Urbanworld Film Festival 2019 Spotlights Contenders & More

2019 Urbanworld Film Festival

September is here, and with it comes the start of awards-heavy film festival season in New York. The 57th New York Film Festival starts next week, but first comes the 23rd annual Urbanworld Film Festival.

Last year’s Urbanworld kicked off with Night School and also had The Sentence, Jinn, and the premieres of Widows and The Hate U Give, among other films. This year brings an equally packed film slate.

Harriet still - Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman

Harriet, the long-brewing Harriet Tubman biopic, opens the festival before its November 1st release. Director Kasi Lemmons and talent Cynthia Erivo, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Debra Martin Chase, Henry Hunter Hall, Michelle Miller, and Vondie Curtis Hall will be present for a red carpet and Q&A.

The Apollo still - the theater sign

The Apollo, Roger Ross Williams’ documentary about the historic theater which premiered at Tribeca and was acquired by HBO, is also in the spotlight. Williams will also be present for a red carpet and Q&A. It will premiere on HBO on November 6th at 8 PM.

All Rise still - Kelvin Harrison Jr.

All Rise, based on Walter Dean Myers’ novel Monster, is also in the lineup, and it stars Luce‘s Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeffrey Wright, and Jennifer Hudson. It’s in theaters on November 15th.

Just Mercy still - Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan

Just Mercy, based on Bryan Stevenson’s memoir and criminal justice reform work, screens prior to its limited release on December 25th. It stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, and Stevenson will also be present for a red carpet and Q&A.

Burning Cane still - Wendell Pierce

Burning Cane, the feature debut of Phillip Youmans, premiered at Tribeca and will also be a part of the Urbanworld spotlight lineup. It stars The Wire‘s Wendell Pierce as an alcoholic preacher in a southern Protestant church and touches on some of his parishioners and the community. ARRAY has acquired it for release later this year.

Black and Blue still - Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson

Black and Blue, the latest from Deon Taylor, closes the festival. It stars Naomie Harris as a rookie cop caught up in a corruption and drug dealing fiasco who turns to a community member (Tyrese Gibson) for help. It hits theaters on October 25th.

The festival lineup also includes “If Not Now, When?”, Yellow Rose, and more documentaries and narratives. The full lineup can be found on the Urbanworld site, and we’ll be bringing you coverage of what we’ve seen in the coming days and weeks!