‘Devotion’ to Open 2022 Urbanworld Film Festival, Full Slate Announced (EXCLUSIVE)

“Devotion,” a drama about a group of elite fighter pilots during the Korean War, will screen at the opening night of the Urbanworld Film Festival.

The Sony Pictures and Black Label Media production was directed by J.D. Dillard and stars Jonathan Majors, who will serve as the festival’s official ambassador. HBO will return as a founding partner of the Urbanworld Film Festival, and Visa will serve as presenting partner. The festival will take place from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30.

“This year’s slate is incredibly impressive,” said Karen McMullen, head of programming. “We have some of the top artists in the industry as well as exciting new voices premiering their films at Urbanworld. It has been a privilege working alongside this organization as we move into our 26th year as a festival. We can’t wait to see everyone in person in New York City to help us celebrate our dynamic films and filmmakers.”

In addition to the opening night screening of “Devotion,” the festival will screen more than 100 film entries, which includes submissions from the United Kingdom, Colombia, China, New Zealand, France, Mexico and Japan. Among the notable films and series, supporting partner Peacock will present a special screening of Malcolm D. Lee’s “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” followed by a conversation with Lee, co-showrunner and executive producer Dayna Lynne North and cast members Nia Long and Morris Chestnut. Urbanworld will then present Lee with the Full Circle Award for his continuous return to the festival, where he premiered the original “The Best Man” film in 1999. Supporting partner Starz will also host an exclusive screening of “The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast,” which is a limited event series that chronicles the rise and fall of Black Mafia Family founders Demetrius “Big Meech” and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, brothers who built a cocaine empire.

But the festival is about more than movies and shows. Prestige Partner Warner Bros. Discovery will host for the Festival’s second year the Urbanworld Innovation Summit, which will convene industry experts to share insights on how content creation, financing, distribution and marketing has changed with the explosion of digital platforms.

“Urbanworld has always been a leader in the connection between storytelling, technology and culture by providing an unmatched platform for world class artists, films and new media solutions — whether you’re in a creative industry or the business world,” said Sharese Bullock-Bailey, festival director and chief innovation officer. 

Visa, will award $50,000 in cash prizes across the festival, including a top prize of $25,000 to the winner of the Innovation Summit’s FinTech Pitch Competition, powered by Visa. It will feature multicultural and LGBTQ FinTech founders and entrepreneurs, who will pitch a panel of Visa executives and noted investors for a chance to win financing toward their proposed initiative. Returning Prestige Partner Ally Financial will also offer a $5,000 prize to the winner of the festival’s “Moguls in the Making Creative Producer” category, as well as host a panel discussion on “The Future of Film Finance for Filmmakers and Creatives.” 

The Urbanworld Innovation Summit will join this year’s five-day film festival lineup, which includes a full slate of domestic and international narrative feature-length films, documentaries, shorts, animation, experimental media, music videos and a young creators showcase.

Click here for a full list of programming.

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