The Micheaux Film Festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year! The festival, which is named after Oscar Micheaux, a pioneering Black filmmaker, was founded in 2018 by Courtney L. Branch and Noel Braham. The two founders have commented on this incredible milestone in a recent interview. This film festival has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a one-day event. Now a weeklong celebration of Black cinema, it is a testament to the power of diversity and inclusion in the film industry.
What did the creators of The Micheaux Film Festival say about it’s 5 year anniversary?
The Micheaux Film Festival wrapped today after a weeklong incredible event, and both Courtney Branch and Noel Braham had a lot to say about this wonderful milestone! “We’re aspiring to create a transformational experience, not a transactional one where [it’s like], ‘Hey, thanks for your film, you know, have a good day,’” Braham said. “We want our community to stay locked in after this because they’ve now become part of our family, both metaphorically speaking and also literally.” After this, Branch commented on the beginning of the festival, saying, “Really, [we] just wanted to do it as a proof of concept to see if this is something that people wanted, that they needed,” Branch told The Hollywood Reporter. “And they have responded in droves.”
The founders also waxed lyrical about the person who inspired the whole event, Oscar Micheaux. “When we look at just Micheaux’s legacy, you know, from the 1920s t the 1940s, for him to independently direct, produce and distribute over 44 feature films, and he did that all while operating outside of the traditional Hollywood commercial financing system,” Noel said. While highlighting Black talent was crucial, Braham also added that he believes the Micheaux festival was founded as a forum for “all filmmakers, regardless of age, race, pre-background, or perspective to come together and celebrate their unique art.” “We know that representation is not always exactly what we want it to be,” added Branch, “but it’s really nice to be able to spotlight and showcase those who are knocking down those doors and breaking those barriers and able to really pull it off.
“What we wanted to do was broaden their horizons… and understand all the different opportunities that this city has to offer all within the entertainment industry. I was having to live out of my car for a bit…. And to go from sleeping in my car and sleeping outta a hostel to now creating an entire platform and bedrock that other people can now sleep on is a real full circle moment that God not only provided us with just grace and the ability to execute but also most importantly just to keep his people warm and to really give back in an earnest and sincere capacity.”Noel Braham
What are some key & recent premieres that haven taken place at The Micheaux Film Festival?
The recent growth of The Micheaux Film Festival is evidence of its incredible work in diversifying cinema and giving those pieces a worthy stage. The Good Egg, which is about an infertile woman who becomes involved with a con artist, Scrap, starring Vivian Kerr and Anthony Rapp, and the documentary Bad Things Happen in Philadelphia, which examines the impact of gun violence in the city, were among the notable debuts and key premieres of the event.
The festival featured a variety of films this year, including Diva, a story about the lengths one would go to become a star in Hollywood; The Bloom, a film about an animatronic Olympic flower meant to detonate; Battle Zone H Mart, a project about creepy encounters that Asian women face at a supermarket; and Autopilot, a sci-fi film with amazing VFX that explores the interesting question of what would happen if AI goes rogue.