When the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival (GCUFF)
got started 11 years ago, its primary vision was to showcase the work of emerging filmmakers and established artists who both contribute to and celebrate urban culture.
But if you ask Donna Dabbs, executive director of the GCUFF, the idea behind the event is pretty simple: "The festival is a nice, easy way to inform, educate and entertain people. Communicating through the medium of film is an amazing way to inspire and uplift people. And that's what we want to do."
She and her team (comprised 100 percent of volunteers) do this by showcasing minority films, which reinforce positive images and dispel negative stereotypes.
"I think it's important to know that GCUFF is for everybody
. The festival is targeted to share more African American and minority stories, but it's not just for us. We can all benefit," Dabbs said.
There are so many opportunities to experience GCUFF 2022, where the overarching theme of this year’s festival is Afrofuturism, an exploration of innovative ideas that takes you “black to the Future.” The 9-day event provides a forum for the work of diverse filmmakers to be viewed and discussed. In addition to its cinematic showcases, GCUFF nurtures its attendees in a variety of disciplines, offering panel discussions, workshops and symposiums.
Coined in 1994 by critic Mark Dery, the term “Afrofuturism” has become an essential framework for art about imagined and alternative Black experiences. As the author, Ytasha Womack writes, “Afrofuturism combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western beliefs.” Afrofuturist ideas have found fertile ground in film. Our series takes viewers on an intergalactic journey that stretches back long before the term existed, and far into the future. Spanning animation, documentary, and genre spectacle, these exuberant visions of Black creativity, resistance, and freedom.
From the Opening Night event at the Breen Center on Aug. 25 through 9 days of films (features and shorts programs) shown both at the Atlas Cinemas at Shaker Square
and virtually online, there’s an unbelievable selection of films available to choose from
to learn more about the festival, browse the program schedule and order your tickets for this essential and compelling Cleveland institution.