African American Film Festival Set For Kravis Center

WEST PALM BEACH, FL ( — The Kravis Center is preparing for its annual African-American Film Festival. It is set for three Thursday evenings — March 22, March 29th, and April 5th.

For ticket and event information, read on…  

The theme for the 2012 African-American Film Festival is Winning Against All Odds.

 March 22:  Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad  (1994)

This film follows four runaway slaves from a North Carolina plantation. Fortunately, the four discover the “Underground Railroad”, a secret network of safe houses where runaway slaves could stay on their journey north to freedom in the years leading up to the Civil War. This powerful period piece offers a heart-warming look at the triumph of the human spirit against seemingly impossible odds.


March 29:  Tuskegee Airmen  (1995)

Based on true stories, this film presents the saga of six African-American men whose lives entwine as they seek to overcome a mountain of racism and become pilots in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. Though the Army – and by extension white America – seems determined to stop them, they succeed in their desire of becoming pilots and serving a country that has failed to serve them. Hailed as “Uplifting! Inspirational!” by The New York Times, the film was directed by Robert Markowitz and stars Laurence FishburneJohn LithgowMalcolm-Jamal Warner and Cuba Gooding, Jr.


April 5:  Something the Lord Made  (1995)

This HBO movie tells the true story of two men – an ambitious white surgeon, Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman), and a gifted black carpenter turned lab technician, Vivien Thomas (Mos Def) – who defied the racial structures of the Jim Crow South and together pioneered modern bypass heart surgery.


James Drayton, the founder of the annual African-American Film Festival at the Kravis Center, is the former owner of the African American Heritage Bookstore in West Palm Beach.  For years, he had dreamed of presenting a festival of films that featured Black actors, Black directors and which conveyed the Black experience. 


“The idea of this Film Festival is to counter the notion that African American film making is of recent vintage and only consist of a certain type of film that reflect a defined segment of current social conditions,” said Mr. Drayton.  “I select a wonderful series of films that are not only entertaining, but provide an educational experience.”


As host of the Film Festival, AnEta Sewell will set-up each film and its content, and then lead a lively Q&A session following the screening.


The Lead Outreach Representative for the Palm Beach County Service Center at the South Florida Water Management District, Ms. Sewell previously had spent 20 years in television, primarily at WPEC News 12. An Emmy Award winner, she was the first African American to anchor and report the news in the West Palm Beach/Treasure Coast market. Currently she can be seen in the weekly public affairs program “Around Our Town” on the CW/My TV Network.


The Film Festival is presented as part of the Kravis Center’s ArtSmart series, which offers a full range of educational presentations that provide new perspectives on the world of the performing arts and enrich the life experience.


The seventh annual African-American Film Festival will be held at the Persson Rehearsal Hall, located on the second floor of the Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion. Tickets are $10 per night or $25 for the entire festival.


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