The 20th Annual ImageNation Outdoors Festival Launches With Drive-In Movie And A Stanley Nelson Screening In Harlem

Imagenation in Harlem

ImageNation Film Festival’s 20th Annual ImageNation Outdoors Festival kicks off Saturday, July 9th thru September 10, 2022. 

The summer-long program offers free film screenings and music in outdoor venues including a new series held in partnership with the Frederick Douglass Blvd Alliance (FDBA) themed “The Soul of Harlem” primarily featuring films about Harlem or by local directors such as the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect directed by Harlem-resident Tommy Leisl (July 9); Forty-Year-Old Version by Harlem’s own Radha Blank (August 27); a talkback and special advance screening of Stanley Nelson’s Becoming Frederick Douglass (September 10).  

This 20th-anniversary celebration features several special events at other locations: 

  • ImageNation’s Annual Soul Train tribute at will feature Shaka King’s Academy-Award winner Judas and the Black Messiah (August 11th, Marcus Garvey Park) – Live music, DJ, Soul Train Line
  • New film, African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey on Garvey’s birthday  in collaboration with Jazz Mobile (August 17, Marcus Garvey Park);
  • West Side Story (July 10) and Encanto (August 7), drive-in and open seating at East River Plaza Mall, w/ giveaways!;
  • Kids Night Out screening of Encanto ay Bronx Terminal Market on July 22! With games and giveaways! 
  • 20th Anniversary Throwback Thursday screenings of Brown Sugar and Drumline at Von King Park in Brooklyn; and
  • Black Anime Con (August 28), including CosPlay, an Anime Market, fusion food, and more at Von King Park!

Launched in 2002 with a single screening for 300 people, ImageNation Outdoors has grown to draw nearly 10,000 attendees each summer.

ImageNation Outdoors is the only summer-long festival dedicated to films and music about the global Black experience. New initiatives include an NFT art sidebar and Black Anime Con. 

“This is our 20th annual ImageNation Outdoors Festival, we couldn’t be happier about launching our FDBA partnership with “Soul of Harlem” a focus on Harlem artists and experiences,” said Moikgantsi Kgama, Executive Director of ImageNation.  “Locating on Frederick Douglass Boulevard allows us even more direct contact with our audience.”

“And, after 20 years of programs, we are also focused on cultivating opportunities for the Black community through exposure to emerging and popular media,” said Gregory Gates, Executive Producer of ImageNation. “Our new Black Anime Con was created to encourage youth African of descent to explore opportunities for themselves within this extremely popular Japanese genre. Our NFT sidebar is designed to expose new audiences for this new block-chain-based artform.”  

Highlights over the years have included drive-in movies during COVID-19, the world’s longest Soul Train line, the 100th Anniversary of South Africa’s African National Congress in Central Park, talkbacks with heralded talent such as Jesse Williams, ASAP Ferg and live performances by Talib Kweli, Goapele, Les Nubians, and more.

Masks are recommended for all participants. Social distancing is required. This policy may change as stipulated by the government.  All events are free and open to the public. Please note this schedule is subject to change. 

ImageNation

Led by Moikgantsi Kgama (Founder & Executive Director) and Gregory Gates (Executive Producer), ImageNation has hosted film screenings, live music performances and other cultural events for more than 150,000 people worldwide since its inception in New York City in 1997.

In addition to hosting year-round programs at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the world-famous Apollo Theater, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and in New York City Parks, ImageNation has presented internationally in South Africa, Scotland and Canada and domestically at Harvard University, MASS MOCA, and in Dallas, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Baltimore, MD, and Washington DC. Programs have featured appearances by leading filmmakers such as Spike Lee, Lee Daniels, Stanley Nelson and Ava Duvernay.



Full Festival Schedule

Full descriptions of the festival screening are enclosed below. All programs are free and open to the public.

Unless otherwise stated, music/discussions begin at 7:00 PM; and films begin at 8:30 PM or sundown.

  • Saturday, July 9 – Respect, dir. by Tommy Liesl, 145m, 2021, USA preceded by “Late Date”, 3 m, 2022, USA

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTtxoz3OIlU

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: Starring Jennifer Hudson, RESPECT follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom. RESPECT is the remarkable true story of the genius music icon’s journey to find her voice.

An ImageNation x FDBA presentation. 

  • Sunday, July 10 – West Side Story, dir. by Steven Spielberg, 156m, 2021, USA preceded by “The Noise Complaint”, directed by 7 min., 2022, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/A5GJLwWiYSg

Location: East River Plaza, Garage Rooftop, 4th Floor, 517 E 117th St, New York, NY 10035

Synopses: An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Co-Presented by East River Plaza Mall. 

  • Saturday, July 16 – Wax Print!, dir. by Aiwan Obinyan, 98m, 2018, UK

Preceded by a discussion with textile artists curated and moderated by Harlem Needleworks founder Michele Bishop. 

Trailer: https://youtu.be/TiN4DztRCVY

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: From village to cotton field, from mill to market, the story of how one fabric came to symbolize the struggle of a continent and its people. 

This ImageNation x FDBA program is co-presented with Harlem Needle Works.

  • Friday, July 22 – KIDS NIGHT OUT! Encanto, dir. by Jared Bush, 102m, 2021, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/TiN4DztRCVY

Location: Bronx Terminal Market, Garage Rooftop, 6th Floor, 610 Exterior Street Bronx, NY, 10451

Synopses: Join us for games, giveaways and a DJ before this special screening of Encanto! In this animated feature, a Colombian teenage girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.

Presented by Bronx Terminal Market Films on the Rooftop.  Co-produced by Moikgantsi Enterprises LLC. 

