At a time when most corporations are downsizing their charitable donations to community based organizations, Ford Motor Company Fund returned as the sole sponsor of the 10th Annual NAACP Image Award Symposium with the title 'Moving Forward: The State of the Industry'.
More than 300 people including Hollywood entertainers, NAACP board members, members of the NAACP Image Awards’ committee and television academy, as well as film and television students from local colleges and universities convened in Los Angeles at the Museum of Tolerance.
With the growing influence of Black filmmakers, including an increased number of black film directors and actors starring in lead roles, as well as gripping feature films backed by moving historical pieces, the film entertainment industry set a record with box office receipts totaling $11 billion last year.
Angela H. Polk Program Manager, Community Development for Ford Motor Company Fund presented a $10,000 grant to Director Bill Duke, founder of Duke Media Foundation. “Ford is proud to be working again with the NAACP Hollywood Bureau Symposium to showcase a renaissance in black film at all levels,” said Pamela Alexander, director of community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We congratulate the award-winning Bill Duke and Duke Media Foundation for their work in developing media and financial literacy programs to prepare inner-city and gifted high school students for the new digital media age.”
The panel discussion included humanitarian, activist, director Bill Duke, Creative Artists Agency agent Cameron Mitchell, senior vice president of production for Columbia Tristar Pictures Devon Franklin, and author and producer Flo McAfee. Writer and Producer Ramsey Jay Jr served as the moderator. The discussion looked behind the curtain and discussed how the roles and characters of Blacks have evolved over the years, but also shed light on the work that still needs to be done to make certain Blacks continue to 'move forward'
From film funding and how Blacks are viewed in Hollywood to the possibility of seeing a Black woman play both the lead and love interest in a major studio film, the questions from the audience covered it all and the panel did their very best to provide answers that challenged, encouraged and inspired the aspiring film makers.
The Hollywood Bureau 10th Annual Symposium is one of many events taking place during NAACP Image Awards Week