Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series Welcomes Centric as Key Sponsor & Partner

September 30, 2014 (Brooklyn, NY) — Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series is proud to announce a partnership with Centric, a BET Network, to support scholarships for our award-winning filmmakers and help the festival present 30 films produced, directed and written by women of color across the globe.  Reel Sisters will be held from Oct. 25 to 26 at LIU Brooklyn with an awards ceremony on Sunday evening where cash awards will be given to six women for outstanding films that celebrate family bonds and challenge stereotypes. For information Reel Sisters visit www.reelsisters.org.


As a key sponsor for Reel Sisters’ 17th Annual Film Festival, Centric will offer exclusive coverage of the festival on its website, CentricTV.com, including filmmaker interviews.  Reel Sisters will screen such inspirational films as Hands to Sky, Catch Them & They’re Yours, a film about a man with autism fighting to raise his younger brother after his mom’s death to The Summer of Gods, a short film on a young girl embracing her spiritual heritage when she is visited by the Orishas (African Gods) in a Brazilian village.

“We are honored to partner with Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series and provide scholarships for women of color in film,” said Depelsha McGruder, Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Centric. “As the network for Black women, we look forward to building and growing relationships with organizations that cater to and reflect our audience.”

Founded in 1997 by African Voices magazine and LIU Brooklyn, Reel Sisters is the first Brooklyn-based festival devoted to women of color filmmakers. The festival has enriched the city with more than 500 films by women of African, Caribbean, Latino, Asian, Indian, and Native American descent and awarded over $7,000 in scholarships to women filmmakers. The groundbreaking festival has influenced other media organizations to launch initiatives that help Black women gain access to directing jobs in Hollywood and bring independent film projects to life.

“Reel Sisters is honored to have Centric, The First Network Designed for Black Women, provide a platform for us to share and celebrate our stories,” said Carolyn A. Butts, founder of Reel Sisters. “We’re thrilled to live in a time where our daughters can turn on the TV each night and enjoy images that affirm their beauty and brilliance. Our goal is aligned with Centric’s trailblazing efforts to ensure that doors for Black women in film and television continue to open.”

The Reel Sisters Film Festival is supported, in part, by Councilmember Jumaane Williams, 45 C.D., Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, 35 C.D., the National Endowment for the Arts (Art Works), the New York State Council on the Arts, Centric, Brooklyn Arts Council, LIU Brooklyn and New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Media sponsors include Akila Worksongs, Imagination Cinema Foundation, CINEMATIQ Magazine, SYM-Magazine and The Network Journal.

On Sunday, October 26 at 6 pm, Centric will join Reel Sisters in presenting awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Documentary, Best Cinematography Best Short, Best Experimental and the Reel Sisters Spirit Award. The awards ceremony will be held at LIU’s Kumble Theater in Brooklyn, NY. For schedule visit www.reelsisters.org.


Below is a short description of the Reel Sisters award-winning films.




The Summer of Gods

Length: 20:28 min Category: Narrative   Director/Producer: Eliciana Nascimento

A troubled young girl named Lili unites with her Afro-Brazilian religious ancestry on a summer visit with family to their ancestral village in rural Northeast Brazil. Soon after her arrival, she encounters Orishas (African Gods) who join with her grandmother to help her find peace with a gift that has previously vexed her.



Hands to the Sky, Catch Them & They’re Yours

Length: 17:45 min   Category: Narrative

Director: Kimberly Townes   Producer: Theodore Perkins

An autistic man fights to prove, to himself and to the court, his ability to provide for his younger brother after the sudden passing of their mother.




Length: 4:30 min. Category: Animated, Experimental   Director/Producer: Neelu Bhuman

Basic dignity of queer people in India is under attack, yet again. The Section 377 law is re-enacted to criminalize “gay sex” in India. While the law and the Supreme Court date themselves back a few hundred years, an Indian mother has her knowledge of “gay sex” in mint condition, wheeling out a tidbit or two for her heartbroken queer daughter.



You’re Dead to Me

Length: 12:45 min. Category: Narrative

Director: Wu Tsang   Producer: Melissa Haizlip

A grieving Chicana mother confronts an uninvited family member before her Dia de los Muertos celebration.


Hero Mars

Length: 24:24 min. Category: Narrative

Director: Skyler Cooper Producer: Maria Breaux

A down-and-out actor gets the chance of a lifetime to audition for a world-class theater company, but she struggles with misconceptions, ignorance and hostility in her quest to gain acceptance.



At a Distance

Length: 7:03 min. Category: Documentary Director/Producer: Baqir Rezaie

Abiha is 7. She lives on the outskirts of Quetta in Pakistan. Her father has fled to Australia and she misses him terribly. Her home has been bombed and her mother is trying to reunite the family while supporting her children as a schoolteacher. Abiha’s life in this dangerous Hazara community is tumultuous, but she continues to dream of becoming an artist one day.