Today we’d like to introduce you to Harry Eaddy.
The Denton Black Film Festival was the brainchild of Harry Eaddy, president of the Denton African American Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Four years ago, he approached two staples of the Denton community – Cheylon Brown and Mesha George – with a unique idea to bring an event focused on Black cinema to the region.
Together, the trio began dreaming up an event that would evolve into the festival thousands enjoy today. Not long after Eaddy and his fellow founding organizers began collaborating, the Denton African American Scholarship Foundation came onboard as the festival’s founding sponsor.
Mesha George served as festival director and film programming director in the inaugural year of the festival. That first year, more than 800 people attended the day-and-a-half event. Initially, the focus was only cinema, but by the second year when Eaddy became a festival director, DBFF added art, music and spoken word to its rosters of offerings. Comedy and artist panels/workshops were added in subsequent years.
Today, DBFF exists to address under-representation in film and media by giving Black stories an audience and Black creatives a platform. Sharing culture and building community are the goals of DBFF. This will be year 5 of the festival in 2019, and we anticipate 6000-8000 attendees.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been an unbelievable journey thus far, and each year we have grown by a minimum of 30% with attendees coming from all over the country and different parts world!
The challenge was getting people to understand we were sharing a cultural experience not just a special performance or event only. Building infrastructure is challenging, and we normally introduce an event to see it will work and then invest if it does well.
Last year we had over 5000 attendees in four days. Sponsorship is always challenging, and we are consistently looking for companies that are interested in Diversity & Inclusion issues.
Please tell us about the Denton Black Film Festival.
Storytelling is the core of any culture. And at the Denton Black Film Festival, we share stories of the Black community – its traditions, ideas, and experiences – in a multitude of ways. Each festival, held annually in January, features Black cinema, music, art, spoken word, comedy, food, and fashion. It’s our way of bringing the Black experience to life.
DBFF is a cultural festival of which film is our anchor, and we do two things share black culture and build community. Our tagline is Entertain, Educate and Inspire. We are known for great films, strong operations and many filmmakers say we are the best film festival they have attended.
I am most proud that we have become a safe space for people to share stories and engage in dialog about topics that normally they do not have the opportunity to discuss. We are different because we are an audience led cultural festival which has as its anchor film.
We have a number of filmmakers that attend for talkbacks and networking opportunities.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I would have changed one thing, it would have been the understanding of how important sponsors are to the overall success of a festival. Particularly for a diversity play.
- Individual tickets are 10 dollars with discounts for student and senior attendees
- All Access VIP Pricing is 159.00
- Website: www.dentonbff.com
- Phone: (469) 573-0799
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org