nullCongratulations are in order for Yoruba Richen, whose feature documentary, The New Black, picked up the Audience Award for Best Feature at the AFI DOCS film festival, in Silver Spring, MD.

The film continues its awards-winning streak, as it begins its film festival circuit travels. 

The topical documentary made its World Premiere, just about 10 days ago, at the Los Angeles Film Festivalin the Documentary Competition

Here’s an official synopsis of the film:

THE NEW BLACK tells the story of how the African American community is grappling with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in light of the marriage equality movement and the fight over civil rights. We meet activists, families, and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland, a state with a 30 percent African-American population. Through this story, the film examines homophobia in the black community’s institutional pillar—the black church—and reveals the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political agenda. THE NEW BLACK takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.

Yvonne Whelbon and Angela Tucker are producers of the film that I’m sure will inspire lots of conversation after audiences see it. I’m looking forward to screening it myself, but I’m not at the LAFF this year; although Nijla Mumin is covering the festival for S&A, so look out for her review(s).

The Audience Award for Best Short went to Joshua Izenberg’s Slomo which follows John Kitchin, a doctor who traded his medical practice for rollerblades, and explores the neurological and spiritual joys of slow acceleration.

This year’s festival, which ran June 19-23, screened 53 films over the five-day event, representing 30 countries.

The festival also hosted its inaugural Public Policy Engagement Program, which connected filmmakers with influential policy makers in Congress at a Film and Politics Boot Camp.