The International Faith & Family Film Festival (IFFFF) returns for an anticipated three day run during this year's MegaFest at the Omni Dallas Hotel from June 28 - July 1. Founded by Bishop T.D. Jakes, the event will afford aspiring faith-based creatives a chance to network with Hollywood's leading screenwriters, actors, directors, producers, and executives. The festival's primary mission is to educate and empower attendees to successfully navigate the entertainment industry so they can bring their dreams and projects to fruition.
MegaFest powered by PepsiCo is the biennial festival supported by a robust cadre of Hollywood networks and studios that include ABC, 21st Century Fox, SONY Pictures, OWN, BET, CBS, Pureflix, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Silver Lining Entertainment offers dynamic breakout sessions, interactive panel discussions, insightful master classes and exclusive film screenings promoting TV, documentaries, theater and new media. The event will draw A-list celebrities, Emmy-winning producers and other Hollywood influencers, and will be led by Kevin Frazier (Entertainment Tonight anchor and correspondent),Debra Langford (veteran media executive), DeVon Franklin (award-winning film and television producer, New York Times best-selling author, preacher and motivational speaker), Adriane Hopper-Williams (Emmy Award-winning television producer and the co-owner of EnLight Productions, Inc.), Tanika Ray(entertainment journalist), Pia Catton (former culture editor for The Wall Street Journal), Dondre Whitfield (star of "Queen Sugar" on OWN), Bre Scullark("America's Next Top Model," Cycle 5), and Robert Townsend (actor, writer, director, producer, "Hollywood Shuffle").
"We're bringing Hollywood to Dallas with some of the world's leading experts, legends, and household names with practical sessions and top films that bring a message of inspiration," said Bishop T.D. Jakes. "This event is an opportunity to be informed, and to make invaluable industry connections."
New to the festival in 2017, IFFFF will host a "LEGENDS Awards" invitation only luncheon that will recognize a Hollywood legend that has been victorious, purposeful, and incredibly impactful in their career and in the industry. This year's recipient of the LEGENDS Award is award-winning actress, advocate and humanitarian, Cicely Tyson.
Other additions include breakout sessions in financing, producing, TV/film scriptwriting, marketing and directing, such as:
- IFFFF Fish Tank - a la "Shark Tank," this year, IFFFF has created its very own showcase for your ideas to shine. During this session, bring your best pitch for a film or TV project to industry experts who will serve as judges. All ideas are welcome in the areas of scripted, unscripted, reality, and feature.
- Leading Men in Hollywood -session features some of Hollywood's hottest leading men and their perspectives on the industry. Confirmed presenters include-Brian White, Laz Alonso, Romeo Miller, Malik Yoba and Richard T. Jones.
- Women In Hollywood - Women in Hollywood continue to make great strides in all aspects of the business. Hear from A-list actresses and network studio executives who are kicking down the glass ceiling! Confirmed presenters include-Robi Reed, Connie Orlando, Edwina Dickerson, Angela Simmons, Sarah Poage, and Kim Fields.
- Next Generation of Filmmakers: IFFFF Short Film Showcase - IFFFF is proud to support the next generation of filmmakers with our short film showcase. See short films from around the world and meet the artists who have successfully brought their visions to fruition.
- Tasha Smith's Actors Workshop (back by popular demand) -with the great success of this workshop in 2015, learn from award-winning Actress Tasha Smith about character, motivation, and development to scene blocking and improvisation. No matter if you havebeen acting for years or just days, there is always room for improvement. In this session, you will receive valuable insider information while elevating your skills for your next big role!
"It's a great moment for us all to bring meaningful stories to the screen at MegaFest through the IFFFF, which is a real passion of TDJE," states Derrick Williams, Executive VP of TD Jakes Films & Ent. "The films this year not only showcase the finest creative talent across various faiths and industries, but share a common purpose: to inspire, uplift and ultimately positively impact the human experience. We are proud of the diverse slate of films this year, in addition to offering high-level educational empowerment sessions, for attendees to learn from the best. Year after year, the IFFFF continues to grow and provide an inspiring and collaborative atmosphere for Hollywood's most notable actors, producers, directors and professionals."
