AfroComicCon, the premiere comic con event for people of color and the African diaspora dedicated to showcasing talent, creators and content produced by people of African descent kicks off this weekend. Normally held in the San Francisco Bay area, this year’s “Con” goes virtual Saturday, October 24 beginning 10 a.m. EST/7 a.m. PST. Featuring more than 50 panels including heavy hitters like artist and educator John Jennings, comedian and social justice commentator Godfrey, poet Aya de Leon, activist and gamer Tanya DePass, Cosplay game designer Gabe Hicks, author and educator Torrey Maldonado to name a few.
Festival co-founder Hally Bellah-Guther states, “We have over fifty panels this year in addition to gaming, cosplay, the podcast and the film festival. There is literally something for everyone this year. We couldn’t be more pleased with the lineup for our first virtual festival.”
Panel topics range from educational to activist to performances to gaming and Black creativity. They include a Wakanda Dream Lab, Sci-Fi Fantasy and Fandom in Fiction for Young Readers, Blerds in the Hood, Black Comic Creators, Creating a Superhero Show, Melanin Gamers and a BlackAF Roundtable, among many. There is also an AfroComicCon podcast hosted by Greg Bridges, host of the Jazz Oasis (KCSM-FM), speculative fiction icon Thaddeus Howse and featuring the who’s who of Afrofuturism as guests.
In addition, there will be a virtual short film festival streaming live, beginning 10 a.m. EST featuring the films of the six finalists. Festival director Nsenga Burton states, “The films in this festival speak to the breadth of Black creativity and cosmic storytelling. The films cover a variety of genres including superhero, horror and science-fiction while examining the world through the lens of social justice, BLERD humor, womanism and the complexities of being Black in this world and the next,” says the film scholar.
African American Film Critics Association member and author Ronda Penrice Rocha, Black comic book publisher Carlton Hargro (20th Place Media), award-winning filmmaker/author/film professors Booker T. Mattison and Phill Branch and film and tv Director Christine Swanson served as judges for the short film festival this year.
Films were submitted from around the world with six finalists being chosen by the judges. They are in alphabetical order:
Royce Adkins, Outcast
Semmi Cole, What Could Have Been
Natalie Cook, Backwards God
Theo Hollingsworth, Sirius Lee: The Problematic Transplant
Youssef Rahem, Far from Casablanca
Steven Russell, The Dark Strums
The films of the six finalists will be screened at this year’s festival. Winners of the the categories of Best Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography will be announced live at the festival on the AfroComicCon YouTube channel. Viewers will also get to vote on the audience favorite award. The link to the poll will go live at the beginning of the screening and will close at the end of the screening. The audience favorite award winner will be announced when the winners are announced.
Please see the virtual film festival schedule below:
This year’s AfroComicCon virtual international film festival is being sponsored by National Newspaper Publisher’s Association and Pixar. The film festival is being sponsored by NNPA and The Burton Wire.
NNPA’s technical producer and festival curator Norman Rich states, “AfroComicCon is a natural fit for NNPA and Black Press USA which serves the same audience and understands the complexity of Black life and culture. African Americans have been pioneers and leaders in Cosplay, gaming, technology and all things “CON” so we are excited about partnering with Mike and Hally to help make this Con happen in the virtual space.”
Check out the “CON” and the film festival, Saturday, October 24, 2020 beginning 7 a.m. PST/10 a.m. EST with the film festival.
To download the AFCC Film Festival Watch Party Viewer Kit, visit: afcc film festival watch party viewing kit materials.
Watch the virtual film festival here.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.
Follow The Burton Wire for updates on the Film Festival on Twitter or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.