MOWFF 2023 Explores Role of Black Church

Image credit: Nicole Backus

September 10, 2023—It’s time to make your plans to attend the 2023 March on Washington Film Festival (MOWFF), which gets underway on September 24, 2023, in Washington, D.C. Offering both in-person and on-demand events, the theme of this year’s festival is “Pulpits, Protest, and Power: The Church and the Civil Rights Movement.”

MOWFF is the only film festival devoted to the continued exploration of the importance and significance of the American Civil Rights Movement, which marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington in August of this year.

The film festival serves as a national platform for telling, celebrating, and increasing awareness of the untold events of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as its unsung contributors. Utilizing film as its medium, the festival offers a bridge between the battles fought 60 and 70 years ago to today’s contemporary struggles against racial injustice.

Isisara Bey is the MOWFF’s Artistic Director. A former Sony Entertainment executive for 20 years, Ms. Bey also is a producer, keynote speaker, cultural curator, and facilitator of performances, conferences, festivals, and workshops for her company, Journey Agent Productions. Along with her team, she meticulously plans and curates the annual event to ensure that it appeals not only to history and film buffs but also to a general audience.

In addition to the films, the festival’s programming includes in-person panel discussions between filmmakers, thought leaders, academics and people still working on the frontlines for Civil Rights; several awards presentations, and a community lawn party.

Take a look at the MOWFF 2023 schedule of events:

September 24: From the Gullah Front Porch: Afternoon Soiree—A conversation with three artist friends and Sea Island progeny, on the rich legacy of land, culture, and community, and the aftermath of the racist mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. The producer, Elijah Heyward, III, will participate in the discussion following the screening.

September 26:  Silver Dollar RoadThe story of two brothers who went to prison for 8 years in a fight to keep the family’s land. Based on a 2019 ProPublica article. The event will feature a fireside chat with the film’s writer and Oscar-nominated director, Raoul Peck.

September 26: One Struggle—The film explores the complex, interwoven relationships between the Black and Jewish communities during the Civil Rights Movement, and will feature a dialogue with the French filmmaker and journalist Rokhaya Diallo.

September 27: Annual Awards Gala—This year’s honorees are the Rev. Raphael Warnock, U.S. Senator, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, for their visionary leadership in the fight for civil rights. 

September 28: Free Community Lawn Party and Screening—The featured film is Little Richard—I Am Everything, directed by Lisa Cortes, nominated for an Academy Award and recipient of an Emmy Award..

September 29: Presentation of the Vivian Malone Courage Award—The awardee is Michelle Browder, an artist and activist known for her historical tours, murals, and sculptures in Montgomery, AL, particularly the Mothers of Gynecology Monument.

September 30: Pulpits, Protests and Power: The Church and the Civil Rights MovementAn evening of powerful preaching, music, and dance highlighting the actions and activists of the Civil Rights movement, featuring Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Rahiel Tesfamariam, the Rev. Stephen A. Green, and special guest, gospel vocalist Yolanda Adams. The student filmmaker awards also will be presented.

This year’s MOWFF also has extensive on-demand offerings. You can find the list of on-demand films here, and ticket information for in-person and on-demand events at this link. The MOWFF website also offers a list of readings and resources that will help you further your study of this vital history at his link

I urge the readers of Arts & Culture Connections to check out the 2023 March On Washington Film Festival. You can find more details at this link.

As always, I want to know what you think. I invite you to share your comments below.

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