lizabeth-martin_web.jpgBOCA RATON — With less than a month to go before the inaugural Boca Black Film Festival gets underway in July, organizers are ramping up offerings. The latest addition is a special screening of The Black Miami, a film that won a Spirit of Independents Award at the 2012 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Directed by Carlton Smith and Michael Williams, the documentary film highlights the historical significance of blacks to business, culture and development in the Miami-Dade community. The documentary will screen on Friday, July 18, at 3 p.m. Co-director Smith will present a workshop session on Documentary Filmmaking after the screening along with a Q & A.

The Boca Black Film Festival purpose is to celebrate and champion independent films created, designed and inspired by persons of black heritage. The festival features creative arts development, training sessions, networking and mentorship. Workshop sessions will highlight acting, directing, storytelling, financing, casting and shooting in addition to film discussions, film dialogues and film screenings.

The Boca Black Film Festival was founded by college professor Lizabeth Martin, who  has a background in journalism and marketing communication, and has written poetry, fiction, and scripts for film and television. Martin also has experience in creating and developing community synthesis.

“We have started something phenomenal with our first local festival and we only hope to get better from here on out,” said Martin. “The Boca Black Film Festival is a great opportunity for new and emerging filmmakers who want to gain a solid foundation in the basics while also showcasing,

screening and studying some film works. Our South Florida talent is amazing and we are working to keep that type of talent local for our own Florida film industry.”

Following The Black Miami special screening, the film festival will present the official 2014 selections in documentary and short films. All screenings will be held at the Boca Raton Marriott at the Boca Center.

Seasoned professionals in their respective fields will share about documentary filmmaking, product placement and the filmmaker’s toolbox. Newcomer McKinson Souverain, who recently won the American Black Film Festival 2014 Webisode Challenge, will also present a workshop session on the ins-and-outs of webisodes for beginners on Friday, July 19.

The webisode, Close Friends – available on YouTube – is a series about friendship, love, dating, drama and everything in between.

The Women in Film & Television panel discussion on Saturday, July 19, champions the collaborative efforts of women filmmakers to create new projects and opportunities that recognize the diversity of female roles in the entertainment industry.

The new state president of the Film Florida Association, Michelle Hillery, on Friday, July 18, will discuss statewide and local efforts to support diversity and education initiatives, as well as member benefits that encourage job creation in Florida. And that afternoon, Miami Local of SAG-AFTRA will provide information on union membership for actors and the low budget agreement.

The first Boca Black Film Festival will also recognize a local filmmaker or film enthusiast for his or her contributions to the film and television industry. Nomination information can be found online via Boca Black Film on Facebook (Boca Black Film), Instagram (@BocaBlackFilm) and Twitter (@BocaBlackFilm).

Attendees can purchase tickets or preview the festival schedule at Family & Friends rates start at $100 (50 percent discount) and the Awards Luncheon is $35. Discounted room rates are also available for guests and attendees at the Boca Raton Marriott and can be purchased online.