ImageNation Cinema Foundation’s 19th Annual ImageNation Outdoors Festival kicks off Friday August 13th thru September 18th. The month-long program which offers free film screenings and music in outdoor venues opens Friday, August the 13th at St. Nicholas Park with the New York premiere of Tony Award winning actor Tonya Pinkins’ Red Pill, an award-winning horror film with a twist. The film will be preceded by a talkback with Pinkins and cast members Adesola Osakalumi, Kathryn Erbe, Luba Mason and Jake O’Flaherty.
Those seeking a more family friendly experience can head to East River Plaza for salsa dancing and a screening of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights starring Anthony Ramos! This year’s festival will include a sidebar, the Rejoice/Resist Festival on August 29 and 30. ImageNation is also proud to be honored by Harlem Week on Saturday, August 14th at St. Nicholas Park!
In addition to In the Heights and Red Pill, This summer’s official slate includes: Marvel’s Blade Anime series, starring Harold Perrineau and Akio Ôtsuka as Blade; Safiya Songhai’s short documentary “Moses Pie” featuring Chadwick Boseman at the Schomburg Center; Raya and the Last Dragon presented by Bronx Terminal Market Films on the Rooftop; the Kids Night Out program features The Wiz and is co-presented by East River Plaza. Systeme K, Renaud Barrett’s stunning documentary about street artists in Kinshasha; Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet starring Cynthia Erivo; and Kiki, Sara Jordenö’s energetic ode to gay New York will all play on Frederick Douglass Blvd. The 2019 Academy Award-winning short film “Hair Love” by Matthew Cherry will also screen along with works by New York City-based filmmakers, including: Christine Turner’s “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business”; Sheila Prevost’s “Dust, Mask, Soul”; and “Adventures of Booga and Mommy” by Jermaine Smith will also be featured in the festival.
An online sidebar celebrating Chadwick Boseman and Cicely Tyson, co-presented by Harlem Week and Reelblack TV. The program will feature Safiya Songhai’s short films starring Boseman: “Everything”, “Moses Pie” and “Ladylike”; along with Cicely Tyson’s public domain classics: Carib Gold, The River Niger, Just an Old Sweet Song, “A Morning for Jimmy” and “No Hiding Place.” All online films can be viewed at https://www.imagenation.us/harlemweek-virtual.
A new partnership with the Rejoice/Resist Festival will feature a sidebar including a block party with an outdoor art exhibit, vendors, a panel discussion on activism, and screenings from the RIZZLE/RejoiceResist film collection on Sunday, August 29th; and on Monday August 29th Black Public Media will co-present PBS’s award winning film The Neutral Ground, a documentary about documentary about memory, monuments and America’s confederate past.
This year, ImageNation Outdoors is supported by Bronx Terminal Market’s Films on the Rooftop, East River Plaza, Black Public Media, Harlem Week, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and Rejoice/Resist Film
Festival. A host of media and outreach partners including: the Harlem News, the Positive Community, Harlemworld, Harlem 2020, Experience Harlem, Harlem OneStop, Reelblack TV, Kids Passport to Adventure and The Frederick Douglass Blvd. Alliance and more, support this community affair.
On June 24, ImageNation Outdoors presented a pre-festival celebration of Starz TV’s RUN THE WORLD written and directed by Leigh Davenport that included a Sundae Sermon block party with DJ Stormin’ Norman, vendors, and a showing of Afropop’s short film “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business”.
Launched in 2002 with a single screening for 300 people, ImageNation Outdoors has grown to draw nearly 10,000 attendees each summer. ImageNation Outdoors is the only summer long festival dedicated to films and music about the Black global experience.
“Post COVID-19, we are excited to return to a more robust outdoor season,” says ImageNation founder Moikgantsi Kgama. “This year is all about fun! We programmed a NYC indie horror premiere, anime, lots of family-friendly kids programs, and shorts from local directors. There’s something for everyone!”
Highlights over the years have included drive-in movies during COVID-19, the world’s longest Soul Train line, the 100th Anniversary of South Africa’s African National Congress in Central Park, talk backs with heralded talent such as Jesse Williams, ASAP Ferg and live performances by Talib Kweli, Goapele, Les Nubians, and more.
Masks are recommended for all participants. Social distancing is required. This policy may change as stipulated by the government. All events are free and open to the public. Please note this schedule is subject to change.