By Terry Shropshire
Kathleen Bertrand radiated red-carpet royalty just before the commencement of the 10th Bronzelens Awards Show program at the Jimmy Carter Library in Atlanta.
Bertrand, the Bronzelens Film Festival co-founder and executive producer, looked like she just stepped off a private jet from Wakanda or perhaps emerged from the wedding scene in the cult classic, “Coming to America.”
She beamed with pride over the high quality of films from a kaleidoscope of moviemakers of color from 35 countries around the world.
“For the filmmakers, this is the creme of the crop so there is so much energy and synergy,” she said, adding that the “Black Panther” theme helped decorate The Carter Center. “This is our second year celebrating the Wakanda theme. And there’s nothing grander than seeing everyone in their finery.”
The 10th anniversary of Bronzelens Film Festival came strong with a plethora of reputable names, powerful films and inspiring awards programs opened at its host hotel the Hyatt Regency and the Midtown Arts Cinema with the screening of “Selma” star David Oyelowo’s new film, ‘Don’t Let Go.” Oyelowo spoke about the film and accepted the festival’s 2019 Trailblazer Award.
As a whole, this year’s Bronzelens tackled a wide range of subjects including the infamous Atlanta schools cheating scandal; the Central Park Five; the inflammatory immigration issue through Deborah Riley Draper and Jasmine Guy; and reached its summit with the annual Women Superstar Luncheon.
A number of celebrity guests said they were awed by the positive vibes that swept through the ceremony.
The effervescent thespian Reese Odom, a veteran of the popular series, “Saints & Sinners,” and “Vampire Diaries” discussed the enormity of the 10th Bronzelens festival while celebrating her return to the platform that has supported her.
“I’m super excited to be a part of the Bronzelens Film Festival on its 10th anniversary,” Odom said. “They are just so awesome to me and they’ve always supported my projects. Two years ago, I was filming “Smoke” and I was up for the best feature film for the last time and, now, two years later, we are up again for the film, ‘Smoke.’”
The beloved “Amen” star Anna Marie Horsford could hardly contain her excitement at being at the program.
“It was such a thrill for me, I love the aesthetic of who we are as black people,” she said. “And I am thrilled that I have lived this long to see the different incarnation of this.”
Winners of the 2019 Bronzelens Awards
Best Short: Burning Angel Dust, (USA) directed by Jackie J. Stone.
Best Documentary: Little Music Manchild (USA) directed by Malena Cunningham Anderson.
Best Documentary Short: Ashley Ashley (USA) directed by Ted Sananman
Best Feature: Created Equal (USA), directed by Bill Duke
Best International Documentary: Journey of a Soca King, (Trinidad & Tobago, USA) directed by Bart Phillips
Best Music Video: Broken Pieces, (USA) directed by Lem Collins
Best Webisode: Brooklyn.Blue.Sky, (USA) directed by Rhavynn Drummer and Dui Jarrod
Best of Festival | Best International Short: The Suit, (South Africa) directed by Jarryd Coetsee
2019 BronzeLens Audience Award: Spilled Milk (USA) directed by Jaqai Mickelsen
Best Actress: Elle Jae Stewart for JUNIOR (USA) directed by Pearl Gluck
Best Actor: Kendre Berry for Trouble Man directed by Jackson Young
2019 BronzeLens Founder’s Award: Brenda Mills, Florida State University Festivals Coordinator and Industry Liaison
2019 BronzeLens Chairman’s Award: Heritage Cadillac
2019 BronzeLens Spirit Award: Crystal Emery, writer, director, producer
This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Voice.