In addition to featuring keynote speakers and discussions, the IFFFF will host screenings of prominent films including the 2017 festival sponsor, "A Question of Faith" starring Richard T. Jones, Kim Fields, C. Thomas Howell, T.C. Stallings, Jaci Velasquez, Renee O'Connor and Greg Alan Williams. Additional showings include "Same Kind of Different As Me" (starring Greg Kinnear, Djimon Hounsou, Renée Zellweger), "The Case For Christ" (starring Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway, Robert Forster), "The Real MVP" (based on the real life of Wanda Durant, mother of NBA All-Star, Kevin Durant), "MULLY"(documentary), "Distortion" (narrative), "Making History: Uncovering the Untold Stories of African American Women" (short documentary),"Step"(documentary), "Distortion" (narrative short), and the intense drama (short) "Harlem Blues" written and directed by a USC MFA film directing student.
This year's speakers and panelists include experts in all areas of film making, producing and marketing, such as:
§ Blair Underwood (award-winning actor)
§ Cicely Tyson (actress/advocate/humanitarian & IFFFF Legends Award recipient)
§ Connie Orlando (head of original programming and production at BET)
§ Darrell D. Miller (chair of the entertainment law dept. and managing partner of Fox Rothschild)
§ Derek Folk (president, Williams Tax & Financial Group, Inc.)
§ Evette Vargas (co-founder of Digital-Reign)
§ Gil L. Robertson IV (president, African American Film Critics)
§ Jackie Folk (CEO, Williams Tax & Financial Group, Inc.)
§ Lateef A. Sarnor (CEO and founder, Kollide TV)
§ Lee Strobel (author of "The Case for Christ")
§ Leshawnda Larkin (senior manager, Samsung Electronics)
§ Lesley Burbridge (executive VP, Rogers & Cowan)
§ L. Scott Caldwell (award-winning actress)
§ Margena A. Christian ED.D ( lecturer / journalist / editor)
§ Matthew Faraci (president, Inspire Buzz)
§ Monique Coleman (actress, "High School Musical")
§ Neema Barnette (director & producer)
§ Ri-Karlo Handy (senior VP of original programming, Bounce TV)
§ Robi Reed (casting director and producer)
§ Santiago Pozo (founder & CEO, Arenas)
§ Shawn Edwards (journalist/ pop culture guru)
§ Tasha Smith (acclaimed actress/ comedian/ model)
§ Teddy Zee (film producer, media & technology executive)
§ Will Campbell (CEO, Quantasy)
All registered MegaFest attendees are permitted entry into IFFFF. Tickets for the IFFFF are $99 and can be purchased online. For a complete list of scheduled events for the film festival, please visit http://www.mega-fest.org/faithandfamily/#schedule.
Since its inception in 2004, MegaFest has been a meeting place for diverse audiences from Atlanta, Ga., to Johannesburg, South Africa, and has reached nearly 1 million people. Visit www.mega-fest.org for more confirmed talent and special event updates, and stay connected via Twitter by following @tdjmegafest, @wtalconf, @wtalmovement and @mpconf. This year's list of events includes Woman Thou Art Loosed (#WTAL17), ManPower, International Faith & Family Film Festival (#IFFFF17), A Time To Laugh Comedy Show, ALIVE Dance/Mime Conference, MegaYouth presents Fire Code, and MegaKidz presents Destiny World. General admission tickets for all events can be purchased by visiting www.mega-fest.org. (#MegaFest17)
About Bishop T.D. Jakes
Bishop T. D. Jakes is the charismatic founder and senior pastor of The Potter's House, a global humanitarian organization and 30,000-member church located in Dallas. Named "America's Best Preacher" by "TIME Magazine," Jakes' voice reverberates globally through extensive charitable works and an empire that spans film, television, radio, best-selling books and conference series. Bishop Jakes made his presence felt in Hollywood with the release of "Jumping the Broom," an award-winning romantic comedy that debuted as the #1 comedy and grossed nearly seven times its budget in 2011 and "Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day," released in 2012. Celebrating more than 30 years of marriage, Thomas Dexter and wife Serita Jakes are parents to five children and three grandchildren.