Sarasota Film Festival explores Visions of the Black Experience

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The festival presents more than 40 feature and short narrative films and documentaries, focusing on vital themes like the effects of the coronavirus

SARASOTA, Florida – The Sarasota Film Festival presents its 3rd annual Visions of the Black Experience film series.

The event starts on November 12 and ends on November 21. The film series is free to the public and is a hybrid of theatrical and online screenings. The festival celebrates and illuminates the historical, social and cultural aspects of black life through cinema.

Visions Of The Black Experience 2021 features more than 40 long and short narratives and documentaries focusing on vital themes such as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the growth of black music from jazz to house and social justice, according to a Press release.

The series is a collaboration between the Sarasota Film Festival, the Boxser Diversity Initiative, the New College of Florida, the Multicultural Health Institute and the Manasota ASALH, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Some of the festival’s film showcases include a romantic drama like “Maya and Her Lover,” the locally produced crime drama “Monopoly Money,” as well as “Black Horror: A History of Black Horror,” an untold story of black Americans in American Movies. Hollywood horror.

“As a black filmmaker, I push that back too because you know sometimes we have to work harder than others to get where we want to be,” said Wilderley Mauricette, a filmmaker from Sarasota.

Mauricette is the creator of Monopoly Money which was filmed and produced locally with local talent. The 25-year-old left Haiti for the United States at the age of 5 and now attends Ringling College of Art and Design.

He said his film, presented at the festival, was a 4-year labor of love and worth it.

“’Monopoly Money’ is a small, low budget movie,” Mauricette said. “There was no budget for it and it was just meeting my crew, with my cast, asking people for permission to use their locations, for props and stuff like cars.”

According to Charles Williams, director at Boxser Diversity Initiative, which is one of the film festival‘s partners, the goal is to promote local films. William ‘said the festival and its partners wanted to help give young filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their work and open them up to lucrative opportunities and potential breakthroughs in mainstream cinema.

“When we spotlight African American filmmakers through a festival, it gives people a taste of what the cinematic experience can be like so they’re more inclined to really start participating in watching certain films. of African-American filmmakers, ”said Willaims.

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Some of the festival selections also exhibit a diversity of gender and character.

“We are fortunate to see black women in somewhat non-traditional roles and I think that’s something that people who watch these movies are sometimes surprised to see,” Williams said.

Organizers saw up to 800 people at recent in-person screenings and as many as thousands were viewed online.

For Mauricette, attendance and attention reassured him that he is on the right track.

“Once you’ve decided on something, go for it, even if you’re on your own, go for it,” Mauricette said. “When people start to notice that you are serious about it, they support you, that’s when you get people who want to help you because they see that you are passionate about something.”

The festival offers live weekend screenings at the Sainer Pavilion on the New College of Florida campus, but most films are available online for the duration of the festival at visionsoftheblackexperience.com.

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The roundtables will focus on healthcare in the black community in light of the pandemic, historical legacies and shine a light on young filmmakers with the introduction of the inaugural Visions of the Black Experience Emerging Filmmaker Scholarship. Live Q&A with filmmakers and educational opportunities will provide a more in-depth exploration of festival themes.

Funding for Visions of the Black Experience is provided by the main sponsor, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with additional financial support from the Boxser Diversity Initiative, the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, and the New College of Florida Foundation.

For more information or to register, please visit visionsoftheblackexperience.com or its Facebook page.

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