The International Black Women’s Film Festival announces the 2014 Black Laurel Film Series at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA, for April 20July 20, and October 26, 2014

A celebration of Black women in film, the Black Laurel Film Series presents rare, under-appreciated films from fresh perspectives that re-examine the role of Black women in film through historical context, social constructs and cultural expression. The series opens with an exclusive free screening of Half Of A Yellow Sun (director Biyi Bandele) based on the best-selling book by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, and Anika Noni Rose.

The second film is a West Coast premiere of Dreams Of A Life (director Carol Morley), a docu-drama from Ireland and the U.K. and highlights the odd, mysterious death and missing person case of Joyce Vincent who died unexpectedly and remained in her North London apartment for three years until she was found –still surrounded by gifts she planned to wrap for Christmas and the television on. 

The series ends with the rare director’s cut of Bill Gunn’s classic horror film, Ganja & Hess, starring Duane Jones of Night Of The Living Dead. Riding on the wave of 1970’s Black exploitation films, producers wanted filmmaker Bill Gunn to write and direct and film with the mass popularity of Blacula. Instead, Bill Gunn wrote one of the most fantastical, hallucinatory films that likened vampirism to addiction and power. Studios snatched the film from him and cut it up into a horribly unrecognizable film that flopped in theaters. The version being shown is the rare original, director’s cut that’s been restored and re-mastered by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The series is sponsored by and a precursor to the 12th International Black Women’s Film Festival on December 6th & 7th, 2014. More info online at:

All film series screenings will occur at the New Parkway Theater at 474 24th Street, Oakland, CA, 94612.