Black Media Story Summit

Houston, TX – Black Public Media, the Houston Cinema Arts Society, and the Austin Film Society are pleased to announce the co-presentation of the Black Media Story Summit Texas during the 11th annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival on Monday, November 18.

What: Black Media Story Summit Texas
Where: The DeLuxe Theater, 3303 Lyons Avenue, Houston, TX 77020
When: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 18, 2019
Who: Invite-Only
Questions? Please contact Gregory Warren, gregory@blackpublicmedia.org

BMSS Texas – BPM’s third regional summit – will bring together 100 guests, including filmmakers/content creators of color, foundations, tech, distributors, and social justice leaders for a day of collaboration and discussion about new strategies designed to support diverse black stories — from development through distribution. The Texas summit is one of several that Black Public Media will co-host in locations across the country during its 40th anniversary year. These events continue the conversation started at the inaugural Black Media Story Summit in 2018 and aim to galvanize local efforts to amplify black stories.

“This is a critical time for us to work together to ensure that nuanced black stories are increasingly being told and seen,” noted Leslie Fields-Cruz, Executive Director of Black Public Media (BPM), previously known as the National Black Programming Consortium. “It is important that we support black content creators in Texas and across the country so that their stories and perspectives reach more communities and make tangible impacts. To that end, we feel that Houston Cinema Arts Festival offers the perfect vehicle to support the mission of the Black Media Story Summit in the Lone Star State.”

The Black Media Story Summit Texas is co-presented by Black Public Media, the Houston Cinema Arts Society and the Austin Film Society. It is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with additional funds from the Ford Foundation.

Featured speakers include journalists, funders, public media organizations, and social justice thought leaders.

The Black Media Story Summit Texas will take place on the final day of the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a five-day, multi-venue festival that includes a multitude of narrative and documentary films, live multimedia performances, panel discussions, Meet the Makers workshops, and free outdoor and student field trip screenings that threads all of Houston’s arts together through the medium of film.

The Summit will be followed by a free Closing Night presentation of the film Always in Season – followed by a Q&A with director Jacqueline Olive – also at The DeLuxe Theater.

Directed, produced, and written by Olive, Always in Season explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching nearly 5,000 African Americans and connects this form of racial terrorism with racial violence today. At the height of their popularity, lynchings attracted tens of thousands of white men, women, and children spectators. They were public events, complete with souvenirs and photographs. Train seats were even specially reserved for out-of-towners to watch.  Victims were tortured, mutilated, and photographed for hours. Lynching was like the sport of hunting, and black people were “always in season.”

“The Black Media Story Summit – Texas is a critical project and intervention, and one that I am very excited for and extremely excited to be a part of,” noted Houston Cinema Arts Society Artistic Director Jessica Green, She added, “It is especially an honor for myself and the Houston Cinema Arts Festival to be able to collaborate with such highly respected and fruitful organizations as Black Public Media and the Austin Film Society. I am really looking forward to seeing what opportunities come out of the BMSS-TX for the underserved and underrepresented but exceptional Black filmmakers in Texas participating in this singular and unprecedented conference.” 

BMSS Texas is also co-presented by the Austin Film Society. Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS supports filmmakers towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. 

“Whether in film, web video, news, episodic work, animation, AR/VR, radio, performance or advertising, young black and brown creators in Texas continue to catalyze our state as a creative hub,” emphasized Austin Film Society CEO Rebecca Campbell. She added, “We are committed to changing the landscape so that historically marginalized voices are heard in the mainstream. We are honored to partner with Black Public Media and Houston Cinema Arts to bring together a dynamic group of artists, creators, industry and thought leaders to push this effort forward.”

Partners include the Denton Black Film Festival, Houston Film Commission, International Entertainment Partnership, National Black Film Festival, SWAMP and Women in Film and Television-Houston.

Black Public Media is hosting regional black media story summits as a forum for black media professionals, technology partners, funders and other thought leaders and community advocates to discuss how to improve the current state and future of black storytelling. The first was held August in Durham, followed by BMSS New Jersey in Newark, NJ in October. The forthcoming Texas summit during HCAF19 will lead up to a national event in 2020. Black Public Media’s publication The Black Paper highlights conversations held at the inaugural Black Media Story Summit in April 2018. 

For more information, please contact Gregory Warren of Black Public Media at gregory@blackpublicmedia.org