This Juneteenth, the Tampa Theatre is celebrating local Black filmmakers

From the trailer of "Agent X Quarantine"// Film Tampa Bay, Jabaar Edmond


This Juneteenth, the Tampa Bay Theatre is shining the spotlight on Black filmmakers. 

The theatre is hosting a one-day film festival that promises a night of networking, in-depth conversations, and screenings by Black directors.

 Nothing Else Matters is one of four films being screened at the Tampa Theatre on Juneteenth. It was directed by Cranstan Cumberbatch . He says he’s excited to showcase his work at the festival.  

“It is the Wakanda moment for us as indies, I don’t care if your white, black, brown, Puerto Rican or Haitian. Yes, it’s we’re celebrating Black independence from slavery, but we’re also celebrating indie filmmaking here in the Tampa Bay Area, period.”

Cumberbatch is an actor and director who has founded two film festivals. 

He’s from St Petersburg, as is Jibri Wright, director of the short horror film “The Mini Lights.” 

Wright’s film is inspired by St. Petersburg mythology.

 “If they would have mad e a movie about the Mini Lights back in the ‘90s it would’ve been right up there with the Texas Chainsaw, the Michael Myers, the Jason, the Freddy, — all of the legendary horror movies and villians that we’ve been knowing all of our life. So, it’s right up there, and we get a chance to really bring that to surface, for the world, for St. Pete. Like, anybody from St Pete will feel like they’re a part of that world, of that urban legend because they grew up in that urban legend.”

The festival will wrap up with a feature from Jabaar Edmond, starring Cumberbatch. It’s called Agent X Quarantine, about a secret agent tangled in a web of murder, money, and revenge.

Edmond says for him, it was important to cast local talent in the film. 

“A lot of people in the film are from Tampa, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Bradenton. Our cast is like, the bay area. Our people come as far as Polk County and Orlando, sometimes, really to support and be a part of these films, because honestly – there’s not a lot of film makers doing a lot of stuff that we’re doing – we’re building the industry from the ground up.”

And Edmond has a message for new filmmakers.

“Get out there and film, baby, film. Don’t let any budget restrictions, or anything that you don’t have stop you. If you a writer,write. If you’re a singer, sing. So if you’re a director, direct baby, cuz if you take the first step forward, you’ll be carried or pushed a few more steps.”

Juneteenth is your one chance to catch all the films at the Tampa Theatre. Doors open at 5:30. 

View event information here. 


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