Samsung), Michael Davis (Philadelphia Eagles), Shante Bacon (founder, 135th Street Agency), Dres from Black Sheep, advertising exec Malcolm GillianByron Kirkland (manager of Machine Gun Kelly), Kevin Peck (manager of Dru Hill), Lenny Singletary (BNY Mellon), Kainon Jasper (Bridge Intelligence Group), Latoya Finney (Asst. VP at Barclays Capital), Frank Fraley (Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce), Michael Vann (former owner of The Shark Bar) and Jim Kelly III.

Guests enjoyed on-site haircuts by Denny Moe's Superstar Barbershop from Harlem; an all-day open bar courtesy of Zacapa Rum and Ciroc; a silent auction of sports memorabilia; and clinics hosted by PGA professionals who introduced 25 novice attendees to the game of golf. Golf coach Buddy Cooper led the Nine-Hole Youth Competition along with several PGA professionals including NFPGA Section Member Anthony G. Stepney (UMES DiversitiTee Golf & ProjectNext Tee), New Jersey Section Members Jim Famula (Raritan Golf Center),
Bill Nightingale (Life Member) and Hal Myers (Life Member).

Later that evening at the Awards Dinner hosted by Iain Page, Beverly Johnson - last year's True Original honoree - presented Elder with this year's True Original Award. Tournament winners included golfers Henry Lopez and Greg Lewisfor the adult competition, and Khalid Page, Diana McCready and Alona Avery for the youth competition.

Special thanks to our sponsors Chico'sMercedes-Benz, National Basketball Association (NBA), Zacapa Rum, Delta Airlines, Times Square Communications, Ciroc, Bai Water and GIII by Carl Banks.

Monday, June 15, 2015

ABFF 2015 | Highlights 'Make And Monetize A Successful Web Series' [VIDEO]

With many attendees to the 19th Annual American Black Film Festival (#ABFF2015) taking content creation into their own hands, it was helpful to check out How to Monetize a Successful Web Series, where Andrea Lewis (Black Actress), Numa Perrier, Dennis Dortch (Blackandsexy.tv) and Smokey Fontaine (Interactive One), shared tips on how to take your web series to the next level.

Check out the video highlights from the ABFF playlist on the Robin Downes Network:




Make sure you download the BE Events app, available via iOS and Android. Use the app to register for ABFF events and enter to win a trip for two to ABFF’s 20th anniversary in 2016.
For complete coverage of the 2015 American Black Film Festival, visit www.blackenterprise.com/tag/abff/ or follow along on social media using #ABFF2015. For more information on the films, schedules, and activities, download the BE Events app on iTunes or Google Play.



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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

'Dope' is the opening night movie at the 19th American Black Film Festival (ABFF) on June 11, 2015

Film director Rick Famuyiwa's critically acclaimed film, Dope, sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of American, will open the 19th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) on Thursday, June 11, at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, NYC.  With its New York City premiere, Dope is one of the buzziest and most talked about film releases of the 2015 summer season.

Dope is a coming of age comedy/drama for the post hip hop generation.  High-school senior Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) bond over '90s hip-hop culture, their studies and playing music in their own punk band. A chance encounter with a drug dealer named Dom lands Malcolm and company at the dealer's nightclub birthday party; when the scene turns violent, they flee -- with the Ecstasy that Dom secretly hid in Malcolm's backpack. A wild adventure ensues as the youths try to evade armed thugs who want the stash.

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a sneak peek VIP screening hosted by Open Road Films, Mack Wilds, Angela Yee and the 135th Street Agency.   I found the film to be a fresh 2015 voice for a new generation that is often misunderstood.  The film evoked full belly laughs and thought provoking reflection on the state of affairs for this coming of age generation.  I can see why it is being hailed as a classic in the same status as Boys In The Hood.

The film opens in theaters June 19th.  For tickets to the American Black Film Festival (June 11 - 14, 2015) go to www.abff.com. #DOPEMOVIE

Check out this video clip of the 'Dope' trailer in the 'ABFF Playlist' on the Robin Downes Network:



Subscribe to the Robin Downes Network on Youtube for in depth coverage of #ABFF2015 !


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Saturday, May 30, 2015

American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Announces 2015 Film Lineup

This is an exciting time for me as I make plans to provide media coverage of the 2015 American Black Film Festival taking place in New York City which is taking place June 11- 14th.

In addition to providing updates on my blog here, I will be reporting about the filmmaking process from a socially conscious (mind, body spirit / Yoga Flava) perspective for my new TV Series "Focus Friday's With Yoga Flava"  Subscribe to the show for free on the Focus Broadcasting Network.

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced their highly anticipated roster of films that will screen at this year’s festival. More than 30 documentaries, web originals, short films and narrative features will showcase at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square to a devoted, movie-going audience. (READ MORE HERE)

Check out this video clip of 2015 ABFF Ambassador Welcome - Taraji P. Henson:

For Festival passes and ticket information, visit www.ABFF.com.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

BLACKBIRD - Gay Religious Conflict: Film Director Q & A [VIDEO]

Starring Academy Award® Winning actress Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington, BLACKBIRD tells the story of seventeen-year-old Randy (Julian Walker), a devout Christian, who, as strong as he seems on the outside, is hiding a secret inner struggle - a denial of being gay. It is not until he opens himself up to love that he discovers that becoming a man means accepting who you really are.  The movie opens in theaters April 24, 2015.  You will also be able to stream the film on UrbanMovieChannel.com


I was able to get more insight into the creative process that went into the making of BLACKBIRD provided by director, Patrik-Ian Polk (The Skinny, Noah’s Ark), at a NYC press screening hosted by Traci Blunt from RLJ Entertainment / Urban Movie Channel.  After the screening, the Q & A was hosted and moderated by TheGrio.com Entertainment Editor, Christopher Witherspoon.   Patrick-Ian Polk revealed that the overall theme of the film is that "God Is Love".

Additionally, in the audience was Tatyana Ali (Actress, Fresh Prince of Bel Air), who gave her passionate feedback to the director about how she related to the characters experience of awakening sexuality.

Check out the highlights from the press Q & A and hear Tatyana Ali's validation for Patrick-Ian Polk's storytelling in this video below:



Follow The Conversation: #WeAreBlackbird

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