COMMUNITY VOICES | Juneteenth Film Festival seeks submissions from minority filmmakers

We are the Juneteenth Film Initiative, a new Midwest organization whose prime goal is to celebrate and highlight diversity in film. On April 4 we launched our website, and along with it, an announcement that there's a new film festival in town. The JFI Festival will run in conjunction with the Minneapolis Juneteenth Festival, a yearly community mainstay that celebrates the emancipation act. We hope to give the Twin Cities a fresh new spin on film; one that celebrates freedom behind the lens. We will kick off our festival this June 13-16, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Our organization was created by Minneapolis filmmakers Lee Henry Jordan, June Neely, and Alaina L. Lewis. The purpose for starting the program was to give a platform to the distinct voices in film that at times go by unnoticed. In adhering to our tag phrase “celebrating diversity in film," JFI isn’t primarily for the African American filmmaker, but rather for the minority filmmakers who fall into the areas of diversity as it relates to race and gender orientation.

“We wanted to create something that gives a platform to the often underserved; the Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or GLBT filmmaker and many others that don’t always get to be celebrated for their contributions to cinema,” co-founder Alaina L Lewis states. “Many filmmakers of diverse backgrounds are still looking for their spotlight or even more platforms to exhibit their work. We hope to be an organization that aids in the solution of celebrating our differences in the silver screen world, versus ignoring our differences. We know by far we’re not the only festival that believes in this mission, however, we’re happy to be in the fight to celebrate the freedom of filmmaking.”

The Juneteenth Film Initiative is in its inception year, and have goals in the near future to offer filmmaking programs for youth, educational panels, ticket giveaways and more. Stay Tuned. 

Call For Entries: Currently the 1st Annual Juneteenth Film Initiative is looking for films to exhibit during their festival this June. They’ve put out a call for entries for Shorts, Features, Documentaries, Music Videos, and Experimental films by diverse voices. Submissions close May 10, 2013. To submit a film, or to learn more about the Juneteenth Film Initiative and how you can get involved in the movement please visit our website.

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