The 11th annual Youth Diversity Film Festival will open this weekend, featuring panel discussions and more than 60 films by young filmmakers from the U.S. and 13 other countries, including the UK, Kenya, Russia, Brazil, Bangladesh, South Korea, Iran and India. Presented by the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, the online festival runs January 16-31.
BHERC president Sandra Evers-Manly, a former president of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP, will open the festival on Saturday, and introduce the young filmmakers. On Monday, they’ll discuss their films and take part in a conversation on social justice.
Saturday’s panel, moderated by Frank Bennett Gonzalez, the DGA’s executive in charge of diversity programs and committees, will focus on how sound and music support storytelling. Panelists will include Glenn T. Morgan, supervising sound editor (Dear White People); Bobbi Banks, former president of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (Straight Outta Compton); Jesse Dodd, ADR mixer (Chicago Fire); Joe Earl, re-recording mixer (Pose); Greg Hedgepath, supervising sound editor (Coming 2 America); Joel C. High, music supervisor (House of Payne), and DeVaughn Watts, music editor (Endings, Beginnings).
Sunday afternoon’s panel on animation will be moderated by Mary Jo Miller, associate director, studio operations, current TV mastering at The Walt Disney Company. Panelists will include Lyndon J. Barrois, Sr., animation director (The Matrix Reloaded); Ron Husband, animator (The Lion King), who was the first the first African-American supervising animator for Walt Disney Studios; and sisters Shawnee and Shawnnelle Gibbs, staff writer at Warner Bros. Animation.
Sunday evening’s panel on costume design will feature panelists Darlene Jackson (American Gangster); Provi Fulp Ramphal (Black Lightning); Michelle Cole (Grown-ish); Betty Fenner-Davis, costume design instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; Fontella Boone, (Passengers) and Rita McGhee (Empire).
“We are honored to have the commitment and participation of these outstanding, tops in their fields of expertise, and highly celebrated individuals who are committed to mentoring and teaching our future filmmakers,” Evers-Manly said. “Their impact is diverse and reaches across the globe.”
“This year is packed with compelling and emotional themes, as well as laughter,” said festival director Billie Green. “We continue to celebrate our young filmmakers and are delighted to provide this platform that spotlights their perseverance and determination, as well as the connection to outstanding professionals who are working in the industry.”