People/Biz

Swirl Films, Mansa Productions launch virtual Black Life Film Fest

Eric Tomosunas’s Atlanta-based indie Swirl Films and Kellon Akeem’s Mansa Productions have partnered to launch the Black Life Film Fest, scheduled to kick off Sept. 5. The new festival will highlight short ...
June 16, 2020

Eric Tomosunas’s Atlanta-based indie Swirl Films and Kellon Akeem’s Mansa Productions have partnered to launch the Black Life Film Fest, scheduled to kick off Sept. 5.

The new festival will highlight short films that explore the “beauty and complexities of Black Life,” through the perspectives of individuals and society.

Documentaries, scripted dramas, comedies, interview compilations, animation and works from other genres will stream during the virtual festival on Sept. 5 on a number of platforms, including MTANow mobile app, as well as Swirl Films’ Instagram Live, with additional virtual viewing options to follow.

According to organizers, the top 10 filmmakers exhibiting will receive US$5,000 towards their journeys into the film industry. Winners will also have the opportunity to meet with executives for potential distribution deals for their projects.

Immediately following the screening, the top five short films will be selected, and the winners will pitch and workshop additional projects on-site at the Atlanta-based Swirl Films and Mansa offices with key producers, writers, directors and editors.

Submissions opened Monday (June 15) and close Aug. 22.

“It is important that we at Swirl Films and Mansa Productions do our part to both support and empower the Black film community here in Atlanta and around the country,” Tomosunas, Swirl Films’ CEO and founder, said in a statement. “In order to make the contest both impactful and meaningful, we deemed it important to allow young Black filmmakers to explore Black Life in any visual storytelling genre that they see fit.”

“Our mission at Mansa has always been about uplifting the community through filmmaking,” Akeem, founder of Mansa Productions, added. “The Black Life Film Fest enables us to impact and invest in future filmmakers by providing an opportunity for individuals to showcase their art through competition, while providing funding and opportunity through the next phase of their careers.”

The Black Life Film Fest is executive produced by Tyrell Jemison, Jay Allen and Nikki Byles.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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