  • Saturday, July 23 – The Big Payback, dir. by Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow, 88 m, 2022, USA

preceded by “Ragtime Fan Film – Wheels of A Dream”, directed by Akil Dupaont, 7 min., 2021, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/wmIyxpxboTs

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: For the first time in American history, a tax-funded reparations bill for Blacks is passed in Evanston, IL. Funded by a tax on cannabis, the program is set to deliver $10 million as a correction for the systematic bias historically inflicted upon its Black constituents. The film follows the fight of rookie alderman Robin Rue Simmons as she leads the community in an uphill battle to obtain this ‘big payback.’ This informative documentary and insightful window into the legislative process bring an uplifting message championing the rights of citizens to challenge the status quo and gives needed exposure to the conversation around reparations. 

This ImageNation x FDBA program is co-presented with Black Public Media.

  • Thursday, July 28 – Brown Sugar, dir. by Rick Famuyiwa, 109m, 2002, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/cYhHoPTIT44

Location: Herbert Von King Park, Marcy Ave., Tompkins Ave., bet. Greene Ave. and Lafayette Ave.

Synopses: Starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan Brown Sugar explores a relationship between friends since childhood, a magazine editor and a hip-hop record executive, who stumble into romantic territory.

Co-presented with Fun w/ Friends and the City Parks Department.

  • Saturday, July 30 – Bringin’ in da Spirit, (A Tribute to Nonkululeko Tyehemba) 

dir. by Rhonda Haynes, 60m, 2003, USA

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/442137107

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: Narrated by Phylicia Rashad, Bringin’ in Da’ Spirit’ celebrates the history of the midwives, particularly Granny Midwives, in the United States from the earliest days of slavery until today.

  • Saturday, August 6 – Neptune Frost, directed by Anisia Uzeyman and Saul Williams, 105m, 2021, US, Rwanda, FR, CA

preceded by “A Playlist for Doomsday”, directed by Craig Hunter, 7 m, 2022, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/acfBNIXovww  

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: In this Afrifuturist musical, a group of escaped coltan miners forms an anti-colonialist computer hacker collective in the hilltops of Burundi. They soon attempt a takeover of the authoritarian regime that’s exploiting the region’s natural resources — and its people.  NEPTUNE FROST is an invigorating and empowering direct download to the cerebral cortex and a call to reclaim technology for progressive political ends.

An ImageNation x FDBA program. 

  • Sunday, August 7 – Encanto, dir. by Jared Bush, 102m, 2021, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/TiN4DztRCVY

Location: East River Plaza, Garage Rooftop, 4th Floor, 517 E 117th St, New York, NY 10035

Synopses: Join us for giveaways and a DJ before this special screening of Encanto! In this animated feature, a Colombian teenage girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.

Co-Presented by East River Plaza Mall. 

  • Saturday, August 13 – The Man by the Shore (A Tribute to Michelle Materre) dir. by Raoul Peck, 106m, 1993, France/Canada/Haiti/Germany

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: An imaginative girl (Jennifer Zubar) escapes the horrors of living in dictator Francois Duvalier’s 1960s Haiti.

This ImageNation x FDBA program is co-presented with Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival.

  • Wednesday, August 17 – African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey,  dir. by Roy T. Anderson, 85m, 2021, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/d01FqfFaO9g

Location: Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater, 18 Mt Morris Park W, New York, NY

Synopses: Narrated by Keith David, African Redemption presents the life of Jamaican civil rights activist Marcus Garvey and his fight for the equality of Black people worldwide.

Presented in partnership with Jazz Mobile and Harlem Week. 

  • Thursday, August 25 – Drumline, dir. by Charles Stone III, 111m, 2002, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/3J_LqCnPvgI

Location: Herbert Von King Park, Marcy Ave., Tompkins Ave., bet. Greene Ave. and Lafayette Ave.

Synopses: Starring Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana, Drumline brings the world of “show-style” marching bands (popular at traditionally black, Southern colleges) to the big screen for the first time when a band director recruits a Harlem street drummer to play at a Southern university. The story  was inspired by the high school drumline experiences of executive producer/executive music producer Dallas Austin. 

Co-presented with Fun w/ Friends and the City Parks Department.

  • Saturday, August 27 – Forty-Year-Old Version, dir. by Radha Blank, 123m, 2020, USA

preceded by a talk with director Radha Blank and ImageNation founder Moikgantsi Kgama 

and the short film “One Step At a Time”, 8:30 m, 2022, USA

Trailer: https://youtu.be/RRpGNnaDzeE

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.

An ImageNation x FDBA program. 

  • Sunday, August 28, 2pm to 10pm  – Black Anime Con, varied artists, 145m, 2021, USA

Location: Herbert Von King Park, Marcy Ave., Tompkins Ave., bet. Greene Ave. and Lafayette Ave.

Synopses: Celebrating the Black presence in anime, ImageNation’s Black Anime Con will feature CosPlay, Anime Market, Japanese Soul fusion food, film screenings and more.

Co-presented with the City Parks Department.

  • Saturday, September 10, 2022 – Becoming Frederick Douglass, directed by Stanley Nelson, 90m, 2022, USA

This Special Advance Screening will be preceded by a talk with director Stanley Nelson and Professor Natasha Lightfoot, Columbia University, Department of History. 

Trailer: https://www.pbs.org/video/extended-trailer-jly62g/

Location: 120th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Synopses: Using Frederick Douglass’ own words, this documentary film tells the story of how a man born and raised in slavery became one of the most prominent elder statesmen and powerful voices for freedom in America.

This ImageNation x FDBA program is co-presented with Firelight Films.

Please join the conversation on social media:  #ImageNationOutdoors20, #ImageNationOutdoors, #iLoveSoulCinema

Website: Imagenation.us; TW: @ImageNationUS; IG: @ImageNation.US; FB: @ImageNationFoundation

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