Annapolis Film Festival 2016 features strong African-American voices

| March 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

AFF16_AOL-300x250Strong African-American voices, some contemporary, some historic, are featured in the Annapolis Film Festival 2016. The African-American Experience Showcase screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez is at Asbury United Methodist Church on West Street on Friday, April 1 at 6:45 pm. The Showcase is sponsored by The Glaucoma Center and Dr. Alyson Hall.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon. Eighty-year-old Sonia Sanchez emerged as a seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement, raising her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women’s liberation, and peace. Delving into the life’s work of a woman deemed “a lion in literature’s forest” by poet Maya Angelou, this documentary examines Sanchez’s poetry and her singular role in African American culture. This film is sponsored by Dr. Alyson L. Hall and The Glaucoma Center.   

After the screeening, a distinguished panel will answer questions and discuss the film. The panel, moderated by Beverly Morgan-Welch, Executive Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, includes: 

  • Barbara Attie, Director, BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez
  • Janet Goldwater, Director, BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez
  • Chris Haley, Director for the Study of the Legacy of Slavery for Maryland, Maryland State Archives, and nephew of Alex Haley
  • Jimmy Kemp, president of the Kemp Foundation and son of the late Congressman Jack Kemp. 
  • William Rowell, actor and activist.
  • Ambassador Shabazz, producer, director and eldest daughter of Malcolm X Shabazz and Dr. Betty Shabazz

The night continues with a 9:30 pm screening of Paul Sapiano’s uproarious dark comedy Driving While Black, presented as part of the Lincoln Financial Group Diversity Series:

Dimitri is barely making ends meet, delivering pizzas, when he is offered a dream job driving a Hollywood tour bus. He’s just trying to get through L.A. traffic, but at nearly every turn he’s stopped and questioned by the police. With wry comedic insight and empathy, this timely film enumerates the black experience in everyday interactions with the police.

The film will replay Sunday, April 3 at 2:45pm. Director Paul Sapiano, writer-actor Dominique Purdy, and producer Patrick DiCesare are expected to attend.

There is also an African-American focused Shorts Program IV presented at Asbury United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 2 at noon. This is sponsored by University of Baltimore President and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke who will introduce the program that includes:

  • ALX, directed by Collins J. Harris. On the campus of a historically black college’s business school, a young girl bumps heads with school administration over a new rule regarding her appearance.
  • Freak the Language, directed by Sam Hampton and Lee Quinby. The Filmmakers explore the passionately creative and carefully crafted impulses of New York City poet David Mills.
  • This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, directed by Robin N. Hamilton.

A poor Mississippi sharecropper escapes debilitating abuse to become an indomitable force against the political elite and a voice for millions fighting for the right to vote in 1964.

The fourth annual Annapolis Film Festival, March 31-April 3, 2016, features a critically acclaimed line-up of narrative and documentary feature and short films from 22 countries, including an Academy Award nominee and selections fresh from Sundance and SXSW. The venues for the 70+ films are all in downtown Annapolis and within walking distance of each other. Guests may also catch a free City Circulator trolley to see some of the best new releases.

Tickets cost from $12.50 for a single film block to $115 for a festival pass. The pass includes the Opening Night film and After Party and unlimited films and panels for four days. Student and senior tickets are $10. Student passes are $50.

Information about all the films and sales of passes and tickets to individual films and events are now available now at Check the website for times and locations of all events and screenings.  Up-to-the-minute changes in schedule can be followed on the AFF Facebook page ( and Twitter ( 

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