Sept 99: INDIEworld at Urbanworld
Festival Overview

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by Carl Davis

Whether you are a film neophyte, seasoned pro, or film student, Urbanworld can provide a fantastic level of exposure and access.

Black media is not limited to "gun and drug toting" inner-city dramas or "I got to get mine" hustler pictures. The films reflect an extensive range of stories about the African-American community. Advance Screenings of studio films legitimized Urbanworld. Halle Berry's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge opened the festival. In Too Deep with LL Cool J and Director / Writer Malcolm Lee's freshmen film, The Best Man were also previewed.

The panels gave attendees invaluable information through lecture and Q&A with a broad spectrum of industry professionals:

* Let's Get Digital (moderated by Vallery Moore, discussed multi-media applications and their use in the future of the film industry.

* The Actor's Workshop was an intimate conversation with Sam Jackson. He discussed the development of his career, specific life challenges and upcoming projects.

* At the Studio Pitch panel, executives from BET, New Line Cinema, USA Films and notable filmmakers described key issues in realizing your film dream. They communicated solid advice on developing your film idea and getting your script through the Hollywood maze.

* The Clinic was a look at the non-glamorous nut sand bolts of the movie business. Lawyers, agents and CPAs discussed vital topics such as licensing, finance and trademark issues.

* Latin Boom explored the recent emergence of film in this growing market

Seasoned filmmakers and students found a smorgasbord of exposure to the industry. Producers, distributors, studio and network execs and actors had a chance to view the daily screenings. Films can gain theatrical release, independent and video distribution or even post-production funding from this exposure. The networking chances are tremendous. The panels offer a great forum for information. Throughout the festival industry professional are open and personable; it is easy to establish valuable contacts in an industry that thrives on nepotism.

For those with a budding interest in film, the Urbanworld Film Festival is enlightening. If you have not loaded a Bolex, cut on a Steinback, or written the final FADE OUT, Urbanworld is also for you. It provides an exciting and congenial atmosphere to learn and focus. The cutting edge nature of the independent films and shorts are inspiring. The premieres of commercial films are a star-studded event. The industry executives and filmmakers are affable and will answer any question.

Urbanworld presented a unique experience for the filmmaking community. It provided a congenial, exciting environment where one could enjoy a movie premiere, network with industry insiders, be enlightened to the fine points of the industry or hear the honest appraisal of your peers. For industry veterans and all those aspiring to cinematic greatness, Urbanworld provides an atmosphere conducive to your professional and aesthetic growth.


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