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Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Olana (Thandie Newton) in "Half of a Yellow Sun" which will be screened

The 13th annual ImageNation Outdoors Festival will kick off June 21, 2015 continuing through August 22, 2015. Dubbed the ‘I AM IMAGENATION’ OUTDOOR FILM & MUSIC FESTIVAL, the summer-long series will present the hottest independent Black and Latino films and live music in parks throughout New York City.

This festival will also highlight the I AM IMAGENATION online campaign to raise $35,000 in support of ImageNation programs and the Harlem-based ImageNation Sōl Cinema Café. The I AM IMAGENATION ONLINE FUNDRAISER starts Monday, July 6, 2015 and ends Friday, August 28, 2015.

Festival highlights include a screening of Jeymes Samuel’s They Die By Dawn a Black western starring Erykah Badu, Michael K. Williams, Rosario Dawson and many others; the film Half of a Yellow Sun preceded by a performance from Les Nubians; and a tribute to James Brown featuring the documentary Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown.

A Black World Cinema Sidebar & Film Market will run alongside the festival and feature films and music from around the Diaspora. Festival partners include SummerStage, Harlem Week, New York City Parks Department, The Reel Harlem Film Festival, Akwaaba Media, as well as several promotional/media partners including Experience Harlem, The Positive Community Magazine, Harlem News Group, Black Star News, and Harlemworld Magazine.  New York Council Member Inez Dickens is continuous supporter of the festival.

The online fundraiser will support the transformation of the existing RAW SPACE gallery into the ImageNation Sōl Cinema, a 60-seat cinema, bar and café, as well as programs. A rendering of the new space is included in the video appeal, which will be released on July 6, 2015.

The fundraising video highlights ImageNation’s vast history as a film and music presenter.

Featured program participants include Chuck D, Spike Lee, Marc Lamont Hill, Lee Daniels, Erykah Badu, Lisa Cortes, Talib Kweli, Bobbito Garcia among others. After giving, contributors are asked to join in the fun by uploading images of themselves holding signs or videos declaring “I AM IMAGENATION.” Contributors will receive cool perks including cinema memberships, an I AM IMAGENATION t-shirt, and seat naming opportunities to name a few.  

“Online fundraising is a great way to involve the community in the next stage of our development,” said Moikgantsi Kgama, Founder of ImageNation. “Our goal is to leverage the social capital we have built through more than 15 years of quality cinema-arts programming, by asking people to give whatever they can by August 28th.”

Donor levels start as low as $5 and exceed $5000. The I AM IMAGENATION online fundraiser will be facilitated by Rockethub.com, which launched in Harlem in 2010.  Through Rockethub’s Project Start-up, successful campaigns have the opportunity to be featured on the A&E network. ImageNation hopes that its Sōl Cinema will be selected for this opportunity.

ImageNation is an innovative Harlem-based organization created to develop audiences for independent film and music depicting the global Black experience. ImageNation empowers communities and fosters dialogue by presenting a variety of public programs that promote media equity, media literacy, solidarity, cross-cultural exchange and highlights the humanity of Pan-African people worldwide.

ImageNation has presented year-round programs at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in New York City Parks and at Harlem’s newest venue RAW SPACE, which will be developed into the ImageNation Sōl Cinema Café, a boutique cinema highlighting Black world cinema and culture. Established in 1997, ImageNation has featured prominent figures such as Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing), Ava Duvernay (Selma), Erykah Badu, Chuck D, Lee Daniels (The Butler), Charles Stone III (Drumline, Mr. 3000), India.Irie, Mr. Vegas, Raoul Peck, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Perez, Gabourey Sidibe, and Stanley Nelson; along with rising stars like Blitz the Ambassador, Storm Saulter, Alrick Brown, Wanuri Kahiu, Victoria Mahoney, Greg Tate, Imani Uzuri and Yerbabuena to name a few.

ImageNation has presented internationally in South Africa, Scotland and Canada and domestically at Harvard University, MASS MOCA and in Dallas, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Baltimore, MD and Washington DC. ImageNation is a founding partner in AFFRM, Ava Duvernay’ a national film distribution collective founded by Ava Duvernay. To learn more visit www.imagenation.us.

In total ImageNation will present eight outdoor programs this year. The 2015 schedule:


Music Performances begin at 7:00pm and Films at 8:00pm or sundown. Times may vary by up to 30 minutes.

June 21st      Film:     They Die by Dawn w/ Q&A with director Jeymes Samuel Music: DJ Spinna, The Bullitts w/ SummerStage, Von King Park, Brooklyn

July 6th      Film:     Half of A Yellow Sun  Music: Les Nubians w/ The Reel Harlem Film Festival, Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem

July 12th      Film:     Celia: The Queen  Music: Gerardo Contino Y Los Habaneros, w/ DJ Asho w/ SummerStage, St. Mary’s Park, Bronx, NY 

July 19th      Film:     Time Is Illmatic , Music: Pete Rock, w/ SummerStage, Queensbridge

August 2nd      4th Annual Soul Train Tribute Make it Funky!: A Soul Train Dance Party  & Tribute to James Brown

Film: Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown Music:  spun by DJ Esxence, plus a live musical tribute led by Musical Director Chris Rob (former music director for John Legend) along with Lorenda Robinson (of Brown Baby Girl), Sabrina Clery (of Red Sahara), Qua Lamar, former lead singer of NJ5ive (from MTV’s Top Pop Group), extraordinary vocalist Nicholas Ryan Gant, and Charisa The Violin Diva.

In association w/ Injoy Enterprises and the Reel Harlem Film Festival Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem

August 9th        Film: Our Latin Thing; Music: Felix Hernandez Rhythm Revue w/ SummerStage, East River Park

August 15th       Film: The Harder They Come, Music: 103.9 FM w/ Harlem Week, St. Nicholas Park

August 22nd       Film: Finding Fela, Music: 103.9 FM w/ Harlem Week, St. Nicholas Park

All films are free and open to the public.

For more information, detailed film descriptions, and director profiles please visit www.imagenation.us.



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