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BET Original Movie "Being Mary Jane" To Open Urbanworld Film Festival

WI Staff Report | 9/13/2012, 2:54 p.m.

HBO returns for 3rd year to host "Urbanworld Digital"

The 16th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival (www.urbanworld.org) presented by BET Networks announced recently that the BET Premiere Cinema film "BEING MARY JANE" - an original made for television movie and pilot from the powerhouse couple behind "Sparkle" and "The Game" - will serve as the festival's Opening Night film on Thursday, September 20. Created and written by Mara Brock Akil and directed by Salim Akil, "BEING MARY JANE" stars Gabrielle Union, Lisa Vidal, Margaret Avery, Richard Brooks, B.J. Britt, Raven Goodwin, Aaron D. Spears, Richard Roundtree, Omari Hardwick, Robin Lee, Latarsha Rose, Tika Sumpter and Stephen Bishop.

Mary Jane Paul happens to be part of a growing American statistic - the single, black female. Although this successful television news anchor does not have a family to call her own, she does have parents, brothers, nieces and close friends to keep her well-balanced as she manages her life as a mature single woman. Mary Jane may report on everyone else's lives every night on the evening news, but now we will pull the curtain back and see how it feels "BEING MARY JANE."

Urbanworld Founding Sponsor HBO returns to host the 3rd Annual Urbanworld Digital, a one-day digital track on September 19 at the HBO Theater (1100 6th Ave @ 42nd St, 15th floor) featuring seasoned industry players who will discuss topics including crowdfunding content and new opportunities for distributing content. The sessions will be followed by a reception.

"HBO is excited to take part in addressing new opportunities emerging from the digital explosion in our industry," said Lucinda Martinez, vice president, Domestic Network Distribution & Multicultural Marketing. "We are pleased to be hosting the 3rd Annual Urbanworld Digital panels that will examine the growing demand for personalized entertainment in this ever-changing environment."

An expanded program overview is available on the Urbanworld website with advance online RSVP required. Session highlights include the following, with a networking reception whereby attendees will connect with industry thought leaders, executives, and content creators.

This year, Urbanworld continues its third year of Digital Panels and programming with two unique offerings, "Kickstarting Creativity, Community & Possibility: Crowdfunding Your Content" on Sept. 19 4:00pm - 5:30pm. The discussion of the crowdfunding campaign phenomenon and its benefits/realities for content creators, featuring participation by a few filmmakers who have executed successful campaigns, including Christine Giorgio (Four); Ryan Koo (Man Child); Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty); Bill Warrell (Maker of Saints); moderated by Ty Ahmad-Taylor (CEO, FanFeedr)

The second panel, "The New Now: Rewriting Opportunity in Content Distribution", Sept. 19 from 6:00pm - 7:30pm, explores innovative platforms for filmmakers to showcase their content, featuring executive participation by Nick Hall (Vice President, HBO Entertainment), Alvin Bowles (CEO Grab Media), et. al.

Urbanworld takes place Sept. 19-23, 2012 at midtown Manhattan's AMC 34th Street. For the complete slate of films or ticket information, visit www.urbanworld.org. For media inquiries, email press@135stagency.com.

The Urbanworld Film Festival, founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes, is the largest internationally competitive festival of its kind. The five-day festival includes narrative features, documentaries, and short films, as well as panel discussions, live staged screenplay readings, and the Urbanworld Digital track focused on digital and social media. Over the last fifteen years, Hollywood studios, indie film distributors, and established and emerging filmmakers have consistently chosen Urbanworld to premiere box office and award-winning hits. Urbanworld has also provided a platform for some of today's leading brands seeking to reach key influencers across the industry and within the consumer marketplace.

The Urbanworld Film Festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that endeavors to consistently manifest its mission of redefining and advancing the roles of multicultural constituents in contemporary filmed entertainment. By implementing initiatives that actively support and develop content creators of color, Urbanworld significantly contributes to the evolution of the media and entertainment landscape and the diversity that it reflects. Gabrielle Glore serves as Executive Producer & Head of Programming for the Urbanworld Film Festival.