Here at CCBFF, we believe you should have a look at the many artists behind the films you’ll be seeing at CCBFF 2015. Next up in our Creative Corner coverage, we have Julius Tennon, executive producer alongside wife Viola Davis on the film The Brink. which will be screening Saturday, August 15 at the Palmer Events Center.
Why have you and your wife chosen to lend your support, expertise and knowledge to the Capital City Black Film Festival?
Because it’s important to us to help bring attention to the CCBFF in Austin where independent film is continuing to blossom. There’s a huge need to be inclusive of artists of color and to give them an outlet to showcase their work. It’s essential for us to have a stage on which we’re able to put our voices out there. Winston and his team were bold enough to have that vision and put it to work, and we wanted to be a part of it and do whatever we could to champion the efforts of expressing our diverse, artistic works to the greater community as a whole.
Why are Black Film Festivals important?
They are important because they give African-American artists a place to showcase their work to our community, and to the wider communities across the country. They serve to shine light on our stories and struggles but, more importantly, our success. They show that we are a force, and what we have to say stands for something.
Why a Black Film Festival in Austin?
Because there was not a presence, and really I feel it’s been long overdue. As I said, the CCBFF team stepped up and now here we are. Austin is ready and made for this.
Having spent over 30 years in film, television and theater, in your opinion, what is the state of Black filmmaking today?
It’s great and opportunities are starting to increase…but, you know, there’s always room for growth. We have to continue to work hard and fight to tell our stories truthfully. It’s an uphill battle but, when you can find common supporters who are as passionate about an endeavor as you are, moving forward becomes much easier because you have a support system. We as a community need more of that and to support each other. We must support black films at all cost. Show me what you like with your viewing decisions, and Hollywood will give it to you. We have to stay committed and in the conversation. Persistence and taste win.
Tell us briefly about JuVee Productions and why you are so proud of it?
JuVee has made a rapid impact in five short years in Hollywood as a multi-ethnic production company committed to do what we do at the highest level and to include — not exclude. That is what we are proud of, and being able to be a part of both the business and creative conversations to advocate for people of color. We just wrapped our second feature film call “Custody” starring Viola, Catalina Moreno, Ellen Burstyn, and Hayden Panettiere, and we’re hard at work on other things around town that we’re excited to announce in the near future.
At CCBFF 2015, you can catch The Brink, see Julius Tennon and more, including A Conversation with Freeway Rick Ross and a screening of Freeway: Crack in the System! Be sure to get your ticket today!