Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — In the midst of the furor over the death of Michael Brown and the continuing legacy of the Trayvon Martin killing, the Long Beach Indie International Film Festival is featuring a suite of films highlighting positive images of young African American men.

Taking place August 27-31, 2014 at the Cinemark at the Pike Theaters in Long Beach, California, the festival screens more than 90 diverse films from across the globe.

The brainchild of festival director Dr. Daniel E. Walker, a noted filmmaker and Research Associate at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, Long Beach Indie was created to entertain, educate, and inspire.

While the festival screens narrative, documentary and animated films from more than 20 countries, the suite of
films with positive depictions of young African American men is particularly close to Walker’s heart.

He states, “This is an important statement we’re making about the commercialization of negative images of black men in film, television and digital media globally. As opposed to being television and digital media globally. As opposed to being negative and monolithic, these films and media projects paint a picture that is complex, diverse and redeeming.”

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They include:
Take Me to the River – Audience Choice Award winner at the 2014 SXSW Arts and Music Festival, director Martin Shore’s intergenerational film explores the history and music of Memphis, Tennessee while passing life lessons along to
the next generation. Narrated by Academy Award Nominee Terrence Howard and featuring Bobby Blue Bland, William Bell, Snoop Dogg, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples and others.

Astray – Ethical boundaries become blurred in Kyle Romanek’s narrative drama when a social worker tries to help a runaway teenager and is confronted with the demons of his own past.

Sol Brothers – Daniel Walker’s short film follows the journey of 33 young men of color as they take part in a
revolutionary college-focused servant leadership camp.

A Song for Naija – This music-infused documentary highlights the activities of young Nigerian and Nigerian American artists, activists, and social entrepreneurs as they create a new model of grassroots leadership on both
sides of the Atlantic.

Inner City Champions – Frederick Hawthorne’s film chronicles the torturous yet uplifting lives of Los Angeles
basketball legends Dwayne Polee Sr. and Freeman Williams, the NCAA’s 2nd all-time leading scorer, as they return home to coach their alma mater.

In Collaboration with Bill T. Jones: Reading, Mercy and The Artificial Nigger – Internationally renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones assists dance students at California State University Long Beach in their production of his controversial staging of Flannery O’Connor’s The Artificial Nigger, meanwhile revealing the backstory of his
life.

The Residue Years – The documentary explores thejourney of author Mitchell S. Jackson from a youth and early adulthood marred by drugs and a prison term, to his life as a writing professor and critically acclaimed author.

The Throwaways – “The Throwaways courageously explores the most pressing racial justice issue of our time: the mass incarceration and profiling of poor people of color.” — Michelle Alexander (Author, The New Jim Crow)