Oakland Community gets elevated watching powerful films

Father and son get ready for KOO Film Festival

2/23/24 Oakland – Kingmakers of Oakland proudly hosted its inaugural KOO Film Festival at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland on February 23rd. The festival was a celebration of Black excellence and storytelling to showcase the diversity of powerful asset-based Black narratives to honor Black History Month.

The community theater set the perfect stage for an evening dedicated to elevating Black stories, voices, and perspectives. As attendees entered, they were greeted with complimentary food and drinks, fostering a sense of camaraderie and community, and reinforcing the bonds that make Kingmakers a hub for creativity and collaboration.

KOO Krew performs at the Film FestivalBefore watching the captivating films, the audience was treated to live performances. The stage opened with spoken word youth poets from the KOO Open Mic series. Afterwards, KOO Krew blazed the stage performing three of their impressive high-energy songs. This emphasizes our commitment to providing a platform for the Black youth to express themselves authentically. 

Kingmakers’ CEO, Chris Chatmon, reminded everyone of the organization’s ethos – centering Black youth and encouraging them to “take their crowns out their pockets and rock’it’.” The blend of live performances and short films seamlessly demonstrated the organization’s commitment to being both a high-level production house and a champion for Black youth empowerment.

The audience had their hands up feeling the vibe at the KOO Film FestivalThe diverse film entries offered a glimpse into the multifaceted work of Kingmakers. while touching the emotions of the audience. The ‘Portraits of a King’ series pulled on audience heart strings, by highlighting the transformative impact of Kingmakers in schools. These short films featuring King Andrew and King Trevon, from San Francisco and Seattle respectively. These stories illustrated how Kingmakers’ educational capacity-building initiatives bring out the innate greatness within each King they touch.

They provided an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the creation of award-winning animation music films “I’m a King” and “Glisten.” These films were winners of the 2023 Afro Comicon Film Festival in December. These accolades are a testament to Kingmakers’ partnership with Black Native, a production house in South Africa, that shares a vision of uplifting narratives around Black empowerment.

As attendees reveled in the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of the festival, it felt like a collective gathering of family and friends for a movie night. Couches and coffee tables replaced traditional cinema seats, creating a home-like ambiance that encouraged Kings and Queens from diverse backgrounds to connect and engage with the powerful narratives presented by Kingmakers.

The KOO Black History Month Film Festival marks the beginning of Kingmakers’ journey in reshaping narratives around Black boys. It served as a powerful catalyst for uplifting their dreams, amplifying their voices, and unlocking their inherent power.

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