Virtual Festival Runs September 23-27, 2020 on


Ava DuVernay, David Oyelewo, Rosario Dawson, Lena Waithe, Justin Simien,

Luis A. Miranda, Jr., Nia DaCosta, Teyonah Parris, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Alana Mayo,

Kelly Rowland, Robert Townsend, Alice Smith, Radha Blank, David E. Talbert,

Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Many More Confirmed To Appear


The 24th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival along with founding partner HBO and prestige partner WarnerMedia, announced its 2020 virtual festival slate today.  The slate of over 100 official selections panels and conversations will all be seen online at from Wednesday, September 23 through Sunday, September 27, 2020.

“In an unimaginable year of change, we remain inspired by the creativity, culture and community that prevail in this brave new virtual world.   Powerful storytelling is now more important than ever and Urbanworld is proud to be a consistent platform that brings Black, Indigenous and people of color storytellers and audiences together from across the globe,” said Gabrielle Glore, Festival Director & Head of Programming, Urbanworld Film Festival. 

Some of the spotlights and conversations of the festival include:

David Oyelowo’s feature directorial debut, The Water Man, will open the festival on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:30 P.M.  Oyelowo also stars in the fantasy-adventure film that follows a boy who sets out on a quest to save his ill mother by searching for a mythic figure said to have magical healing powers.  A conversation with Oyelowo, Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis and Amiah Miller moderated by the Emmy Award winning Ava DuVernay will immediately follow the screening, as well as a special music performance by Grammy® nominated Alice Smith.

On Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6:00 P.M., there will be a conversation around HBO’s Siempre, Luis, a portrait of the pioneering activist Luis A. Miranda Jr.  Miranda is a decades-long fighter for Latino communities, a key player in the New York and national political arena and a loving father of three – including the award-winning composer, lyricist and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The discussion will include clips from the film and panelists, director John James and Miranda.  It will be moderated by journalist Julio Ricardo Varela.

Hulu’s Bad Hair will screen on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 8:00 P.M.  The horror satire set in 1989, follows an ambitious young woman who gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career comes at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own.  A conversation about the making of the film with writer/director Justin Simien, Lena Waithe, Elle Lorraine and Kelly Rowland moderated by influencer/entrepreneur Tahira Joy will follow.

In an industry historically led and validated by white men, the dearth of executives possessing the authority to usher in BIPOC storytellers is pronounced.  The Hollywood system’s imbalance of power prevails, but fearless women are stepping into spaces that empower them to lead transformation.  MoCADA’s Amy Andrieux will have a one-on-one conversation with Alana Mayo, President of Orion Pictures on Friday, September 25, 2020 at 6:00 P.M to discuss how this next chapter change agent is impacting how content is created and how deals get done.

Candyman director/co-writer Nia DaCostaTeyonah Parris and Vanessa Williams will appear at the festival on Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:00 P.M. for an intimate conversation around the contemporary incarnation of the cult classic. Moderated by journalist, Kelley L. Carter, the four ladies will offer a sneak peek and discuss what audiences can expect with the upcoming film that Universal Pictures presents from Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld’s Monkeypaw Productions, in association with BRON Creative.

Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:00 P.M. will feature a spotlight on Peacock’s Noughts & Crosses, the provocative series that reimagines an alternate universe in which Africa colonized Europe and the racial power structure, as we know it, is turned upside down.  Series stars Masali Baduza and Paterson Joseph will discuss the series with award-winning journalist Isha Sesay.

AMC Networks’ rapid-fire 3-part presentation highlighting its forthcoming television series’ that will debut this fall will happen on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 4:00 P.M.  The Root’s Danielle Belton will serve as the thread across these conversations that will feature cast and filmmakers from the shows.  From Gangs of London, executive producer/director Corin HardyṢọpẹ Dìrísù and Paapa Essiedu.  From SoulmatesShamier Anderson, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Georgina Campbell and from The Walking Dead: World Beyond, executive producer and showrunner Matt NegreteAlexa Mansour and Aliyah Royale.

Desperate for a breakthrough as she nears the big 4-0, struggling New York City playwright Radha finds inspiration by reinventing herself as a rapper in Netflix’s The Forty-Year-Old Version, the directorial debut of actor/writer/director/producer Radha Blank.  The filmmaker will discuss the film on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 6:00 P.M in a conversation led by writer/director Robert Townsend.

 A screening and conversation about HBO Max’s Charm City Kings will debut on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 7:30 P.M as director Angel Manuel Soto, producer Caleeb Pinkett and stars Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Will Catlett unpack the heart and soul of the film.  Inspired by the critically acclaimed 2013 documentary 12 O’Clock Boys, this narrative adaptation shares a coming of age story, wrapped around Baltimore’s infamous dirt bike community and brings a revered city tradition to audiences, punctuating similarity to marginalized cities around the country.

