Barack, Michelle Obama Surprise festival Crowd to introduce descendants – The Hollywood Reporter

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Michelle Obama surprised audiences on the opening night of the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival to celebrate their documentary Offspring.

The couple visited Friday’s event to showcase their Higher Ground Productions’ selected film after it premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is scheduled for release via Netflix later this year. The feature by Director Margaret Brown, from Participating Media, focuses on the residents of Africatown, a small community in Alabama, who share a common history as descendants of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to be built. known to have brought detainees from Africa to the United States illegally. About the ship is a centuries-old open secret that has been confirmed by marine archaeologists in recent years.

After introducing from Offspring executive producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the Obamas took the stage at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Michelle told the crowd about the film, “It spoke to us right away, so we wanted to make sure we were here to show our support for everyone involved. “

She explained that the film is a reminder of the importance of sharing personal information and community history with younger generations. “What Offspring Reminding us is, we have to tell our stories to our young people,” said Michelle. “We have to be the only ones. We cannot follow the tradition of keeping our pain silent. Because what this movie shows us is that our stories are the power that makes us seen.”

Barack also took turns on the podium, where he thanked Netflix, the project’s team and festival founders Floyd and Stephanie Rance. The Promised land the author emphasizes “the importance of stories and who tells the story and which stories are valid and which stories are discounted. One of the strengths of this festival and the work the Races have done is crafting stories that have so often been lost in the flow of time. Because we believe everyone’s story matters.”

In her review of Offspring, The Hollywood Reporter Critic Lovia Gyarkye praised it as “an impressively compelling document.”

Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival runs from August 5-13.

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