hakeem-kae-kazim_web.jpgAmong the “films to see” at the American Black Film Festival this weekend is the highly anticipated Black Gold, directed by Nigerian native Jeta Amata.


The movie’s subject matter attracted a diverse pool of Hollywood talent, including Billy Zane (Titanic), Mbong Amata (The Amazing Grace), Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Hotel Rwanda), Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), Eric Roberts (Dark Knight) and Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs).

Comparisons to Hotel Rwanda are being made, with both films making bold social and environmental statements on corruption and the violation of human rights in the Niger Delta. The difference in the two films, Amata explained, is that Black Gold “is told from an African perspective.”

Black Gold has received multiple ABFF nominations, including best film, best director, best actress and best screen play, and is also up for ABFF’s Grand Jury Prize.

“It is a region where good and evil have been blurred by shady government officials, greedy oil companies and violent rebels fighting over the control of the scarce oil resources that run the world. Now the people are seeking peaceful resolutions to their grievances,” said Amata.

Black Gold was shot in Nigeria and the US to tell the story of an unlikely hero, a Nigerian woman who courageously stands up to unite the warring factions and rallies the world to take notice, putting her life on the line.

“We believe that Black Gold will shed light on the degradation of the environment caused by oil exploration in the Niger Delta and hope that the multi-national oil corporations and the government will clean up their act,” said Wilson Ebiye, one of the movie’s producers.

According to Hosa Okunbo, executive producer, "Black Gold is a powerful and timely story which will compel the stakeholders to build infrastructures that will improve the living conditions of the indigenous people."

While he does not necessarily consider his filmmaking a “calling,” Amata is intent on making films, even a future comedy, “with a message.”  He also wants people to see Africa as capable of helping itself.

He said, “We will overcome and we can do it ourselves,” adding, “even if we have help.”

The movie will screen Thursday, July 7 at 3 p.m. (with a talk-back) and Friday, July 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach, 1040 Lincoln Road. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by calling
305-674-1040.

For a complete schedule of ABFF activities, please visit www.abff.com.

Photo: OFFICIAL SELECTION: Hakeem Kae-Kazim stars in ‘Black Gold,’ which will be screened at the 15th Annual American Black Film Festival on July 7th and 8th.