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Power of James Byrd Documentary Stirs Festival in D.C.
Texas Filmmaker Optimistic His Vision Succeeding to Create Greater Dialog on Race
Beaumont - A Texas filmmaker's documentary will be one of the main attractions at the Washington D.C. Independent Film Festival.
Byrd: The Life and Death of James Byrd Jr., a 2008 film by Ricky Eligah Jason will be shown in the Union Station Scenic Theatre on Saturday, March 7 at 4:45 p.m.
"I really like this film,' said DCIFF Executive Director Carol Bidault. "The film presents a powerful story with a stirring message and it is our hope that we can get the message about this film to as many people as possible."
The Washington DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF) is an award winning annual festival showcasing the best independent films from around the world.
The 11th annual festival goes from Mar. 4 to March 15 and will feature Jason's film with 84 others titles.
Genres for the festival include educations, African-American, Black, Christian, gay/Lesbian, Hispanic, Latino, Women, Crime, Senior/Aging, Youth/Teen, Mature/Adult and Action and Adventure.
During the festival, Master Classes, Seminars and Workshops conducted by industry professionals combine with a simultaneous Music Festival to provide additional entertainment. And, unique to DCIFF, an annual Advocacy Forum brings together filmmakers and lawmakers to discuss matters of interest to the industry.
In 1998, in Jasper, Texas, James Byrd, Jr. was walking home. Three white men picked him up and then dragged him with a truck to his death.
The documentary on Byrd goes to heart of the man and his unselfish contributions to his family, community and people.
"This film is a labor of love we feel will have a positive effect on all who see it," Jason said. "We want people to see it, remember it and I hope that by witnessing it and getting to really know the man (Byrd) will be a life changing experience."
Jason spent most of his childhood, legally blind, in darkness and with most of the world shut off from him.
With the help of world-renowned surgeon, Dr. Richard Levacy, his sight was completely restored after five corneal transplants.
With a renewed lease on his life, Ricky vowed to dedicate a portion of his life, his time, and his finances to the recognition to persons who make outstanding achievements, contribute to bettering the lives of their fellow man, and fighting for injustices everywhere.
"You can tell he cares about this subject because he unveils another side to this issue no one could see and that takes a lot of talent," Bidault said. "It is a film that does not sweep racism under the rug. It challenges us to stop being coward and deal with the issue. It also opens the way for positive discussions and at this film festival provides an open opportunity for honest dialog that can move us forward
The Beaumont native has made his mark on the world as a multi-talented singer, dancer, and recording artist. He has appeared on stages with the likes of Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, the Force MD's, New Edition, Ready for the World, Roger Troutman and ZAPP, the Gap Brand, Whoudini, Run DMC, and Baby Gap.
Jason has been featured in magazines, such as a Word Up, Right On, and Rap Masters, and appeared on several television specials, including PM Magazine, hosted by Leeza Gibbons.
He also has released three full-length CD compilations, featuring a number one hit, "Show and Tell" and "Love, Peace, and Harmony".
As an activist, Ricky has been involved with other activists, such as Dick Gregory, Ossie Davis, Pam Africa, Sister Helen Prejean, Susan Sarandon, and the Byrd family, perusing justice and peace through education, song, and peaceful protest.
After the film shows, it will be followed by a two-hour question and answer discussion on the film.
The film could come out the festival with several awards.
The DCIFF is a non-profit organization of volunteers serving the Capital area since 1999.Washington DC Independent Film Festival 3222 N Street, NW, Ste. 300 Washington, DC 20007 Phone:(202) 333-6615 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org