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Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival brings a robust schedule of sneak peeks, screenings, and stars to the island

Tracee Ellis Ross is among the featured artists at the 2022 Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival.Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

The Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival kicked off Friday, bringing a star-studded lineup to the island to promote recent and upcoming projects.

The festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, runs through Aug. 13, showcasing features, documentaries, and short films produced by and starring Black artists from across the world. Tamron Hall, Tyler Perry, Regina Hall, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Spike Lee are among the highly-anticipated names still slated to appear. Most screenings and events will be hosted at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center in Oak Bluffs.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the can’t-miss programming at the 2022 Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival. Please check the event website (mvaaff.com/2022-itinerary) for complete program listings and updates, as the schedule is subject to change.


“A Jazzman’s Blues” with Tyler Perry

Award-winning writer, director, and producer Tyler Perry will debut clips from his upcoming film “A Jazzman’s Blues” on Saturday at 8 p.m. The film stars Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer as forbidden, star-crossed lovers and “unspools 40 years of secrets and lies soundtracked by the juke joint blues in the deep South,” according to the schedule. Guests can stick around afterward for a discussion with Perry.

“From Scratch” with Attica Locke and Tembi Locke, moderated by Tamron Hall

Sunday’s marquee screening features episode one of a new show coming to Netflix this year. “From Scratch” is a cross-cultural love story that follows Amahle “Amy” Wheeler (Zoe Saldana), an American student who falls for Lino, a Sicilian chef, while she is studying abroad in Italy. The series is inspired by author and actress Tembi Locke’s 2019 memoir, “From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home.” After the screening, join co-creators Attica and Tembi Locke for a discussion moderated by talk show host and journalist Tamron Hall. The event starts at 8 p.m.

New Edition onstage during the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture at the Louisiana Superdome on July 3, 2022 in New Orleans.Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Essence

“Biography: Bobby Brown” with Bobby Brown

R&B singer-songwriterBobby Brown executive produced this docuseries chronicling his life from Roxbury’s Orchard Park housing projects through his rise to fame with New Edition, and beyond. Clips from “Biography: Bobby Brown,” which premiered on A&E in May, screen on Monday at 6 p.m. The event also features a conversation with Brown, his executive producer and wife, Alicia Etheredge-Brown, and director J. Kevin Swain.


“Loudmouth” with Rev. Al Sharpton

On Saturday at 2:30 p.m., guests can catch a film that spotlights the life of the preacher and activist Rev. Al Sharpton, followed by a conversation with the veteran civil rights leader himself. “Loudmouth” follows Sharpton in the aftermath of the 2020 murder of George Floyd and at the center of the national conversations revolving around race.

Actress Regina Hall at the 2022 Reel Works Change Makers gala at Tribeca 360 on May 25, 2022 in New York City. Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Reel Works

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” with Regina Hall

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” stars Regina Hall as Trinitie Childs, the first lady of a Southern Baptist megachurch, who attempts to reunite her congregation after a scandal forces her and her husband, Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown), to shutter. The satirical comedy premieres this September, and Hall will be at the festival on Thursday at 8 p.m. for a pre-screening conversation and Q&A about her career in front of and behind the camera and opportunities for Black creators in Hollywood.

“The Hair Tales” with Tracee Ellis Ross

Award-winning actress and executive producer Tracee Ellis Ross’s OWN docuseries, “The Hair Tales,” focuses on Black women’s parallel journeys with their hair and with themselves. Ross invites viewers to explore “not only how hair has been part of every Black woman’s identity and personal expressional throughout history, but also the impact that Black women have had on culture and humanity,” according to the schedule. Ross will take part in a discussion following next Friday’s screening at 6 p.m.


Spike Lee looked on as Colin Kaepernick greeted fans before the Michigan spring football game at Michigan Stadium on April 2, 2022 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Jaime Crawford/Getty

A sneak peek with Spike Lee

Next Saturday at 8 p.m. showcases Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee, who will give audiences an early look at his multi-part ESPN documentary on activist and quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The film includes new interviews and a never-before-seen archive that help Kaepernick tell his story from his perspective, according to the festival itinerary.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her @brittbowker and also on Instagram @brittbowker.