Feb '00
IMAGENATION - 2nd Annual Awards

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Interviewed by Nasser Metcalfe

As Moikgantsi strolls Manhattan's downtown hip spot, "The Spy Bar", it seems as though she maintains a strong sense of purpose. 1999 Winners After all, a lot has happened to lead to this moment. Two years ago she started Imagenation, a self described "Year-Round Film and Music festival." Tonight's jam not only marks the 2nd anniversary, but also it's an Awards ceremony, honoring the best of the 1999 season. Of course it would not be an Imagenation affair without live performances to compliment the screenings. "My ultimate goal is to go into distribution and exhibition," explains Moikgantsi of Imagenation's origin. "So I thought this would be a good way to get my name out there and to begin a building relationships with filmmakers." Because she also has a love for arts in general, the concept of Imagenation typically includes music and spoken word performances. The event has provided a platform for various underground artists, including reknowned poets Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, and Mums the Schemer as well as acclaimed recording artist Olu. Among the 50 short films that Imagenation has screened is Morningside Prep, the critically praised first effort of writer, director Malcolm D. Lee, whose first feature, The Best Man was a major success. Held monthly, the festival's mission is to showcase filmmakers of the Afrikan Diaspora. There is usually a post screening and Q&A with the directors.

On a brisk late November evening, members of New York's elite artistic community came out in force to celebrate Imagenation's 2nd Anniversary Jam and Awards Ceremony. The event opened with Moikgantsi introducing the evening's host, Comedian Jon Laster. Next were spoken word offerings from Alvin Seme and Ainsley Burrows. The evening's headliner was Alternative Soul band "Raoul's Candy Shoppe" featuring Alexis. After the Awards presentation DJ Spinna rocked the turntables with a choice selection of current hits as well as soul classics.

The films nominated for the coveted Indie of the Year award were as compelling as they were diverse. Nominees included the informative Take Your Bagsby Camille Billups; the rivetingSheila and Rosi Get Paidby Rhandi Taylor; the compellingIf You Love Somebodyby Michael P. Britto; as well as the insightful The Book of Ezekiel by La Trice Dixon. The winner, however, wasIsolated Incidentsby Kahil Shkymba, a stirring drama that deals with the issue of Police brutality in New York City. The film's purpose is to shed light on injustice according to Shkymba. Of his win the filmmaker states "It feels good because when I wrote the story it was based on my outrage. I wasn't thinking that I could win an award with this." The next step for Kahil Shkymba and his Hook or Crook production company is to finish a few technical aspects of Isolated Incidentsin preparation for a planned College tour, as well as looking at new scripts for future projects.

As for Moikgantsi and Imagenation, the new year should bring growth and development. In addition to pushing forward with her production company Het Heru Pictures, she harbors lofty ambitions for the future. With plans to expand to include a documentary award, in addition to an audience award; a jury prize for next year's winners and a series of events dedicated to more to music. Blackfilm.com wishes much success in 2000 and beyond.

Imagenation is held monthly at Void, 16 Mercer St. & Howard, NYC. For more information, contact: Trevite Willis 212 802-4634 or Moikgantsi 212 631-1189. Look for the Website to be launched in February. Click on to www.Imagenationfilms.com.


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