Deadline: Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival Announces Additional Programming That Include Regina Hall, Tracee Ellis Ross And Yara Shahidi

By Valerie Complex

Key programming continues for the 20th annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival (MVAAFF) taking place August 5th – 13th. 

The festival continues its slate of programming with featured content celebrating Black voices, with documentaries and the signature Q&A series, Color of Conversation from Run & Shoot Filmworks, and Festival Co-Founders Floyd and Stephanie Rance.

“Prime Video hosts Visionary Women: A Conversation with the New Wave of Filmmaking Voices,” featuring writer/director Nikyatu Jusu (Nanny) and writer/director Mariama Diallo (Master) at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center. The moderated discussion will be led by acclaimed actress, producer and 2022 Harvard graduate, Yara Shahidi. Through the lens of horror, the conversation between these three remarkable women will dive deep into Nikyatu Jusu and Mariama Diallo’s journey to the director’s chair, pushing genre boundaries, and the cultural discourse illustrated in their storytelling.

Disney’s Onyx Collective continues the evening with a featured screening of award-winning documentary, Aftershock, which follows the deaths of two young women due to childbirth complications, as well as two bereaved families who galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crisis today: the US maternal health crisis. A Color of Conversation will follow with directors, Tonya Lewis Lee and Paula Eiselt, along with Omari Maynard, Bruce McIntyre III and Shawnee Benton Gibson.

On Monday, August 8th at 6 p.m. The Boston Globe presents, “Biography: Bobby Brown.” The presentation will feature an immersive Color of Conversation with singer-songwriter Bobby Brown. The evening culminates at 8 p.m. with Peacock’s Black Excellence Through Legacy, panel featuring Director / Writer / Executive Producer Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man: The Final Chapters), Writer / Executive Producer Dayna Lynne North, actor Morris Chestnut, Co-Showrunner / Executive Producer Rasheed Newson (Bel-Air) and actor Adrian Holmes. The moderated discussion will be led by host of MSNBC’s The Cross Connection, Tiffany Cross.

On Wednesday, August 10th at 8 p.m., TV One debuts Never Would Have Made It, celebrating acclaimed gospel recording artist Marvin Sapp. The film follows childhood best friends Marvin and MaLinda, who find love in each other as they overcome their personal adversities and build one of the greatest gospel music careers of all time. The screening will be followed by a Q&A panel featuring Marvin Sapp (virtually) and the film’s producer, Russ Parr.

Academy Award nominee Reginald Hudlin will participate in a ‘Color of Conversation’ on Thursday, August 11th at 5:00 p.m., discussing the upcoming documentary Sidney, from Apple Original Films. This revealing film, directed by Hudlin, honors the legendary Sidney Poitier – iconic actor, filmmaker and civil rights activist. JBL Sound Sessions will feature renowned actress Regina Hall at 8 p.m., followed by a screening of Adamma and Adanne Ebo’s Focus Features satirical comedy Honk for Jesus: Save Your Soul, starring Hall and Sterling K. Brown.

Tracee Ellis Ross graces the stage on Friday, August 12th at 6 p.m. with the OWN and Disney’s Onyx Collective The Hair Tales. The six-part limited docuseries lead the audience through a revelatory journey of connecting the personal tales of phenomenal Black women and their hair to broader societal and historic themes. The stories shared offer an honest and layered look into the complex culture of Black hair and ultimately Black women’s identity, creativity and contributions to society – all delivered with a rare mix of intelligence, humor, style, joy and justice.

Director, Chinonye Chukwu follows at 8 p.m. with a stirring Color of Conversation highlighting the feature film TILL, from MGM’s Orion Pictures label. TILL is a profoundly emotional and cinematic film about the true story of Mamie till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year old son, Emmett Till, who in 1955, was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world. The discussion will be moderated by The View host Sunny Hostin.

Additional screenings and panel discussions will be updated throughout the festival. For more information on the MVAAFF and a complete schedule of screenings and special events, please visit

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