Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn will kick off festival with concert, first-time DBFF Tech Expo to showcase latest tech and Grammy-winner Kirk Whalum’s film will be screened.
More than 90 films will be screened at the sixth-annual Denton Black Film Festival including several critically acclaimed films such as Amazing Grace, The Apollo and True Justice.
To add to the excitement, Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn will kick off the festival with a concert at 7pm, January 23, 2020 at the newly renovated Margo Jones Hall, 1100 Oakland Street, Denton, on the campus of Texas Woman’s University. Also performing will be the Shelley Carrol Quartet featuring Roger Boykin.
As one of the most comprehensive cultural events in North Texas, the five-day festival, taking place January 22 – 26, 2020, also will include the launch of the DBFF Tech Expo, showcasing the latest in tech from entrepreneurs and companies around the country.
Social justice is among the prominent themes of this year’s screenings and panels, highlighting the issues of criminal and environmental justice. The League of Women Voters-Denton and Denton Votes will have voter registration tables on Friday, January 24 at the Campus Theater, 214 W. Hickory St. for After Selma (a short film that sheds light on voter suppression) and The Evers, Emmy-winning filmmaker Loki Mulholland’s film about civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Additionally, While I Breathe, I Hope is the journey of Bakari Sellers, a young, progressive black man running for office in the South, which will be screened at the Alamo Drafthouse, 3220 Town Center Trail.
Tickets may be purchased and reserved online at DentonBFF.com for all films, including the featured films:
- True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality, the HBO documentary that chronicles the Alabama public interest attorney and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, which is the inspiration behind the film Just Mercy starring Jamie Foxx, currently in wide release. Along with this film, The Marshall Project’s We Are Witnesses – Chicago will be shown. This free community screening will be at 6:30 p.m. January 25 at the Campus Theater.
- Grammy-winner Kirk Whalum’s Humanité: The Beloved Community airs 6:35 p.m. January 25 at Alamo Drafthouse.
- Amazing Grace, the 2018 documentary tribute to the legendary Aretha Franklin, will show at 3 p.m. January 26 at the Alamo Drafthouse.
- The Apollo offers a history of the renowned Harlem theater and is a nominee for Best Documentary at the 2020 Academy Awards. It will close out the festival on January 26th as a free community screening at 4:30 p.m. at the Campus Theater.
There also will be a 45th anniversary showing of the classic “Cooley High”, a coming of age story of a group of teenagers offering a contrast to the Blaxploitation films that had arisen during the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Other featured films are Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ Toni Morrison: The Pieces That I Am, Deborah Riley Draper’s Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, Robert Townsend’s Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy, and Numa Perrier’s Jezebel, co-presented by the Women Texas Film Festival. There also is a new web series category and over 50 short films, including two teen-produced and -directed films, addressing a wide variety of themes.
Along with films, the DBFF Institute, which offers year-round programming for creatives throughout DFW, will host a series of workshops and panels, including: “Social Responsibility of Media Makers”, “8 Essential Qualities of a Successful Freelancer + 50 Killer Marketing Techniques”, and a screening and discussion of “Savages, Servants and Specialty Acts”.
On the music front, New York-based jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn will share her inventive, scat-influenced style that helped her win both the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition and 2015 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition. In 2017 she released her Grammy-nominated debut album “A Social Call”, and her latest release, “Love and Liberation”, has quickly risen up the jazz charts and is currently Grammy nominated for Best Jazz Album.
New additions to this year’s event include the Children’s Comedy Competition at 10 a.m., January 25, – but seating is limited – at the Patterson Appleton Arts Center, 400 E. Hickory St. The annual spoken word competition takes place at 9 p.m. that night in the same venue. There also will be informal networking social hours at venues throughout downtown Denton. Visitors also can experience digital art by nationally acclaimed visual artist Vicki Meek at various locations around Denton.
Tickets and VIP Packages, which will allow purchasers to access the full slate of activities, including the movies, music and spoken word performances, DBFF Institute workshops and the awards program, are on sale now.
About the Denton Black Film Festival
The Denton Black Film Festival is an annual cultural event, featuring the works of emerging filmmakers from around the country and talented college students, musicians, artists and spoken word poets. Held each January, thousands attend the celebration of storytelling in various art forms, which takes place in venues in Denton, Texas, just 40 miles north of Dallas and Fort Worth. The event is a yearly fundraiser for the Denton African American Scholarship Foundation, which supports high school students preparing for post-secondary education. Learn more at DentonBFF.com