*Sophisticated. Classy. Even elegant are just a few of the labels I would use to describe the Women SuperStars Luncheon of the BronzeLens Film Festival 2010 held on November 13th, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA.
Everything from the Tiffany bracelet gift bags given to the honorees down to the smallest detail of the BLFF logo pastry coin placed atop the dessert, this luncheon was carried out in an utmost fashion.
Whispers of veteran film festival attendees could be heard complementing how this luncheon has already set the BLFF apart from other film festivals and has positioned the BLFF as a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Hosted by Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Omari Hardwick, these two did a phenomenal job in executing their tasks as hosts while a behind-the-scenes-team of hard-working, incessant, organizers, directors, producers, operations managers, marketing and public relations personnel watched their relentless efforts and planning for a successful film festival come to fruition.
The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the presentations, along with musical selections’ interspersed throughout the luncheon performed by lovely actress/singer Demetria McKinney and organizer Kathleen Bertrand all culminated into this remarkable affair. The purpose of this luncheon was to honor the exceptional women of color whom have made extraordinary advances both in front of and behind the BronzeLens and that it did!
Independent filmmaker/director of “I Will Follow,” Ava Duvernay was the recipient of the BronzeLens Emerging Superstar Award. Already screened in mulitple cities throughout the country, “I Will Follow” is a dramatic film starring Salli-Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick, and Blair Underwood in which Duvernay drew from her personal, family experiences to create this outstanding film.
The powerhouse team of Angi Bones and Dianne Ashford, the creative minds behind Symmetry Entertainment, an Atlanta based full service film and video production company started in 2003 by the duo, were the recipients of the BronzeLens Behind The Lens Superstar Award. Their first film together, “Trois: the Escort” was released in 2005 on DVD with a subsequent film “Motives II,” being released on DVD in 2006.
Media maven Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET, was the recipient of the BronzeLens Visionary Superstar Award. Johnson is the producer of the BronzeLens documentary screened during this festival, “The Other City,” a gripping, emotionally stirring documentary about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. The writer and co-producer of the film, Pulitzer Prize winning multimedia journalist Jose Antonio Vargas accepted the award on her behalf in her absence.
The dynamic, incomparable, veteran actress Lynn Whitfield was the recipient of the BronzeLens Legendary Superstar Award. From The Josephine Baker Story to A Thin Line Between Love And Hate, Whitfield has shown her diversity as an actress over the years, paving the way and being an inspiration for many actresses behind her. During her acceptance speech, she once again enlightened guests by showcasing her talents not only by providing a little comic relief, but then following up with her rendition of Ruby Dee’s poem, Calling All Women, which she delivered exceptionally well to great applause.
Last but certainly not least, Robi Reed was the recipient of the BronzeLens Legendary Behind The Scenes Superstar Award. Long gone is the title of the ‘best kept secret in the business’, but now one of the most highly sought after casting agents, Reed has an extensive list of movies (over 60 films: “For Colored Girls,” “The Gospel,” “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “The Fighting Temptations” among others) under her belt as a casting director. This impressive list spans over two decades, showing her perseverance and longevity.
Congratulations to all of these beautiful, bold, strong women of color whose work in the film industry in various ways may have been overlooked, undervalued, or underrated overall and thanks to the entire BronzeLens Film Festival family of planners, directors, organizers (especially Sheryl Gripper, Executive Director, BLFF; Deidra McDonald, Artistic Director, BLFF; and Kathleen Bertrand, SVP- ACVB) for creating this festival to celebrate our Women Superstars!
Madge Evans ([email protected]) covers entertainment and social events in the Atlanta area for EURweb.