LOS ANGELES – October 20, 2020 – The Social Justice Now Film Festival (SJNFF) organized by the Film Life Foundation today announced their panel lineup, which will include discussions that aim to fulfill the festivals’ goal: to watch, to listen and to take action. Renowned journalist Soledad O’Brien, actress Kerry Washington, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi (who is also a Co- Ambassador of the festival) are among the speakers at the event.

Panel programming will include:

On-Demand Conversations

I WANT MY WHOLE DOLLAR, presented by Advancing Black Pathways, JP Morgan Chase
Always Available

  • Renowned journalist Soledad O’Brien, and The SpringHill Company’s COO, Devin Johnson, talk candidly with Sekou Kaalund, Head of Chase Consumer Banking, Northeast Division. , about the importance of entrepreneurship when it comes to economically leveling the playing field in the realm of social justice and equality. They discuss the autonomy and empowerment of building wealth on one’s own terms, as well as share insights and lessons learned from their respective business journeys.
  • Speakers: Soledad O’Brien (CEO, Soledad O’Brien Productions), Devin Johnson (COO, The SpringHill Company), Sekou Kaalund (Head of Chase Consumer Banking, Northeast Division.

Always Available

  • Pulitzer prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson discusses her new book CASTE: The Origins of Our Discontents, which examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. Interviewed by actor/producer and former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, with special appearance by Kerry Washington.
  • Speakers: Isabel Wilkerson (Author: Caste), Nnamdi Asomugha (Actor/Producer), Kerry Washington (Actor/Producer)

Wednesday, October 21

3:00 PM EST

  • Ben Crump has dedicated his career, as a trial attorney, to fighting for civil rights and justice. Join him, in conversation with Laura Coates to hear about his path, and what happens when life brings you the unexpected and unthinkable.
  • Speakers: Ben Crump (Attorney) and Laura Coates (CNN Legal Analyst, SiriusXM Radio Host, Bestselling Author)

FROM SHIRLEY TO KAMALA: The Rise of Black Women’s Political Power
Impact Partner: Higher Heights
7:00 PM EST

  • Fifty-one years after Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) became the first Black woman elected to Congress, a record-breaking number of Black women are running for political office including Kamala Harris’ history making run to be the first woman Vice President. Black women are shaping and building political power for themselves and their communities. In this panel, we will explore the role of Black women’s voices – and their votes – on the final push to Election Day 2020.
  • Speakers: Glynda Carr (Co-Founder and President, Higher Heights for America), A’Shanti Gholar (President, Emerge), Tishaura Jones (Treasurer, City of St. Louis), Alencia Johnson (Founder, 1063 Broad Street)
  • Moderator: Cheslie Kryst (Miss USA 2019, Attorney)

Thursday, October 22

3:00 PM EST

  • Black LGBTQ individuals face multiple intersectional structural adversities relating to their sexual orientation, gender and racial identities. This election is especially important to the LGBTQ community as it fights to uphold that Black Lives Matter but to also ensure that the gains that they have made in the LGBTQ community are not turned back.
  • Speakers: David Johns (Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition), Raquel Willis (Award-winning Writer/Trans Activist), Twaun Samuel (Chief of Staff, Congresswoman Maxine Waters)
  • Moderator: Aisha Milles (Political Strategist)

A VIEW FROM INSIDE: Criminal Justice Reform
7:00 PM EST

  • Ending mass incarceration has been called the civil rights issue of our time. Through the experience of formerly incarcerated, this panel will explore how to create a system that respects human dignity and avoid recidivism by removing barriers to opportunity.
  • Speakers: Topeka K. Sam, (Founder and Executive Director, The Ladies of Hope Ministries), Shaka Senghor (President of Shaka Senghor, Inc. and Founder of Redeemed Sole) ), Isaac Wright, Jr. (Attorney-Subject of “For Life”)
  • Moderator: Jeff Johnson (Journalist, Producer and TV Host)

