Building on the success of its inaugural African American Film Festival in 2018, the Rehoboth Beach Film Society is presenting the event again this year, again in cooperation with the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice.
This year’s festival will offer one more film than last year and will add some new features to the event’s programming, according to Sue Early, executive director of the Rehoboth Beach Film Society.
Early said that when the society opened its own theater in 2016, the new venue “gave us a lot of options.” Film, Early said, “is a very effective communication tool. It brings people together,” she said, and they have an experience together that they share, and that they can talk about afterward.
The society decided early on to partner in the project with the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice because it wanted to bring meaningful dialogue to the event, Early said. Two of the films this year will be followed by speakers who will lead discussions on themes relative to the films, she said.
“All of our mini-festivals are put together by a volunteer group,” Early said. “They watch oodles and oodles of films,” she said, and then discuss the merits of each in order to bring a meaningful mix of films to each event.
All films will be shown at the society’s Cinema Art Theater, and tickets cost $10 for adults for each screening. Early said the society has been able to cover the cost of admission this year for interested students from surrounding school districts. Students or teachers interested in bringing students to see any of the films should call the Rehoboth Beach Film Society at (302) 645-9095.
“We love to have high school students attend these films,” Early said, “because there’s so much to learn and so much to share from their perspective.”
The first film of the African American Film Festival will be “Black is the Color,” which will be shown Friday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. “Black is the Color” addresses the lack of representation of African-American art, Early said. The film “corrects the record on the place of artists of color within the history of American art,” according to the RBFS description.
After the film, Ryan Grover, Curator at the Biggs Museum of Art in Dover, will lead a panel discussion with three Delaware artists: Lori Crawford, artist and associate professor of mass communications, and visual and performing arts at Delaware State University; Terrance Vann, artist; and Michael Morris, artist.
The second film, “Father’s Kingdom,” will be shown Saturday, Feb. 16, at 4:30 p.m. “Father’s Kingdom” tells the story of Father Divine, born into poverty, the son of emancipated slaves, who was one of the United States’ most controversial religious leaders during the 1930s and 1940s. Today, his few remaining followers live in a compound outside Philadelphia.
After the film, Charlotte King, president of the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice and a member of the festival’s planning committee, will lead an audience discussion.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m., the film “Service to Man” will be shown. Inspired by a true story, the film chronicles a “fraught and unlikely friendship” of two men at a historically black medical school in the South in the 1960s.
The final film of the festival is “Everything but a Man,” to be shown on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. “Everything But a Man” follows the life of a strong, independent woman in search of love, according to the RBFS description.
For more information, to watch trailers of the festival’s featured films or to order tickets, go to the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival website at www.rehobothfilm.com. The society can be reached by phone at (302) 645-9095. All tickets for the African American Film Festival are non-refundable and may not be exchanged. The Cinema Art Theater is located at 17701 Dartmouth Drive, Lewes.
By Kerin Magill