Civil Rights Drama ‘Rustin’ to Open First Look Film Festival Celebrating HBCU Alumni

Rustin (Credit: Netflix)

The HBCU First Look Film Festival celebrating the work of HBCU alumni in film and TV will kick off this month at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

The inaugural festival is set to open with a screening of the Netflix and Higher Ground drama Rustin, which opens in select theaters on Nov. 3 and begins streaming Nov. 17 on Netflix.

Executive produced by Higher Ground’s Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, the film tells the story of Civil Rights pioneer Bayard Rustin, who was the architect of the 1963 March on Washington. The film is directed by DGA Award and five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe and features an all-star cast led by Emmy Award winner Colman Domingo.

Related Story: ‘Rustin’ Trailer Shows Colman Domingo Ignoring Threats to End Fight for Civil Rights

The theme of the film festival is “A Celebration of Black Filmmakers Rooted in HBCU Culture.”

The gathering runs from Nov. 10 to Nov. 12, and will feature panel discussions and master classes with HBCU alumni.

“I’m excited to bring together a collective of partners who share my vision to build an annual initiative exclusively designed to serve as a unique pipeline for HBCU students,” Sheila Eldridge, festival founder and CEO of Miles Ahead Entertainment & Broadcasting, said in a statement.

Academy Award-winning costume designer and Hampton alum, Ruth E. Carter, will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon on Nov. 11.

TV One will present a conversation with Urban One Founder and Chairperson, Cathy Hughes, where seven HBCU First Look Film finalists will be announced and the winner will receive a $5,000 grand prize.

The festival’s “Closing Night at the Movies” event will feature the film, The Crossover: 50 years of Hip Hop and Sports, presented by ESPN E60.

Also attending will be actors Peyton Alex Smith, Loni Love, and Terri J. Vaughn; They Cloned Tyrone producer Stephen “Dr.” Love; The Reading writer-director Courtney Glaudé; and Sherri executive producer Jawn Murray.

HBCU student filmmakers will be able to attend a pitchfest with Hollywood executives and visit a career lounge for information on internship opportunities.

More information on the festival can be found here.