In 1997, Urbanworld’s inaugural year, writer/director/producer David E. Talbert won Best Dramatic Feature for his film A Woman Like That.  In 2013, he returned to open the festival with Baggage Claim.  On Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 1:00 P.M. Talbert and his wife/producing partner, Lyn Sisson-Talbert, share their journey in the industry with a look ahead to the transcendent content they have on the horizon, including the upcoming Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Netflix’s first original live-action musical. Tre’vell Anderson will moderate and celebrate the legacy of this Urbanworld alumni.

Come Away will close the virtual festival on Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 3:00 P.M. The film imagines a world before Peter became Pan and Alice visited Wonderland, and stars David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie. The screening will be followed by a conversation, moderated by Urbanworld Film Festival Founder Stacy Spikes, with Oyelowo and Alice herself, actress Kiera Chansa.

Urbanworld’s Founding partner HBO is joined by key supporters including WarnerMedia as Prestige partner and Amazon Studios, BET Networks and 150 as Premiere partners.  Supporting partners include Netflix, Hulu, NBCUniversal, AMC Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Peacock.  Industry partners include ARRAY, MPA, The Writer’s Guild East, Africa Creative Agency, Vimeo and PreShow., Essence, Essence Studios and iHeart Media’s Power 105.1 are media partners.

All access passes, day passes and tickets for opening night are on sale now at  Follow @UrbanworldFF on instagram and Twitter and use #Urbanworld20 to join the conversation about the festival on social media.


*As of 09.17.20*


The Water Man – Directed by David Oyelowo (Presented by Harpo Films & ShivHans Pictures)


Come Away – Directed by Brenda Chapman



Bad Hair – Directed by Justin Simien (Presented by Hulu)

Candyman – Directed by Nia DaCosta (Presented by Universal Pictures)

Charm City Kings – Directed by Angel Manuel Soto (Presented by HBO Max)

Gangs of London, Soul Mates & Walking Dead: World Beyond (Presented by AMC Networks)

Noughts & Crosses – Directed by Julian Homes & Koby Adom (Presented by Peacock)

Siempre, Luis – Directed by John James (Presented by HBO)

The Forty-Year-Old Version – Directed by Radha Blank (Presented by Netflix)



A New York Christmas Wedding – Directed by Otoja Abit

A Shot Through The Wall – Directed by Aimee Long

American Thief – Directed by Miguel Silveira

Farewell Amor – Directed by Ekwa Msangi

Millennium Bugs – Directed by Alejandro Montoya Marin

Paradise City – Directed by John Marco Lopez (World Premiere)

Playing With Beethoven – Directed by Jenn Page

Take Out Girl – Directed by Hisonni Mustafa

The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain – Directed by David Midell

Waikiki – Directed by Christopher Kahunahana (World Premiere)



A Rose Between Thorns – Directed by Nigel Lewis (Saint Kitts and Nevis)

Barakat – Directed by Amy Jephta (South Africa)

Death of Nintendo – Directed by Raya Martin (Philippines/U.S.A.)

Hoy – Directed by Ricardo B’atz’ (El Salvador) (World Premiere)

Kings of Mulberry Street – Directed by Judy Naidoo (South Africa)

Lily Of The Valley – Directed by Giovanni Rustanto (Indonesia)

Malpaso – Directed by Héctor Valdez (Dominican Republic)

Number 37 – Directed by Nosipho Dumisa (South Africa)

SALVATION – Directed by Carmen Sangion (South Africa)



Alice Street – Directed by Spencer Wilkinson

Dark City Beneath the Beat – Directed by TT The Artist

THE DONUT KING – Directed by Alice Gu.

Zulu Man In Japan – Directed by Colin Gayle, Nhlakanipho Teddy Mkhize (South Africa) (World Premiere)



Artist, Act Of Love – Directed by Kuukua Eshun (Ghana)

Graduation – Directed by Robin Wang (World Premiere)

Limelight – Directed by Claire Gostin (World Premiere)

NAHJUM – Directed by Sebastian Torres Greene, Manuel Del Valle (Mexico)

On The Whistle – Directed by TJ Noel-Sullivan

Remember When – Directed by Paola Ossa

Since Ambreen – Directed by Alexandre Ayoub (France) (World Premiere)

The Other Side – Directed by Josh Leong (Ethiopia)



410 Stamped – Directed by Nikki Taylor Roberts

4Melvin – Directed by McCristol Harris III, Du’ana Speights (World Premiere)

A BLOSSOM IN THE NIGHT  – Directed by Tayo Amos (World Premiere)

