Opening Ceremony | 13th Annual African American Women in Cinema Film Festival

On Thursday I attending the inaugural event for the 13th Annual African Women in Cinema Film Festival. I actually met the creator of the event Terra Renee just the Monday prior  at the cast of color event at MTV Networks. This was my first time attending the AAWIC Film Festival and  since it was on its 13th year I was sure to be in for a treat.

The evening started with Red Carpet VIP reception that was presented by the New York Chamber of Commerce. The venue was the stylish EPOCA on west 31st. The reception was hosted by Raqiyah Mays of Broadway Night Out we were treated to cocktail hour which allowed for  networking and meeting the evening honorees. The Honorees were Ms. Lisa Cortes, Producer  who executive produced Precious she was recognized as a Trailblazer in the field. The second Honoree was Ms. Grace Blake, Producer who worked on such films as Silence of the Lambs and School Daze. While at the reception the honorees were surprised by the AAWIC with proclamations from the NY Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Cortes joked if this was the equivalent of a get out of jail free card.

Ms Lisa Cortes getting her proclamation

Representative from the NYC council reading off the proclamation

At around 8 we made our way to the Screening of the film “Promised Land” by Yoruba Richen. The screening was the Helen Mills The film is about the investigation into the issues with land ownership is post apartheid South Africa


Before we saw the film there was the special award presentation for the  honorees. The 2010 Trailblazer award recipient Lisa Cortes paraphrased a MLK speech that he did right before he was assassinated ” We can be scared or we can effect change. greatness comes through service and love”  she  said that this is something that she keeps in mind daily.

Honorees Lisa Cortes and Grace Blake with Terra Renee creator of AAWIC

The 2010 pioneer honoree Ms. Grace Blake who began her career working at the William Morris Agency, talked about her early days on the job and seeing a lack of brown faces.  She discussed how one day she went down to studio where Sidney Poitier was filming and began asking the various people on set what their job was and how did they get there.



Each of the honorees provided passionate acceptance speeches and provided inspiration for those in attendance. Don’t give up on you dream and keep working towards what you believe in.



Happy Flying,

~Solo Dove~

  1. November 17th, 2011

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