The 18th annual Urbanworld Film Festival, founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes, is the largest internationally competitive festival of its kind. The five-day film fest—hitting New York City September 17-21—includes narrative features, documentaries, short films, spotlight screenings, events, live staged screenplay readings and plenty more.

Organizers have plenty on deck. This year’s opening night film is the American premiere of Beyond the Lights, a romantic drama starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) as the troubled, rising pop star Noni Jean and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball). Awkward Black Girl creator Issa Rae is set to premiere three new TV pilots.

The Urbanworld program as it currently stands is listed below. For the up-to-the-minute information, visit


Beyond the Lights—Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood—US Premiere


Addicted—Directed by Bille Woodruff

Lionsgate/Codeblack Films’ Evening with Zane and the Men of Addicted: Boris Kodjoe, Tyson Beckford, William Levy and director Bille Woodruff for Q&A and Exclusive Look at scenes from the film

Avenues – Directed by Aaref Rodriguez (USA) – Hosted by HBO Latino

Color Creative – Produced by Issa Rae (USA)

Habla Men – Hosted by HBO Latino – Directed by Alberto Ferreras

Purple Rain – Directed by Albert Magnoli (USA) – 30th Anniversary Sing-A-Long

Sleep Dealer – Directed by Alex Rivera (Mexico) – Hosted by The National Association of Latino Independent Producers

Urbanworld Underground – Curated by Project Catalyst

·       Jo – Directed by April A. Wilson (USA)

·       La Solitaria – Directed by Nelson Isava (USA)

·       Page 36 – Directed by Nelsan Ellis (USA)

·       The Unseen Beauty – Directed by Gabriel de Urioste (USA)

·       Touch – Directed by Shola Amoo (United Kingdom)

·       Trust & Estates – Directed by Jeanette Bonds (USA)

Urbanworld Digital – Hosted by HBO

·       Fireside Chat with Issa Rae & Roland Martin – Sponsored by NewsOne

Urbanworld Music Events – In partnership with Que Bajo and Everyday People

·       Everyday People presents Condola and The Stoop Kids


Brooklyn – Directed by Pascal Tessaud (France) – US Premiere

Christmas Wedding Baby – Directed by Kiara Jones (USA) – World Premiere

Cry Now – Directed by Alberto Barboza (USA) – New York Premiere

Difret – Directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari (Ethiopia)

God Loves the Fighter – Directed by Damian Marcano  (Trinidad & Tobago) – New York Premiere

In the Morning – Directed by Nefertite Nguvu (USA) – World Premiere

Lake Los Angeles  – Directed by Mike Ott (USA) – New York Premiere

Los Angeles – Directed by Damian John Harper (Mexico) – New York Premiere

Love Magical  – Directed by Justin Foran & Jason Sokoloff – World Premiere

Montana – Directed by Mo Ali (UK) – US Premiere

Night Has Settled  – Directed by Steve Clark (USA)

Unsound  – Directed by Darious Britt (USA)

What It Was  – Directed by Daniel Armando (USA)


12 Months  – Charysse Tia Harper (USA) – World Premiere

Finding Samuel Lowe  – Directed by Jeanette Kong (USA)

Hating Obama  – Directed by Marquis Smalls (USA) – World Premiere

Lucky  – Directed by Laura Checkoway (USA)

Sewing Hope – Directed by Derek Watson (Uganda) – New York Premiere

SODIQ  – Directed by Adeyemi Michael (UK)

The Hip-Hop Fellow  – Directed by Kenneth Price (USA) – New York Premiere


Nine – Directed by Wanichaya Phraejunya & Chawalit Kaewmanee (Thailand)


Bookin – Directed by John Kerkscey (USA)


Afronauts – Directed by Frances Bodomo (USA)

Anatomy of Assistance – Directed by Cory Bowles (Canada) – New York Premiere

Barrio Boy – Directed by Dennis Shinners (USA)

Berea – Directed by Vincent Moloi  (South Africa) – East Coast Premiere

Celluloid Dreams – Directed by Jonathan Dillon (USA) – New York Premiere

Contamination – Directed by R. Shanea Williams (USA) – New York Premiere

ContentMode x J. Cooper Present 206 Starring David Oyelowo – Directed by J. Cooper (USA)

For the Birds – Directed by Tara Atashgah (USA/Iran)

Full-Windsor – Directed by Faraday Okoro (USA) – New York Premiere

Habeas Corpus  – Directed by Booker T. Mattison (USA) – New York Premiere

Hechki (Hiccups)  – Directed by Kartik Singh (USA) – World Premiere

Hermanas – Directed by Cristina Kotz Cornejo (Mexico) – East Coast Premiere

Hypebeasts  – Directed by Jessica dela Merced (USA)

Isaiah’s Birthday  – Directed by Shawn Gerrard (Canada) – World Premiere

J-1 – Directed by Geoffrey Guerrero (USA)

Jaya – Directed by Puja Maewal (India) – New York Premiere

Jenny & Lalo – Directed by Janine Salinas Schoenberg (USA) – East Coast Premiere

L’Autre Femme – Directed by Marie Ka (Senegal) – East Coast Premiere

Midday Crisis – Directed by Jeff Man (USA) – New York Premiere

Milk & Honey – Directed by Daniel Pfeffer (USA)

Missing Grandma – Directed by Adel L. Morales (USA) – World Premiere

Muted  – Directed by Rachel Goldberg (USA)

One Past  – Directed by Juli S. Kobayashi (USA) – World Premiere

Pitahaya – Directed by Albert Espinosa (Spain) – New York Premiere

Present Trauma  – Directed by Mark D. Manalo (USA) – East Coast Premiere

Serena Strong – Directed by Philiane Phang (USA) – World Premiere

Seventh Grade – Directed by Stefani Saintoge (USA)

Silencio Chino  – Directed by Javier Melero De Luca (Venezuela) – US Premiere

Sketch – Directed by Stephen T. Barton (USA) – New York Premiere

Strings Attached – Directed by Nelcie Souffrant (USA) – New York Premiere

The Bravest, The Boldest  – Directed by Moon molson (USA) – New York Premiere

The End Again – Directed by Crystle C. Roberson (USA) – New York Premiere

Tobacco Burn  – Directed by Justin Liberman (USA) – New York Premiere

Tonsure  – Directed by Fred Bumaye (USA) – World Premiere

Woman in Fragments – Directed by Quan Zhou (USA/China/Japan) – New York Premiere

You’re Dead to Me – Directed by Wu Tsang (USA) – New York Premiere

Your Love – Directed by Laila Petrone (USA) – World Premiere