By Aneesah Dryver
The International Black Women’s Film Festival kicked off its 10th year with an opening ceremony July 20 in San Francisco featuring live entertainment from Trinidad and Tobago’s master percussionist and steel drum player Val Serrant and Sharon Baird.
Adrienne Anderson, founder and curator, created the festival in 2001 because as an antidote to the way Black women were portrayed in film. The festival spotlights images of Black women who do not fall into the typical stereotypes.
One of the films that was featured was “The Unforgiving Minute,” directed by Octavia Spencer, who recently won an Academy Award for her supporting role in “The Help.” The short film, narrated by Academy Award nominee and fellow co-star Viola Davis, chronicles the life of a young boy, played by Devin Badgett, who is bullied in school.
Despite the harassment, the boy is resilient on his path to success. The film was created in 2010 with a budget of only $3,000.
The film’s co-writer/producer Kelly Shipe feels that parents must take bullying seriously.
“As a parent of two boys, I think it’s important to make sure they’re not being bullied but also to raise them so that they know that it’s important to be kind and considerate.”
The star of the film, 12-year-old Devin Badgett, believes that physical bullying is not as much as a problem now as verbal bullying. “I think the movie shows that bullying is bullying, whether it’s verbal or physical,” he said.
Resilience is what Spencer wants viewers to take away from the film. “These moments of pressure don’t have to define who you are,” she said. “You can always choose the path to greatness.”
Shipe recommends that parents and children watch the film together and take time afterwards to discuss the issues.
The film was followed by a documentary called “Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle,” about McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis, the celebrated queen of calypso music.
Filmmaker Pascale Obolo spends four years with Calypso Rose as the artist traveled around the world.
The festival also featured an additional eight films at Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library.
For information on the International Black Women’s Film Festival visit www.ibwff.com.