The fifth annual Women’s International Film and Arts Festival is celebrating in style.
The multicultural festival that received over 400 films from more than 14 countries kicks off the eight-day event on Friday, March 26th at CubaOcho Art & Research Center in the Little Havana section of Miami.
Actress and producer Vivica A. Fox will appear at the festival’s Red Carpet Gala on April 2nd at the Lou Rawls Performing Arts Center at Florida Memorial University’s campus in Miami Gardens.
In addition to lending her star power to the festival that was named Miami New Times’ best local film festival in 2007, Fox will premier her own new film, Junkyard Dog. In it, Fox plays a tough FBI agent charged with saving a college student from a demented serial killer.
The actress who played Will Smith’s love interest in the blockbuster film Independence Day; a bank-robbing member of a female posse in Set It Off; and recently the host of “The Cougar,” a reality TV show where an older woman chooses a date from a group of much younger men, answered a few questions about her ability to carve out a 20-year acting career in an industry where women of color face unique challenges.
SFT: What attracted you to Junkyard Dog?
VAF: Horror action flicks are really popular right now, especially with the success of movies such as Saw. I was interested in this trend, and I was also attracted to playing the role of the smart, strong detective female lead [that] got to save the day!
SFT: You've been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years. What's your secret to longevity?
VAF: I always try to reinvent myself with the versatility of roles, films and career choices. One day, I might want to direct, and the next, act in a play. Reinventing myself keeps me fresh, and is a secret to staying current in this industry.
SFT: Are you as successful as you’d like to be? If not, what has been the biggest obstacle?
VAF: I’ve had a wonderful career. I’ve been very blessed. I’ve traveled all over the world and had multi-million dollar grossing films…. I’m very happy!
SFT: Which of your movie roles is your favorite?
VAF: Probably my role in Two Can Play That Game. I worked very hard and can remember when I got out of the car for the premier and saw “Starring Vivica A. Fox” in lights, I felt like I had made it. The film is such a crossover hit and people still watch it!
SFT: What do you do to stay fit?
VAF: I work out three to five times a week with my trainer, Basheerah Ahmad … we do a lot of cardio, light weights and core weights. I also watch what I eat and have a low-carb, high-protein diet, so lots of fish and vegetables.
SFT: If you could re-do any aspect of your career, what would it be and why?
VAF: I have no regrets; I’m not that kind of person. I rarely look back and just try to keep looking for new
opportunities in the future … I’m a very positive person. I’ve had a wonderful career!
SFT: Why are you supporting the Women’s International Film & Arts Festival?
VAF: Well, it’s women in film, and women are making moves! We have to support each other to get better roles and better positions, and that means being directors, writers and producers and everything else on the business side of the industry. Women need to be more involved in our projects so that we are able to tell our own stories, and tell them correctly.
SFT: What advice do you have for young black actresses embarking on a movie career?
VAF: Make sure you study your craft; becoming an actress is not just about being cute. Become a triple threat by taking drama, dance and singing classes, and make sure you know your stuff!
SFT: What does the future hold for Vivica A. Fox?
VAF: I would love to move to Miami in the near future and become bi-coastal, in terms of L.A. and Miami. Perhaps maybe children, maybe start a family! And to get the brand of Vivica A. Fox out there globally with new projects such as my new wig line, “Vivica A. Fox Hair Designs,” that is coming out in the end of May, possibly starting a clothing line, and anything else that will keep expanding the brand that is Vivica A. Fox!
Photo: Vivica A. Fox