The Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) returned to Austin Labor Day weekend. This year’s festival presented more than 80 film screenings of documentaries, features, shorts and music videos from talented filmmakers from across the globe. Filmmakers and film enthusiasts were provided the opportunity to participate in engaging and educational programming and to network with and learn from industry professionals.

Of the 80+ film projects accepted into this year’s festival, submissions came from a range of countries including the U.S., South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Canada. While CCBFF received amazing work from across the globe, only a few were selected as award winners in the categories of Best Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short and Best Music Video.

The list of winners is as follows:

Opening night kicked-off with a 25th anniversary screening of Cool Runnings presented by the film’s star Leon Robinson, a 2018 CCBFF ambassador. Leon also hosted a special screening of his short film Make America Black Again, a political satire. Following the screening, Leon shared some industry advice to aspiring filmmakers in an intimate Q&A immediately following.

“Capital City Black Film Festival is important to Black cinema and needs to be built up as it’s in the highly regarded artistic Austin, TX.” said Actor, Filmmaker and CCBFF ambassador Leon. “Austin is a town known for music and film and we, as people of color, must be represented and showcased.”

Filmmaker Jeremy Sadowski was joined by University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) distinguished Precursors Leon Holland and Cloteal Haynes, members of UT’s first African American undergraduate class, for a screening of Breaking Down Barriers: The C.R. Roberts Story. Holland shared his memories of the monumental University of South California (USC) versus UT matchup in 1956, prior to the integration of UT athletics. The discussion took place just two weeks before the upcoming football matchup of USC and UT on Sept. 15.

“This year’s festival was very symbolic to me and my team. With the support of our sponsors, volunteers and the Austin community, we were able to bring the festival back to Austin and elevate the entire experience for our guests,” said CCBFF Executive Director Winston G. Williams.

“The enthusiasm of the filmmakers was palpable. Our goal is always to create opportunities for Black filmmakers to showcase their work, network with other filmmakers and industry professionals and to be cultivated as a result of their participation in our festival.”

Throughout the weekend, festivalgoers were also given the opportunity to see a special screening of ABC docu-series The Last Defense, executive produced by Viola Davis, followed by a panel discussion with the shows co-creators, director, executive producers and cast members. Guests were provided a special treat, an audio recording of a poem from Julius Jones, Oklahoma City death row inmate featured in the series. The Jones family joined the screening and panel discussion as special guests.

Other panel discussions included “Beyond the Field: Discovering Powerful Stories in Sports” and featured Emmy-award winning Director and Producer Amani Martin, quarterback trainer Quincy Avery and aspiring filmmaker and content marketer Brian Fitch.

“Reconstructing the Narrative: Storytelling and Diversity” panel featured JuVee Productions VP of Theatrical Motion Pictures Rob Williams, CCBFF Executive Director Winston G. Williams and filmmakers Phillip Elam, Seckeita and Brandon Lewis.

“Marketing on a Shoestring Budget” featured Universal Pictures Director of Multicultural Publicity and Promotions Jon Gist, The MRKT Acting Director DeDe Brown, Left Field Marketing Founder Brian Fitch and CCBFF PR Director Desirae Jones.

For six years CCBFF has brought passionate, determined filmmakers to Austin to celebrate the rise of Black film. Filmmakers come from across the globe to showcase their work and learn from the brightest minds in the industry. With growing support from the Austin community and beyond, CCBFF presented more than 80 films to more than 1000 guests at this year’s festival. Overall attendance and filmmaker submissions increased more than 200% since the inception of the festival!

Capital City Black Film Festival is made possible by a host of sponsors who believe in providing a platform for black filmmakers to thrive and advance in the industry. CCBFF welcomed new sponsors Envolve Inc. and Austin Convention Center. Ongoing supporters include 6th year sponsors H-E-B, JuVee Productions (Julius Tennon and Viola Davis), the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division Office and the Austin Film Commission.