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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

‘Love, Laugh, Live, Cry’

The biggest film festival in New England devoted to celebrating the work of filmmakers and the industry’s professionals of color is right here in Boston. The Roxbury Film Festival recently celebrated its sixth year in supporting these cinéastes, additionally providing an opportunity for audiences to view works and experience stories often ignored within the mainstream media.

“People aren’t recognized in New England and aren’t getting into film festivals. They are overlooked by the mainstream,” said Lisa Simmons, president and founder of The Color of Film Collaborative, to guests at the festival’s opening reception.

“Love, Laugh, Live and Cry” was the appropriated theme of the Sixth Annual Roxbury Film Festival, with a big-screen lineup including many feature-length pieces, documentaries, and short films. Special guests Ernie Hudson, Hill Harper, Topper Carew, Daphne Maxwell-Reid, and Sam Greenlee were present at the festival.

Sam Greenlee’s novel-turned-film, The Spook Who Sat By the Door, was suddenly taken off the market after becoming an overnight success in 1973. The novel was almost immediately an underground favorite with Greenlee’s fictitious plotting of an urban-based war for African-American liberation. A remastered version of the film has been brought back into distribution and was screened before the festival.

One of the event’s feature films was Hill Harper’s urban romantic comedy, Love, Sex, and Eating the Bones, which served as the festival’s opening-night film. It was named “Best Feature Film” by the Pan African Film Festival. Like any romantic comedy, the stars, Michael and Jasmine, meet, fall in love, break-up, and make-up. Unlike most romantic comedies, however, both of the lead characters, “had chemistry and were both black,” commented Harper.

The Festival, according to Simmons, is a way to, “Celebrate the voice and vision of people of color.”

The Roxbury Film Festival ran August 18 through the 22, featuring films at the Museum of Fine Arts, Northeastern University, and the Massachusetts College of Art.

Color of Film Collaborative (CFC) and ACT (Arts, Culture & Trade) Roxbury Consortium sponsored the festival. ACT Roxbury is a cultural economic-development program of Madison Park Development Corporation. The consortium uses culture and the arts to promote physical, economic, and social renewal.