A Storybook Ending – Directed by Lanre Olabisi

American Dream – Directed by  Nicolas Polixene, Sylvain Loubet dit Gajol (France)

Baldwin Beauty – Directed by Thembi Banks

Beef  – Directed by Ingride Santos (Spain)

Bill & Robert – Directed by Kamaria J. Hodge

Black – Directed by Tamika R. Guishard (World Premiere)

Broken Bird – Directed by Rachel Harrison Gordon

clarissa  – Directed by Shanrica Evans (World Premiere)

Crutch-Tap – Directed by Michael Basha

Da Yie – Directed by Anthony Nti (Ghana/Belgium)

Dark Skin – Directed by Iñaki Velasquez (Chile)(World Premiere)

Down Dog  – Directed by Shae Xu

Driving While Black Magic – Directed by Julia C Liu

Eagle – Directed by Jose Acevedo

elephant  – Directed by Gladys San Juan (United Kingdom)

Estilo Americano  – Directed by Miriam Kruishoop

For Rosa – Directed by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone (World Premiere)

Gets Good Light – Directed by Alejandra Parody (World Premiere)

Great America – Directed by Angelita Mendoza  (World Premiere)

Harana  – Directed by Marie Jamora (Philippines/U.S.A.)

Heading South – Directed by Yuan Yuan (China/U.S.A.)

Headlock  – Directed by Damon Laguna

Home by 8.30 – Directed by Perry White (United Kingdom)

How Can I Forget  – Directed by Natalia Andreadis (United Kingdom)

KEON – Directed by E.G. Bailey

Leave Us Here – Directed by Tari Wariebi (World Premiere)

Miss Boundless – Directed by Qiyu Zhou

Oh Geno! – Directed by Onyinye Egenti (United Kingdom)

PHONY – Directed by Jessica dela Merced

Princess Cut – Directed by Elaine Del Valle

Rosa – Directed by Suha Araj

Soukoon – Directed by Farah Shaer (Lebanon)

tender – Directed by Felicia Pride

The Price of Cheap Rent – Directed by Amina Sutton, Maya Tanaka

Through the Wire – Directed by umi (World Premiere)

What the Wind Carries – Directed by Trey Ellis, Chris Chuang

White Eye – Directed by Tomer Shushan (Israel)

YALLA – Directed by Carlo D’Ursi (Spain/Italy) (World Premiere)

YOUR KID – Directed by Nelson Foix (France)



Dwayne’s World  – Directed by Geno Dimaria (World Premiere)

I’m Not Bad Luck (The True Story of Kesz Valdez) – Directed by Marcos Negrão, Johanna Schnell (Brazil/U.S.A.) (World Premiere)

Landry – Directed by Meeto Worre Kronborg Grevsen (Denmark)

My Father The Mover – Directed by Julia Jansch (South Africa)

Out of the Shadows – Directed by Rafael Samanez

The Heart Still Hums – Directed by Savanah Leaf, Taylor Russell



About Her – Directed by Wagner Cinelli (Brazil)(World Premiere)

Migrante – Directed by Esteban Ezequiel Dalinger, César Daniel Iezzi (Argentina)

The Power of Hope  – Directed by Kalia Love Jones (World Premiere)

Umbrella  – Directed by Helena Hilario, Mario Pece (Brazil)

Windup – Directed by Yibing Jiang



East of La Brea – Directed by Sam Bailey

EKLYPSE: A Hip Hop Fable – Directed by Eden Marryshow (World Premiere)

MANILENNIALS – Directed by E del Mundo

Sasha & Condi – Directed by Lucretia Stinnette

Sole Kings – Directed by Michael Pinckney



Black Pumas Colors – Directed by Kristian Mercado

Crónico – Directed by Claudia Calderón (Puerto Rico)

Healing Creek  – Directed by Kevin Brooks

James Arthur feat. Travis Barker – You – Directed by Timon Birkhofer (Germany)

NEVA GO TOUCH AM – Directed by JOJO ABOT (World Premiere)

Princess Nokia “Green Eggs and Ham” – Directed by Sebastian Sdaigui

Rapsody feat. Leikeli47 – “Oprah” – Directed by Farah X

Suzanna – Directed by Director K (Kenya) (World Premiere)

Terrace Martin – Pig Feet (feat. Denzel Curry, Kamasi Washington, G Perico, & Daylyt) – Directed by Terrace Martin, Jasper Graham, Brendan Walter



Cinnamon – Written By Bryian K. Montgomery Jr.

Ellie’s Tale – Written By Rhonda Deskins

How To Catch A Unicorn – Written By Chad Quinn

If You Seek Britney – Written By Ama Quao