African American Film Festival of The Quad Cities
Azubuike African American Council for the Arts has launched the inaugural year of Pulling Focus Film Festival, an annual celebration of local film and culture that focuses on enriching the lives of Quad Cities residents by presenting unique film-watching experiences framed through the lens of African American and Black Diasporic voices. After several years of holding the Urban Exposure Independent Film Project Summer Film Program, which teaches filmmaking to underrepresented and at-risk young people in our community, Azubuike has identified the need for a regional film festival that celebrates and promotes Black filmmakers. In response, we have established the Pulling Focus African American Film Festival of the Quad Cities. The Festival will be held annually during the first weekend in June in honor of the Juneteenth federal holiday to commemorate and celebrate, in our region, the struggles and triumphs of the Black Diaspora.
About The Festival.
The Pulling Focus African American Film Festival of the Quad Cities counted 2023 as its inaugural year. The line-up of screening events and panel discussion events began with screening Block 1 and the opening ceremony/filmmaker meet & greet on June 16th at the TMBC Lincoln Center complex in Davenport, a historically Black community venue. The festival program ran from June 16-18, 2023, and featured short films created by local, regional, national, and international filmmakers representing the Black Diaspora. The festival also had an "Out-of-Competition" Showcase. Films screened throughout the weekend at the TMBC Lincoln Center, Figge, and Putnam Museums. The Festival closed on June 18th with an awards ceremony for the filmmakers whose work was recognized with distinction by Pulling Focus Film Festival audiences and organizers. We look forward to 2024, and we hope you will join us!
A Special Thanks to Our Funders, Supporters & Community Partners.
Dear Funders, Supporters, and Community Partners,
We are delighted to extend our deepest gratitude to every one of you for your unwavering support and dedication to the success of the Pulling Focus African American Film Festival of The Quad Cities. It is with immense pleasure that we announce the remarkable conclusion of our first annual Film Festival, and we owe its success entirely to your faith and unwavering support of Azubuike Arts.
The films showcased at the festival were carefully curated by our festival founders and carefully evaluated by our community judges. As a result, our community was given a profound and meaningful glimpse into the diverse tapestry of the Black experience, both regionally and globally. It was a true stroke of fortune to also receive submissions from talented filmmakers across the global Black diaspora, which sparked a vibrant dialogue and connection here in the Quad Cities.
Throughout the festival, we witnessed firsthand the power of cinema in bridging the gaps between communities. As we immersed ourselves in stories from different corners of the world, it became clear that our commonalities far outweigh our differences regardless of where we live or the languages we speak. This eye-opening and unifying experience solidified our commitment to fostering understanding, empathy, and shared aspirations within our community.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to every community member who graced us with their presence at the festival. Your support and enthusiasm were the lifeblood of this event, infusing it with a sense of shared purpose and excitement. Your attendance demonstrated a commitment to celebrating diversity and amplifying underrepresented voices, which is a testament to the spirit of our community.
We wholeheartedly encourage you to mark your calendars for next year's Pulling Focus African American Film Festival. We ask you to invite your families, friends, and neighbors to join us on this remarkable journey. Together, we can continue strengthening our community's bonds, promoting inclusivity, and creating a space where diverse perspectives can thrive.
Once again, we extend our heartfelt thanks to our incredible funders, supporters, and community partners. Please note none of this would have been possible without your generous contributions, tireless efforts, and steadfast belief in our mission. Together, we have ignited a powerful spark that will continue illuminating the path toward a more inclusive and equitable future.
Gaye Shannon Burnett
Founder & Director
Pulling Focus African American Film Festival of The Quad Cities