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The 2nd Annual San Antonio Black International Film Festival (SABIFF) Presents Diverse and Engaging Virtual Events

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SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS The San Antonio Black International Film Festival presents SABIFF 2020, its second annual festival beginning October 1st through the 4th on sabiff.tv, their virtual platform, built by SuperLiveStreams.com. Last year SABIFF presented a 4-day inaugural film festival to San Antonians at prime venues on the Eastside, Downtown, and on the Riverwalk’s La Villita Arneson Theater. This year, due to COVID- 19 restrictions on venues and audience limits, the film festival has elected to go virtual keeping previous venues intact online. Daily schedules and offerings which include: films in competition, screenings, panel discussions, and workshops, that range from donation to fifteen dollars. Schedules can be found at both sabiff.com and sabiff.tv websites, and will be simulcast on multiple social media outlets during the festival run.

“Presenting SABIFF online allows SABIFF the opportunity to attract and present their events to a larger audience base, and we have lots in store,” commented Ada M. Babino, the festival’s Founder and Director. SABIFF 2020’s virtual opening night gala will be co-hosted by the Carver Community Cultural Center, a performing arts jewel on San Antonio’s Eastside. SABIFF proudly commemorates the 30-year anniversary of the classic film To Sleep With Anger starring Danny Glover. Veteran Director, Charles Burnett will be presented with SABIFF’s first annual Ankh (life) Achievement Award. Following the film’s watch party, will be a TSWA reunion with cast members discussion and reflections from this 1990 movie classic. Invited renowned cast members include: Dany Glover, Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha and The Mighty Quinn), Mary Alice (Sparkle A Different World), Carl Lumbly (Dr. Sleep, The Chi), and Richard Brooks (Law and Order, Being Mary Jane).

SABIFF 2020 will also include 2-days of independent film showcases submitted by 35 filmmakers international in scope, that explore taboo topics such as: mental health and America’s pathology through carefully curated film blocks entitled Blacklash Blues and American Illusions. On October 2 – 3, the festival also presents topics that we need more of, in these days and times. Themes such as LOVE and SOCIAL JUSTICE are showcased through the blocks Love: Under Construction, and BlackLining (presented in partnership with SA’s Black Lives, and Allies in Community (BLAC). Festival highlights the evening of October 2nd include the screening of A Genius Leaves the Hood, a documentary on businessman/music mogul JZ sponsored by Moguldom Studios, followed by a discussion with producer Jamarlin Martin, CEO and Founder of Nubia Ventures, LLC, and Moguldom.com. Martin will also conduct a workshop aimed to empower filmmakers to take their products to the next level — GAME ON: Indie Films to e-Commerce Remix – The Digital Master P. Model. Saturday morning (10am) delves into the topic of racism with the documentary, and a panel discussion of The American LOWS (Legacy of White Supremacy). Sunday’s conclusion of SABIFF 2020 begins with a discussion with Merawi Gerima, director of Residue, now airing on Netflix. A Film Competition Awards Ceremony follows, in combination with a virtual Sunday brunch streaming live from the SAPL’s Carver Library, another partner and cultural hub on the Eastside. Physical awards will be mailed to winning filmmakers, along with an option for filmmakers to air their films on Black Reflections Roku Channel. See sabiff.com for schedules.

SABIFF partnered with a team of committed volunteers, students, and a number of local community institutions and businesses. 2020 Grant awards were received from the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund (SAAAACF), and the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio’s Community Responsibility Endowment Fund (FUUC).

ABOUT SABIFF
The San Antonio Black International Film Festival (SABIFF) serves as a vehicle to support and advocate for quality Black films and filmmakers international in scope, and expose SA Audiences to diverse industry professionals, impactful events, and films created by, for and about people of African Descent throughout the Diaspora. SABIFF was founded by native indie filmmaker Ada M. Babino, and a group of community filmmakers and community movie enthusiasts who began meeting at the Carver Library in the late fall of 2018, with the purpose to create a Black independent film festival in the Alamo City. Birthed from mutual interests, the San Antonio Black International Film Festival was officially and successfully launched at the Carver Library on February 23, 2019, with the start of what will be an annual
endeavor. Fractured Atlas is the fiscal sponsor for SABIFF 2020.

