Urbanworld Film Festival Announces 2023 Lineup


The 27th annual Urbanworld Film Festival’s lineup has been announced for the event taking place the first week of November. The five-day occasion is November 1-5 at AMC 34th Street and the SVA Theatre in New York City. The schedule includes the world premiere of A Wu-Tang Experience: Live At Red Rocks Amphitheatre directed by Rza and Gerald Barclay. A conversation with Marvel Studios’ The Marvels writer/director and Urbanworld album Nia Acosta is also planned. HBO returns as a Founding Partner and Warner Brothers Discovery is the Prestige Partner. 

Stand Up & Shout: Songs from a Philly High School, an HBO Documentary Films feature, from director Amy Schatz and executive produced by Mike Jackson, John Legend and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Film Co. will screen. Lawman: Bass Reeves, starring and executive produced by David Oyelowo about the first Black US Marshal is scheduled for viewing. Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story will be presented by Amazon Prime and National Geographic Documentary Films is having a youth screening of The Space Race directed by Urbanworld alum Lisa Cortés (Little Richard I Am Everything) and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. 

The work of more Urbanworld alums will be highlighted with To Live And Let Die starring Amin Joseph and Omari Hardwick; Young. Wild. Free. directed by Thembi Banks with Sanaa Lathan and Mike Epps; and Sira, a Berlinale audience winner directed by Apolline Traoré.

ESPN is presenting Black Girls Play from documentary team Joe Brewster and Michéle Stephenson. Disney+ is showcasing six short films from its Disney + Launchpad incubator program of filmmakers including The Ghost, directed by Erica Eng; Black Belts, directed by Spencer Glover; Beautiful, FL, directed by Gabriela Ortega; The Roof, directed by Alexander Bocchieri; Maxine, written and directed by Niki Ang and Project CC, directed by Cashmere Jasmine. 

The almost 100 titles comprises shorts from several known artists including Yvonne Orji’s directing debut with Jamaal and Zainab Jah’s first film Reunion. Executive producer, Urbanworld alum and writer Nelson George will present Flower, a short film about ballerina Misty Copeland. Benny Boom’s A Love Letter To Hip-Hop starring Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought and Part of Me: Anuar Khalifi by Yasiin Bey starring Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) are two of the music-oriented titles. 

To purchase tickets and passes, visit urbanworld.org

                                                   2023 Urbanworld International Film Festival Lineup 

Spotlight Presentations

  • Lawmen: Bass Reeves – Created by Chad Feehan (Presented by Paramount+)
  • Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story – Directed by Gelila Bekele and Armani Ortiz (Presented by Prime Video)
  • Stand Up & Shout: Songs from a Philly High School – Directed by Amy Schatz (Presented by HBO Documentary Films)
  • The Space Race – Directed by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Lisa Cortés (Presented by National Geographic Documentary Films)

U.S./World Cinema Narrative Features 

  • Chronicles of a Wandering Saint (Argentina) – Directed by Tomás Gómez Bustillo (New York Premiere)
  • Frybread Face and Me – Directed by Billy Luther (New York Premiere)
  • INKY PINKY PONKY (New Zealand) – Directed by Damon Fepuleai, Ramon TeWake (U.S. Premiere)
  • To Live and Die and Live – Directed by Qasim Basir
  • Young. Wild. Free. – Directed by Thembi Banks (New York Premiere)
  • Sira (Burkina Faso) – Directed by Apolline Traoré (U.S. Premiere)

Documentary Features

  • A Wu-Tang Experience: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Directed by Gerald K. Barclay and The RZA (World Premiere)
  • Bike Vessel – Directed by Eric D. Seals (New York Premiere)
  • Black Barbie: A Documentary – Directed by Lagueria Davis (New York Premiere)
  • Brief Tender Light (Ghana/USA) – Directed by Arthur Musah (New York Premiere)


Disney Launchpad Shorts (Presented by Disney+)

  • Beautiful, FL – Directed by Gabriela Ortega
  • Black Belts – Directed by Spencer Glover
  • Maxine – Directed by Niki Ang
  • Project CC – Directed by Cashmere Jasmine
  • The Ghost – Directed by Erica Eng
  • The Roof – Directed by Alexander Bocchieri


POV Showcase (Presented by WNET)

  • By Way of Canarsie – Directed by Emily Packer and Lesley Steele
  • Freshwater – Directed by dream hampton
  • Sol in the Garden – Directed by Emily Cohen Ibañez and Débora Souza Silva
  • Still Waters – Directed by Aurora Brachman
  • The Dream of a Horse (Iran) – Directed by Marjan Khosravi (New York Premiere)


U.S. And World Narrative Shorts

  • A Version – Directed by Asad Farooqui (New York Premiere)
  • August Visitor – Directed by Ifeyinwa Arinze
  • Becoming – Directed by Tramaine Raphael Gray
  • Children of Light (Korea/USA) – Directed by Minkyu Kang (New York Premiere)
  • Choices – Directed by Justin Luis Denis (World Premiere)
  • Cousins – Directed by Karina Dandashi
  • Cut Me If You Can – Directed by Nicolas Polixene and Sylvain Loubet (New York Premiere)
  • Death & Ramen – Directed by Tiger Ji
  • Don’t Touch My Hair – Directed by Matthew Law (New York Premiere)
  • Don’t Wait Up For Me – Directed by Alain Alfaro (New York Premiere)
  • ExpoZure – Directed by Kimson Albert (World Premiere)
  • He?matome (Belgium) – Directed by Babetida Sadjo
  • Homing – Directed by Ricardo Varona (New York Premiere)
  • House Party (United Kingdom) – Directed by William Alexander Boyd III (U.S. Premiere)
  • Incomplete – Directed by Zoey Martinson
  • I Held Him – Directed by Hans Augustave
  • JAMAAL – Directed by Yvonne Orji (World Premiere)
  • Jerome – Directed by Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz (New York Premiere)
  • LOOK BACK AT IT – Directed by Felicia Pride
  • Lunchbox – Directed by Anne Hu
  • Magic Ring – Directed by Alex Ashe
  • My Two Left Feet – Directed by Damian Gonzalez (U.S. Premiere)
  • October Mourning – Directed by Frederick Thornton (New York Premiere)
  • Reunion – Directed by Zainab Jah and Tim Naylor (New York Premiere)
  • Spaceship – Directed by Jorge G. Camarena (New York Premiere)
  • The Burden – Directed by Tish Arana (New York Premiere)
  • The Fore-men (Canada) – Directed by Adrian Bobb (East Coast Premiere)
  • The Old Young Crow (Japan) – Directed by Liam LoPinto (New York Premiere)
  • TikTok Challenged – Directed by Ivan Rome
  • YELLOW (United Kingdom) – Directed by ELHAM EHSAS (East Coast Premiere)


Documentary Shorts

  • Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games – Directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson (Presented by ESPN Films)
  • Duckworthy – Directed by M.G. Evangelista (New York Premiere)
  • I Was a Soul Train Dancer – Directed by Timiza Sanyika (New York Premiere)
  • Merman – Directed by Sterling Hampton IV
  • PART OF ME – Anuar Khalifi BY Yasiin Bey (Spain) – Directed by Jordi Esgleas Marroi (New York Premiere)
  • SLICE – Directed by Zaire Love (New York Premiere)
  • The Big Idea: Birth Without Bias – Directed by Sarah Klein, Tom Mason (New York Premiere)
  • Things Long Left Unsaid – Directed by Antonia Thornton (New York Premiere)
  • WA GUEJJ GUI – OCEAN PEOPLE – Directed by Clé Hunnigan (World Premiere)


Animation Shorts

  • Bridges – Directed by Jonathan Davenport (World Premiere)
  • BURNING RUBBER – Directed by Christopher Fequiere and Dara King (New York Premiere)
  • Lil’ Ruby – Directed by Bartek Kik (New York Premiere)
  • Perfect City: The Bravest Kid – Directed by Shengwei Zhou (East Coast Premiere)
  • Tomato Kitchen (China) – Directed by Junyi Xiao



  • BET Presents: A Love Letter to Hip Hop – Directed by Benny Boom
  • FLOWER – Directed by Lauren Finerman
  • It Smells Like Springtime – Directed by Mackie Mallison
  • Quiet As It’s Kept – Directed by Ja’Tovia Gary (New York Premiere)
  • Paradise Ft. Terrace Martin & Alex Isley – Directed By child. (Presented By Jill Newman Productions)


Young Creators Showcase

  • BURNT MILK (Jamaica) – Directed by Joseph Douglas Elmhirst (U.S. Premiere)
  • Of Silence and Song – Directed by Dai Leyi (New York Premiere)
  • Shallots and Garlic / Bawang Merah Bawang Putih (Indonesia/Canada) – Directed by Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto (New York Premiere)
  • Xiaohui and his cows (China) – Directed by Xinying Lao (New York City Premiere)
  • UNERASABLE – Directed by Déon Ragin (World Premiere)


  • I Don’t Dream in Spanish Anymore – Written by Missy Hernandez
  • Long Live AJ – Written by Marvin Van Buren
  • Panorama Connection – Written by Nicole Weaver
  • The Washroom – Written by Omar Al Dakheel and Elie El Choufany