Kuumba Film Festival set for Proctors on Saturday

Movie posters reading The Last Shot and A Nouveau Christmas Story

Two of the films set to be shown at Saturday's festival.

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Up-and-coming filmmakers from the Capital Region and beyond are set to head to Schenectady this weekend as part of The Kuumba Film Festival.

Organized by the Hamilton Hill Arts Center and hosted at Proctors, it will feature more than 10 film screenings, a panel discussion and keynote speaker Ramfis Myrthil, a New York-based actor and producer who recently founded Ramfis Productions. Actor and former Capital Region resident Kevin Craig West will be in attendance and will receive the festival’s “Greatness in the Arts” award.

“Schenectady and the 518 has so much talent and giving a platform to our creatives and bringing some regional and Hollywood producers to the area to spread knowledge and educate us is just the beginning,” said festival producer and director Jermaine Wells, who is also an actor and musician.

He has been involved with the Hamilton Hill Arts Center for several years and recently became part of the Creatives Rebuild New York Media Team at the arts center. With the festival, Wells and the rest of the team wanted to not only showcase local talent but also support the arts center’s mission.

“The motivation for Hamilton Hill Art Center is really to celebrate, educate and enhance African diaspora art. Going with that mission statement, that’s what this film festival does. Anybody that’s showing either is writing about a story of an African diaspora character [or] the star of it is the director of somebody in a main piece of the film is from the African diaspora,” Wells said.

Some of the featured films include “The Last Shot,” directed by Schenectady filmmaker Prince Sprauve, “A Refugee’s Guide to Rome,” “The Ebony Rockers Mural” and “Fever” by Jeremy Feight and Angele Cooper. The latter stars Janet Hubert from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

There will be a family programming block from noon to 1 p.m. and it will feature a variety of locally made films, including “A Nouveau Christmas Story,” a quirky coming-of-age story which was directed by Wells.

Myrthil will speak about the film industry and take questions from the audience. Panels will feature members from Film Schenectady and Film Albany, as well as Ray Legere, owner of Armory Studios NY.

“They’re going to do a panel talking about film financing and resources that are around for filmmakers and artists,” Wells said.

The name for the festival, “Kuumba,” is Swahili for creativity but Wells noted, “it really means to use your creativity to make your community better.” To that end, organizers hope it’ll help aspiring filmmakers.

“I think a lot of people don’t know some of the things it takes to [make a film] and may want to understand a little bit more and they want to see who’s around, who’s making films, how do I get involved, whether it’s a smaller scale or a bigger scale. So I think that’s important as well because . . . you have to start somewhere to build up those skills,” Wells said.

It may also be a good place to start for film festival newbies.

“If they’ve never experienced a film festival this is a nice way into it. This is not a multi-day festival. This is not one that’s going to be intimidating. There’s breaks. It’s a beautiful screen [and you] get to see some up-and-comers and be exposed to some really cool cinema,” Wells said.

It runs from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday in the GE Theatre at Proctors. Tickets are $11 and profits go to the Hamilton Hill Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased ahead of the event at proctors.org.

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Schenectady

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