NEW YORK, NY – (September 15, 2015) – The 19th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival, presented by BET Networks with founding sponsor HBO, announced the addition of the world premiere of Shame to its slate on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 6:30pm at Manhattan’s AMC Empire 25 on 234 West 42nd Street.
Tyrese Gibson and Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson star in Shame, a Paul Hunter film produced by Denzel Washington. In the short film written by Gibson, up-and-coming soul singer Lionel Jacobs (played by Gibson) is working the nightclub scene, trying to climb to the top of the charts while married to his background singer Bobbi Ann (played by Hudson). He wants to do right by his wife and their children but, his struggle with drugs and alcohol test the strength of his fidelity and their relationship. A conversation with Gibson will follow the screening.
Gibson will also serve as the ambassador for this year’s festival. “I’m honored to serve as the ambassador of the 2015 Urbanworld Film Festival and to premiere my short film Shame in such a creative and exciting environment. I strive to create art across all mediums that supports and showcases our diverse landscape and Urbanworld is the perfect partner as they actively and significantly do the same. I’m thrilled to join the filmmakers showcasing their projects at the festival as we inspire, encourage and excite others through film.” says Gibson.
Also confirmed to participate in the festival, ABC News Correspondent Deborah Roberts will moderate the panel discussion with prima ballerina Misty Copeland and Nelson George from the closing night film A Ballerina’s Tale on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Gbenga Akinnagbe and Tai Beauchamp will host the festival’s invitation-only awards brunch. Academy Award® winner Geoffrey Fletcher, Orange Is The New Black’s Selenis Leyva, Raven-Symoné, Loretta Devine, Lamman Rucker, Angie Martinez, Bevy Smith and Omari Hardwick are also confirmed to attend the week-long events.
Urbanworld Digital, presented by HBO since 2010, is a day dedicated to exploring the intersection of digital technology and content creation by exposing its audiences to the innovation and opportunities that exist. This year, the series of panels, presentations and conversations will be on Thursday, September 24 from 12 noon until 6:00 pm. Festival filmmakers and digital influencers, as well as a mix of executives, entrepreneurs and content creators seeking ideas on how to best leverage digital platforms to amplify their work on both the creative and business sides of the industry are invited. “HBO recognizes the importance of technology as it relates to content creation, distribution and multicultural audiences,” said Dennis Williams, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at HBO. “We are proud to support Urbanworld Digital, as it provides a unique opportunity to connect diverse content creators and industry influencers within the rapidly evolving digital landscape.” Session curators include HBO Now, Global Grind, Time Warner, The Virtual Reality Company, NBCUniversal and Urban Movie Channel (UMC). UMC will curate A Conversation with Bob Johnson, RLJ Entertainment Chairman and BET Founder.
This year’s Urbanworld Music will include partnerships with New York’s finest music masters via a series of parties curated by some of the best DJ’s in New York City. Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia will appear on Thursday, September 24 and DJ Moma of Everyday People will lead the festivities on Friday, September 25.
E.Z. Mo Breezy of Saturday Morning Cartoons fame will co-host on Saturday, September 26. www.urbanworld.org/music includes a full list of the events.
BET Networks will review the finalist scripts for the best screenplay competition with consideration for potential development at the network and a $5,000 award to the winner. The four scripts selected as finalists include four female writers—Are They Dead Yet? written by Inda Craig-Galván, Bleeding Sunshine written by Yaa Boaa Aning, Chasing Jeremy written by Mary McCallum and Y Los Hipsters Que written by Yohanna Baez. A live screenplay reading event will be hosted by BET Networks in partnership with WGA East, where an ensemble of actors will perform a selected scene from each finalist’s script in front of an audience.
Along with presenting sponsor BET Networks and founding sponsor HBO, key supporters of Urbanworld Film Festival include premiere sponsors Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo and Time Warner. Industry Circle supporters are Fox Audience Strategy, Fox Global Directors Initiative, Interactive One, MoviePass, RLJ Entertainment, Urban Movie Channel, The Swirl Group, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America and AMC Entertainment. In addition, Urbanworld collaborates with a myriad of media, promotional and community partners.
For the complete slate of films, film synopsis, ticket information, complete list of sponsors and the most up to date full daily schedule of films and events for the nation’s largest competitive multicultural film festival, September 23-27, 2015 in New York, visit www.urbanworld.org and @UWFilmFest on Twitter.