Florida A&M University is celebrating its 125th anniversary and honoring Black History Month by hosting “A Tribute To African-American Film.” The festival, which runs from February 3 through February 29, is a partnership with the Tallahassee Film Festival and the Tallahassee Film Society, and celebrates films that have impacted the African-American community and American History.
Film director and FAMU alumnus Will Packer will be previewing his new movie, “Think Like A Man,” three months before its commercial release in a screening that will be free to FAMU students.
One of the featured films, “Flying Ace” — about Black airmen during World War One — was released in the 1920s by Norman Studios, a white-run Jacksonville, Fla. enterprise that specialized in producing films with African-American casts and crews.
Lisa Dunbar, senior curator at the Museum of Florida History, said the movie the Flying Ace is “not just a Florida story,” but a national one.
A traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum will feature the original Flying Ace movie poster at the Museum of Florida History.
The Tallahassee Film Society will be showing two notable documentaries. “Dare Not Walk Alone” is a 2006 documentary covering St. Augustine’s civil rights protests circa 1964. “It’s close to home,” said John Fraser, founder of Tallahassee Film Society, who describes “Dare Not Walk Alone” as a “good positive film on civil rights. ”
“Alley Pat” is a 2009 documentary about an Atlanta radio personality during the 1950s and 1960s. “Alley Pat was a disc jockey ahead of his time,” said Fraser.
In addition to screenings, the festival boasts a film forum, a writing workshop, and a banquet at FAMU’s Grand Ballroom to honor local citizens who have witness the history of African-American films. The film forum will explore how to succeed in the film industry, featuring assistant director and stage manager, Anthony B Major and casting director, Melvin Johnson.
Sharon Saunders, the Tribute to African-American Films Planning Committee Chair said in a press release, “We have been working in conjunction with several local groups to not only pay tribute to a segment of African-American culture, but to highlight FAMU alumni and staff contributions to the entertainment field as we celebrate FAMU’s 125th anniversary.”