For the past two decades, The Urbanworld Film Festival has been one of the largest international competitive festivals in the world. Founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes, the legendary festival is a unique space that connects Black directors, writers, producers and actors from across the diaspora to showcase their work in front of a captive audience.
This year’s festival will be no different — except in one way.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the festival will be virtual, going from September 23 to 27.
David Oyelowo’s feature directorial debut, The Water Man, in which he also stars, will open the festival on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:30 P.M. The fantasy-adventure film follows a boy who sets out on a quest to save his ill mother by searching for a mythic figure said to have magical healing powers.
A conversation with Oyelowo, Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller moderated by Ava DuVernay will immediately follow the screening, as well as a special performance by singer Alice Smith.
Additionally, on the same day at at 5:00 P.M. ET, there will be a conversation around Amazon Studios’ All In: The Fight for Democracy. The documentary examines the often overlooked, yet insidious issue of voter suppression in the United States and interweaves personal experiences with current activism andhistorical insight to expose a problem that has consistently corrupted democracy.
The conversation will include directors Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus along with activist DeRay McKesson and moderator Keith Boykin.
In recognition of National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, the documentary will be available on Urbanworld’s Vimeo Channel for the full day (12:01am ET - 11:59pm ET), with with an introduction by Fair Fight Action’s Stacey Abrams, along with directors and producers Garbus and Cortés.
The horror satire Bad Hair will screen on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 8:00 P.M.. A conversation about the making of the film with writer/director Justin Simien, Lena Waithe, Elle Lorraine and Kelly Rowland will be moderated by entrepreneur Tahira Joy.
On Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:00 P.M., Candyman director/co-writer Nia DaCosta, Teyonah Parris and Vanessa Williams will have an intimate conversation around the contemporary incarnation of the cult classic.
The festival will close with Come Away, which stars David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie, on Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. The film imagines a world before Peter became Pan and Alice visited Wonderland. The screening will be followed by a conversation, moderated by Urbanworld Film Festival Founder Stacy Spikes, with Oyelowo and Alice herself, actress Kiera Chansa.
Urbanworld's Founding partner HBO is joined by key supporters including WarnerMedia as Prestige partner and Amazon Studios, BET Networks and 150 as Premiere partners.
Tickets are on sale now, click here.
Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage