Sunday, June 16, 2024

Juneteenth Film Festival Returns to Kansas City

(KANSAS CITY, Mo. May 6th, 2024) The 2nd annual Juneteenth Film Festival returns to Kansas City on Wednesday, June 4th. This year’s festival will primarily feature films written, directed and produced by Kansas Citians including Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Willmott. All films will be screened at the Screenland Armour Theater in North Kansas City.
(KANSAS CITY, Mo. May 6th, 2024) The 2nd annual Juneteenth Film Festival returns to Kansas City on Wednesday, June 4th. This year’s festival will primarily feature films written, directed, and produced by Kansas Citians including Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Willmott. All films will be screened at the Screenland Armour Theater in North Kansas City.

*The 2nd annual Juneteenth Film Festival returns to Kansas City on Wednesday, June 4th. This year’s festival will primarily feature films written, directed, and produced by Kansas Citians including Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Willmott. All films will be screened at the Screenland Armour Theater in North Kansas City.

Curated by award-winning Fox 4 News film critic Shawn Edwards, the 2nd annual Juneteenth Film Festival will showcase feature films, documentaries, and shorts produced by Black filmmakers.

“As we celebrate Juneteenth, one of the most important days in African American history, I felt it was important that we include groundbreaking cinema that embodies the spirit of the holiday,” said Edwards.

“Kansas City has one of the longest-running Juneteenth celebrations in the country. Now we have one of the only film festivals in the country that honors the holiday by celebrating Black filmmaking.”

This year’s film festival is sponsored by the Black Movie Hall of Fame, Celebration of Black Cinema and Television, Wilson’s Industries LLC, House of Kush, and the Kansas City Film Office.

Shawn Edwards
Shawn Edwards

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Tuesday, June 4th: Black Filmmakers Happy Hour hosted by Film KC (Screenland Armour) 5:00PM
Tuesday, June 4th: Film KC presents “Underneath: Children of the Sun” Directed by David Kirkman (Screenland Armour) 7:00PM
Wednesday, June 5th: “The Pistol” Directed by Paul and Kenneth Rayford (Screenland Armour) 6:30PM and 8:30PM
Sunday, June 9th: Party Event “We Hanging with Clarence” Hosted by rapper Roblo da Star (The Velvet Freeze Daiquiris/Smaxx) 7:00PM
Wednesday, June 12th: “Kansas City Dreamin’” Directed by Diallo Javonne French (Screenland Armour) 6:30PM
Wednesday, June 12th: “What’s N Kansas City?” Directed by Skiem Heim (Screenland Armour) 8:30PM
Wednesday, June 19th: “Binding Us Together” Directed by Kevin Willmott (Screenland Armour) 6:30PM and 8:30PM
Wednesday, June 26th “Drout 2” Directed by Isiah King (Screenland Armour) 6:30PM
*The short film “BF” directed by Jamie Addison will screen before each feature every night of the festival.

FILM SYNOPSIS

BINDING US TOGETHER
A heartfelt, inspiring narrative that is inextricably linked to the nation’s past and present, civil rights activist and public servant Alvin Brooks shares engaging, funny, and tragic stories of his life and career of advocacy in Kansas City.

DROUT 2
The sequel to the highly successful underground hit “Drout.” After King is released from prison he encounters a tragic event. The results of this start a revengeful war on the streets of Kansas City as he continues his struggles with the law while trying to finally get out of the game.

KANSAS CITY DREAMIN’
Kansas City Dreamin’ is a documentary about the African American music history of the city. It features interviews with Melissa Etheridge, Tech N9ne, Bobby Watson, Oleta Adams, Lonnie McFadden, Oscar winner Kevin Willmont, and many more. With segments on Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Janelle Monae, Big Joe Turner, and other Kansas City natives. The film celebrates Kansas City’s contribution to American music.

THE PISTOL
“The Pistol” is a gripping documentary that delves into the real-life accounts of notorious gangster Kenneth Rayford. Directed by Paul Rayford, the film details the exploits of Kenneth Rayford from his time as a youth growing up on the mean streets of Kansas City, Missouri up to adulthood when he ran the streets of Kansas City. Through interviews with Kenneth himself, his accomplices, and actual news footage the documentary reveals the life of a real-underworld crime figure. “The Pistol” paints a compelling portrait of a man who dedicated his entire life to the criminal underworld, maintained a solid reputation, and actually lived to talk about it.

WHAT’S N’ KANSAS CITY?
Skiem Heim, Kansas City’s official street journalist, takes you on a guided tour of the places at the heart of Kansas City’s Black culture.

UNDERNEATH: CHILDREN OF THE SUN
This mind-bending Afrofuturist story embarks on a breathtaking journey of galactic politics, heritage, and destiny. In 1857, a slave in Little Dixie, Missouri is thrust into an intergalactic crisis after helping an alien from a crashed spaceship. An ultra-powerful alien artifact passes through generations of bloody fingers and inheritors here on Earth, including the present, and ultimately leads to an epic battle for control. “Underneath Children of the Sun” is St. Louis filmmaker David Kirkman’s feature film debut.

THE VOICE | KCUR | KANSAS CITY FILM OFFICE

KEVIN WILLMOTT BIO
Kevin Willmott is a professor of film at the University of Kansas and a film writer and director. He is known for his work focusing on black issues including writing and directing “Ninth Street,” “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” and “Bunker Hill.” His film “The Only Good Indian,” which he directed and produced, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. In 2013, Willmott’s films “Destination: Planet Negro!” and “Jayhawkers” were both released. He also served as a writer on Spike Lee’s film “Chi-Raq” and as a screenwriter on Lee’s film “BlacKkKlansman” which won an Oscar and BAFTA for best adapted screenplay in 2019.

SHAWN EDWARDS BIO
Shawn Edwards is an award-winning journalist and film critic at Fox 4 News in Kansas City, Missouri where he began working in 2000. During his 20-plus year career, Edwards co-founded the African American Film Critics Association in 2003, created a Celebration of Black Cinema & Television in 2014, and created the Black Movie Hall of Fame in 2022. He has also produced several documentaries on the history of Black film. Edwards is currently the executive producer of the Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Black Cinema & Television award show, writing a book on the history of Black film and producing two feature films “The Soul of Santa” and “The Richest Little Girl in the World: The Sarah Rector Story.” He also contributes as a juror for several film festivals and appears on several nationally syndicated television and radio programs providing his insight on the film and television industries.

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