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Roxbury International Film Festival at MFA

Stephanie Millions

As an urban millennial living in the city of Boston it can be difficult to find events or activities that match your interest or lifestyle especially if you are not a party goer. Fortunately, with the help of social media, I have been finding more events to attend and I find myself discovering gems right here, in my own backyard.

One of the many events I attend was the 18th annual Roxbury International Film Festival which took place at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and Haley House Bakery Cafe from June 22 to July 1st. RIFF showcases works by, for and about people of color and has become the largest festival in New England dedicated to this genre. Their websites states “You do not have to be of color to participate in the festival but your work must in some way celebrate more diverse images of people of color around the world. The festival screened 54 films over 10 days and many of the filmmakers were in attendance to do Q & A. The after parties at Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen (DCBK), Slades Bar & Grille, Rooftop at the Revere Hotel and Suya Joint in Roxbury provided great opportunities to talk with filmmakers and festival goers. The Festival also hosted a pitching workshop at Dudley Café where 3 local budding filmmakers won classes at Grub Street, one of the nation’s leading creative writing centers. Their websites states “You do not have to be of color to participate in the festival but your work must include  a multicultural cast, theme or production team. Our goal is to  screen films that show more diverse images of people around the world”.

One of the films I had to the pleasure of attending: “A Girl Like Grace” (94 min) by Jacquin DeLeon. It followed the life of a bullied 17-year-old (Ryan Destiny), raised by her single mother (Garcelle Beauvais), who seeks guidance from the sister of Ryan’s best friend (Meagan Good) Carnetta Jones, one of the film’s producers was in from Los Angeles to handle the Q&A.

If you are like me, you don’t really watch much TV because there aren’t enough shows that represent black life or black stories where I feel represented. It is one of the one of the problems with the mainstream media today,that is there are not enough positive black narratives. At a time when there is so much discontent and negative imagery RIFF provides films that tell diverse stories from our perspective about people and communities all over the world. 

I attended this event because it’s important to support films that push a different black narrative from what we see in mainstream media, films that educate, inspire and entertain you are key to uplifting a community. RIFF was a great opportunity for audiences to view these stories.

If you would like to learn more about the festival and their upcoming events please visit www.roxburyinternationalfilmfestival.com .

Meet Stephanie Millions — our new In the Mix reporter. Millions is passionate about media and works on many platforms. She anchors a morning motivational talk show called “Elevation with Stephanie Millions” on the Gag Order Network, and also hosts “The Secret Spot” every Monday night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on WERS 88.9 FM. For more information, please visit www.stephaniemillions.com or email stephanie.millions@gmail.com to have her cover your event. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @StephMillions.