Community

MLK Day of Service

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Alpha Tau Omega Chapter, San Antonio’s local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated celebrated the Sorority’s 114th Founding Anniversary with a day on and not a day off. For this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. service project they hosted a Community-wide Food and Winter Items Drive. Members collected can goods, non-perishable items, winter wear clothing (hoodies, gloves, jackets, etc.), and blankets. The ladies braved the cold and withstood the windy gusts Saturday morning. Their work was not in vain as they continue to be a service to all mankind.

Thanks to the donations from chapter members and the community, several hundred pounds of food as well as winter wear was collected and will be donated to support the San Antonio Food Bank and homeless street outreach efforts in San Antonio.

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Community

Nation’s Largest MLK March Cancelled

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Due to the current influx of omicron cases in and around San Antonio, the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. March has been cancelled. The event was previously scheduled to take place on January 17th, but concerns for public safety and continued presence of the virus on the route led to its cancellation.

The MLK board met and made the decision Thursday night. The board will decide what they plan to include in next Monday’s meeting.

Renee Watson, who is the chairperson of the Martin Luther King march, says that COVID-19 testing will be available together with vaccine shots at Pittman Sullivan Park.

As of Thursday afternoon, the most recent update from DreamWeek says their events are still on but their plans are impromptu.

The in-person event, which had been held every year since 1987, was changed to a virtual event in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

After over 20,000 diagnoses cases from the first week of the year, it makes sense to cancel a show for safety reasons.

Nathaniel Davis, past chair of Martin Luther King Junior March, died this week. We are saddened by his loss and extend our condolences to his family during this difficult time.

Stayed tuned to Black Video News for the latest statement and updates.

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Art

MLK Park is the site of a new sculpture dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.

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In 2022, when the MLK march sets off from Martin Luther King Jr. Park, it will have a new public sculpture at the starting point that becomes an iconic part of the march.

The San Antonio-based artist, Kaldric Dow, completed his monumental outdoor installation called Spheres of Reflection. With the piece reaching almost 17 feet in height, it’s a major achievement for Dow and artists of color in the city.

The steel & concrete sculpture called “Spheres” was both Dow’s first public art piece and first large scale sculpture. Created through the department of Arts and Culture’s “Sketch to Sculpture” program, Spheres was realised in 2019.

We recognized that in order to work towards diversity and equity in public art, we needed to be able to use all the resources at our disposal. Many artists would have difficulties working with large scale commission texts or material they weren’t well versed in. We want to provide what is usually unavailable for them so they can contribute more to the department’s goals, said Stacey Norton, administrator.

Previously, Dow had been known primarily as a portrait painter. He exhibited his work at Luminaria, AP Art Lab, and the San Antonio International Airport. He said he can easily generate ideas for sculptures but without the Sketch to Sculpture program, making Spheres and its companion piece installed in the River Walk Art Garden downtown would not have been possible.

“My initial idea for the piece began with a self-portrait and an elaborate hair style,” Dow stated while talking about his creative process. He started by sketching himself with an elaborate hairdo. “I find it empowering to know something I created myself was turned into drawings, then cut out, and finally turned into this 3D sculpture.”

The self-portrait evolved into a purposefully androgynous face in the 1980s when artist Roy Dow said in his retrospective last year with the museum: “I want people to feel familiar with the face to where it can represent someone in their family or their friends. On the subject of colors, “Cor-Ten” is an iron compound with a familiar industrial history. It’s uses cater to the demands of black skin tones like it does in Dow’s portraits.

Black culture’s widespread embrace of hair as a symbol of pride and celebration of heritage.

Dow states that special rings of black-painted steel spheres stacked four rows high evoke Black culture’s widespread embrace of hair as a symbol of pride and celebration of heritage. The sculpture gains resonance with its surroundings through words written on the lower rows of spheres. These quotes from Dr. King each have a meaning that reflects the mood of the sculpture, for example “Dream,” “Bold,” and “Desire.”

With completing Spheres of Reflection, Dow looks forward to the public dedication and MLK March on Jan. 11 and 17 respectively.

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