Urbanworld Film Festival Announces 2022 Slate, Sony Pictures and Black Label Media’s DEVOTION to Open the Festival
DEVOTION star Jonathan Majors confirmed as festival ambassador
HBO returns as Founding Partner, Visa serves as Presenting Partner
NEW YORK, New York (October 3, 2022): Urbanworld Film Festival will mark its 26th year with a strong film slate beginning with an opening night special screening of Sony Pictures and Black Label Media’s DEVOTION, directed by J.D. Dillard, and starring Jonathan Majors. Majors will serve as the festival’s official ambassador, HBO will return as a Founding Partner, and Visa, a world leader in digital payments, will serve as Presenting Partner.
“This year’s slate is incredibly impressive,” said Karen McMullen, Head of Programming. “We have some of the top artists in the industry as well as exciting new voices premiering their films at Urbanworld. It has been a privilege working alongside this organization as we move into our 26th year as a festival. We can’t wait to see everyone in person in New York City to help us celebrate our dynamic films and filmmakers,” she said.
Prestige Partner Warner Bros. Discovery will host for the Festival’s second year the Urbanworld Innovation Summit, which will convene industry experts to share insights on the evolving landscape of content creation, financing, distribution, and marketing, all through the lens of digital opportunity.
“Urbanworld has always been a leader in the connection between storytelling, technology and culture by providing an unmatched platform for world class artists, films and new media solutions —whether you’re in a creative industry or the business world,” said Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Festival Director & Chief Innovation Officer.
The Festival’s Presenting Partner, Visa, will award $50,000 in cash prizes across the festival, including a top prize of $25,000 to the winner of the Innovation Summit’s FinTech Pitch Competition, powered by Visa. It will feature best-in-class Multicultural and/or LGBTQ FinTech founders and entrepreneurs, where they’ll pitch a panel of Visa executives and noted investors for a chance to win financing toward their proposed initiative. Returning Prestige Partner Ally Financial will also offer a $5,000 prize to the winner of the festival’s Moguls in the Making Creative Producer category, as well as host a panel discussion on “The Future of Film Finance for Filmmakers and Creatives.”
The Urbanworld Innovation Summit will join this year’s five-day film festival lineup, which includes a full slate of domestic and international narrative feature-length films, documentaries, shorts, animation, experimental media, music videos, and a young creators showcase. See the full 2022 Urbanworld film lineup here: www.urbanworld.org/film-guide-2022/
In addition to the opening night screening of DEVOTION, it will screen more than 100 film entries, which includes submissions from the United Kingdom, Colombia, China, New Zealand, France, Mexico and Japan. Supporting partner Peacock is confirmed to present a special screening of creator / co-showrunner / executive producer Malcolm D. Lee’s The Best Man: The Final Chapters, followed by a conversation to celebrate the series. Urbanworld will then present Lee with the Full Circle Award for his continuous return to the festival, and most notably in premiering the original The Best Man film in 1999. Supporting partner STARZ will also host an exclusive screening of The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast, which is a limited event series that chronicles the rise and fall of Black Mafia Family founders, Demetrius “Big Meech” and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, brothers who built one of the largest cocaine empires in American history.
Past Urbanworld participating directors include Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler and Dee Rees. Tickets to this year’s festival can be purchased at www.urbanworld.org/passes.
More information on the Urbanworld Film Festival and Innovation Summit will be released on www.urbanworld.org as new developments take place.
About The Urbanworld Film Festival
The Urbanworld Film Festival was launched in 1997 by Founder Stacy Spikes, co-founder of MoviePass, founder of PreShow Interactive, and a former executive at Miramax and October Films. With estimated attendance reaching over 15,000 in-person, the five-day festival showcases narrative features, documentaries, short films, web originals, experimental, spotlight screenings and conversations, and music performances. Hollywood studios, networks and streamers, as well as established and emerging content creators, have consistently chosen Urbanworld to premiere box office hits and award-winning projects. An initiative under the Urbanworld Foundation, the Festival is supported by Founding Partner HBO, Presenting Partner Visa, Prestige Partners Ally Financial, and Warner Bros. Discovery, and Supporting Partners STARZ, Peacock, and NBCU Comcast. Visit www.urbanworld.org for more information.
DEVOTION, an aerial war epic based on the bestselling book of the same name by Adam Makos, tells the inspirational true story of two elite US Navy fighter pilots who helped turn the tide in the most brutal battle in the Korean War: Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in Navy history and his fellow fighter pilot and friend, Tom Hudner. Their heroic sacrifices and enduring friendship would ultimately make them the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen.
DEVOTION is directed by JD Dillard and written by Jake Crane & Jonathan A. H. Stewart based on the book by Adam Makos. Produced by Molly Smith, Rachel Smith, Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill. Executive Producers are JD Dillard, Glen Powell, Robert Simonds, Adam Fogelson and John Friedberg. The film also stars Glen Powell, Christina Jackson, Joe Jonas and Thomas Sadoski.
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