An entertaining event that is not to be missed! Black Man Films’ short films have dominated the festival circuit and are strong, authentic representations of untold Black and Brown stories. Immerse yourself in the Oscar-qualified short film “Silent Partner” and then delve into a riveting discussion around workplace microaggressions and mental health with the filmmakers. Join us for a refreshing, thought-provoking evening!
About “Silent Partner”: After premiering at the Oscar-qualifying Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival in August 2021, “Silent Partner” dominated the festival circuit, winning BEST SHORT at the Morehouse College Human Rights Festival, the Columbus Black International Film, the Detroit Black Film Festival, and the North Carolina Black Film Festival. Overall, it was screened at 21 festivals in the US and Canada; earned 8 awards and nominations including BEST ACTOR for Roderick Lawrence; was a finalist in the HBO Max Latino Short Film Competition; and qualified for the 2023 Oscars. The feature version will shoot in January 2024.
Through a 1-hour screening and guided discussion around the short film, “Silent Partner” (TRT 16min), alumni leaders and executives will engage in deep reflection and discussion around microaggressions in the workplace and inclusive leadership. The film is first shown and then the moderator asks attendees for their reflections on what they saw in the film. The filmmakers will respond and push attendees to think deeply about how bias and microaggressions show up in their own workplaces.
Press for “Silent Partner”:
• “…beautifully encaptures the difficulties and threats that black Americans face every day of their lives, from judgmental and hateful looks to seemingly innocent and passive comments made out of ignorance.” — KANE MCEVOY, JOYZINE
• “The film of the decade…” — ANDREA LAWFUL SANDERS, PHILADELPHIA SUNDAY SUN
• “The stunning cinematography was created by Eric Branco (40-YEAR-OLD VERSION). He uses close shots to amplify the Black attorney’s and his wife’s emotions and questionings towards the ongoing racism around them. If we combine this with the incredible acting of the cast, the film deepens the emotions and struggles of Black man and women in a racist society even more. Roderick Lawrence gives a wonderful performance on a film which we hope will get people talking about this important subject.” — FILM & TELEVISION BUSINESS
6:00 pm Check-In; Event from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
FOR SECURITY REASONS, NO WALK-INS ARE PERMITTED
Pre-registration is required and will close at Noon on Monday, December 11th.
Please note that no refunds will be issued.
Co-Founder and Producer, Black Man Films
Salma Qarnain (MBA 2002), a Pakistani-American producer and actor (Broadway’s LIFE OF PI), co-founded Black Man Films. Her diverse experience spans executive positions in aerospace, internet, media, and admissions. She was recently the protagonist in the HBS course Crafting Your Life (Case: From Spaceships to Broadway). B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Stanford; S.M. Aeronautics / Astronautics, MIT; ABD in HR/OB, IE Business School.
Actor, Creator and Producer, Black Man Films
Roderick Lawrence, Co-Founder of Black Man Films and creator of SILENT PARTNER, won Best Actor at BronzeLens Film Festival for SILENT PARTNER. Credits include Simba in Disney’s THE LION KING National Tour, Ramses in Broadway-bound THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, Othello in OTHELLO: THE REMIX, Floyd Barton in SEVEN GUITARS, Jesus in GODSPELL, and Ike Turner in TINA: The Tina Turner Musical National Tour. BM, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. 2023 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for outstanding community service.
Cinematographer, "Silent Partner"
A native of New York City, Eric Branco has lensed several feature films including CLEMENCY (dir. Chinonye Chukwu), which took home the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and THE 40-YEAR-OLD VERSION (dir. Radha Blank), winner of the Best Narrative Directing award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. His work on STORY AVE (dir. Aristotle Torres) recently netted him a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. Branco was also named one of Variety’s “10 Cinematographers to Watch” 2019, and one of American Cinematographer’s “Rising Stars of Cinematography” 2020.
Boardmember, HBS Club of New York; Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer at Ford Foundation
Depelsha McGruder is COO and Treasurer of the Ford Foundation, overseeing global operations and finance for 11 offices in the US, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Prior to joining the foundation in 2020, McGruder served as COO and Interim CEO of New York Public Radio (NYPR). Before her tenure at NYPR, McGruder spent 17 years at Viacom in senior leadership positions at both MTV and BET Networks. During that time, she launched mobile, broadband, and video-on-demand businesses. In addition, she developed and operated two new cable television networks with programming designed to serve underrepresented Latino, African-American, and youth audiences, resulting in triple-digit growth in both audience and revenue.
McGruder is the founder of Moms of Black Boys United and M.O.B.B. United for Social Change. The founding of MOBB United came from a personal space. After watching the viral videos of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in 2016 and numerous other Black males before them, Depelsha wanted to vent. But where? How? She invited about 30 of her close friends whom she knew also were worried about the safety of their Black sons to join a private Facebook group. This Facebook group would be a refuge for them to speak about the unique challenges and dangers their children faced, particularly when it came to encounters with law enforcement. Within an hour or two, there were 1,000 members. By the end of the day, more than 21,000 moms from all across the country had joined the group. Nearly seven years later, there are nearly 170,000 members and what started as a Facebook group has now evolved into two non-profit organizations that are working together to change policies and perceptions impacting Black boys and men. She has two sons, who are 15 and 12.
In 2018, McGruder was selected as a Forward Promise Fellow by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for her work in healing trauma for boys and young men of color. In 2021, she was selected for BBC 100 Women and in 2022, she was named to The Root 100, an annual list that honors the most influential African-Americans. She has received multiple honors from Harvard Business School for outstanding achievement and public service, including the John C. Whitehead Social Enterprise Award from HBSCNY, the Bert King Award for Service from HBSAAA and most recently, the HBS Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor the school bestows, in 2023. She was also named to Forbes 50 Over 50 list for Impact in 2023.
McGruder serves on the boards of Oaktree Capital, GoFundMe, Howard University, Harvard Business School Club of New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, The Links, Inc. and Jack & Jill of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1994 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1998.
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