It will be a little bit of Hollywood in Buffalo.
The 2014 WNY Black Film Festival will take place Saturday, featuring a Buffalo-born actress and one of her movies.
Edythe Davis, a star in the film “Reflection Day,” will be among those participating in the one-day festival, organizers said.
“Every year we try to bring in a celebrity,” said Jayme Smith, co-founder and chair of the festival.
Of this year’s turnout, Smith said:
“We’re expecting it to be a packed crowd.”
Two film screenings – with a reception in between – will fill out a day’s worth of events on Saturday in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center in downtown Buffalo, organizers said. Tickets to the event cost $5 for admission to the first film presentation, and $5 for the evening session, Smith said. The event starts at 1 p.m., with the first round of viewing – a series of six short films – running until 3 p.m., Smith said. A “red carpet reception” will be held from 3 to 5 p.m.
The second film presentation will begin at 5 p.m., Smith said. That evening screening will include “Reflection Day,” the film starring Davis, as well as “Blue Caprice.”
“Reflection Day” deals with the subject of Alzheimer’s. Voting is also a theme in the film.
Davis will participate in a panel discussion following the evening screening of her film, organizers said.
“It’s important to us that we not only show the films as entertainment,” said Karen Stanley Fleming, president of the Buffalo alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a presenter of the event.
That’s why, Fleming said, “we follow up our films with a dialogue, a discussion with the audience.”
Besides Delta Sigma Theta, presenters of the festival include Councilman Demone Smith. Also supporting the event is the Masten Block Club Coalition, organizers said.
The focus for this year’s festival is mental health, organizers said.
“Mental health is a very important issue that we need to deal with,” said Smith, who has chaired the event for 12 years. “It affects the individuals, it affects families.”
“We need to be talking about how to deal with it,” Smith said.
Fleming, head of the Buffalo chapter of the sorority since 2011, said that presenting serious issues like mental health in a film setting can make them more accessible to people.
“It takes some of the edge off of it,” Fleming said.
The film festival has grown over the past 12 years, said Smith.
“When we started back in 2002, we probably had like 20 people in the theater,” she said. “Over the years, the audience has grown. We pack the theater.”
Tickets are available at the Market Arcade box office, before the event and on the day of the festival, Smith said.
Those involved with organizing the festival said that the films being shown this year – with themes ranging from voting to health – seem especially timely.
“Here’s a subject matter that’s in the news,” said Jennifer Parker, a Delta Sigma Theta member, referring to the issues in the Davis film.