Friday, October 23

WAR ON VOTING: Voter Suppression Past and Present: Rights Restoration and How We Fight Back
Impact Partner: Advancement Project
3:00 PM EST

  • Not long ago, there were poll taxes and literacy tests, while sheriffs stood outside of polling places preventing Black people from voting. Volunteers who registered Black people to vote were persecuted and even killed. The remnants of these practices remain today, but better disguised. Rather than wielding weapons or physically blocking people from voting, state, local, and federal governments are enacting policies and practices to curtail the growing political power of voters of color as they emerge into the new American majority. Leaders in the fight for voting rights from Advancement Project National Office, New Georgia Project, New Florida Majority, and Florida Rights Restoration Coalition will discuss the past and present forms of voter suppression, and what we can do to eliminate these wrongs once and for all.
  • Speakers: Judith Browne Dianis (Executive Director, Advancement Project National Office), Desmond Mead (Executive Director, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition), Moné Holder (Senior Program Director – Policy, Advocacy & Research, New Florida Majority), Nse Ufot (Executive Director, New Georgia Project)
  • Moderator: Kendis Gibson (MSNBC, Weekend Anchor)

Saturday, October 24

SOCIAL JUSTICE & CINEMA, presented by ShivHans Pictures
6:00 PM EST

  • One of the powers of storytelling is its ability to ignite public consciousness, and when it comes to social justice – it serves as a critical tool to spotlight systemic issues, analyze often tragic moments in history, and share real-life stories that might otherwise remain largely unknown. This conversation will explore the making of content that seeks to educate and inspire change.Speakers: Justin Brooks (Director and Co-Founder of the California Innocence Project and criminal defense attorney for Brian Banks), Nadia Hallgren (College Behind Bars), Muta’Ali (Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn), Shola Lynch (Free Angela) and TJ Martin (LA 92).

Sunday, October 25

RISING TIDE: The New Wave of Allyship, presented by Sony Pictures Entertainment
Impact Partners: LA Collab, IllumiNative, Gold House
6:00 PM EST

  • OIn an era where power truly resides in numbers (and voices), active allyship continues to be the differentiating variable to eradicating systems that seek to oppress and suppress the world’s most marginal and vulnerable communities. Much of the progress gained in the U.S. through countless civil rights battles were brought via applied intersectional pressure, where marginalized peoples across sub-demographic lines joined forces to push back against the larger institutionalized system that, by design, seeks to keep them separate. As movements ebb and flow, the tide begins to rise when marginalized people alike recognize that they truly have the most in common in their collective fight for equitable incorporation and agency. The traumatizing events of 2020 demonstrated both the power and necessity of converting multicultural allies into accomplices, where the passive Ally of yesteryear takes on new form as an Accomplice for justice in the ongoing battle for equal rights and protection under the law.
  • Speakers: Ivette Rodriguez (Co-Founder, LA Collab), Crystal Echo Hawk (Founder & CEO, IllumiNative), Bing Chen (Chairman & Co-Founder, Gold House), Matt McGorry (Actor & Activist)
  • Moderator: Ellene V. Miles, SVP, Intersectional Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment


Social Justice Now Film Festival will host four spotlight screenings followed by filmmaker talk backs, to advance the dialogue on racial and social justice in the United States. Talbacks will occur daily at 9:00 p.m. EST:

Wednesday, October 21
40 Years a Prisoner, with director, Tommy Oliver

Friday, October 23
Reefa, with director, Jessica Kavana Dornbusch and cast: Clara McGregor, Cinthya Caromona, Tyler Dean Flores

Sunday, October 25
Us Kids, with director Kim A. Snyder

The festival can be accessed via www.socialjusticenowfilmfestival.org.

Film Life Foundation is the festival organizer, with Coalition Partners to include ABFF Ventures, Endeavor Content, One Community, and Outlier Society. Sony Pictures Entertainment is the Founding Sponsor, with Principal Sponsors being K Period Media and ShivHans Pictures. The Official Sponsors are Advancing Black Pathways – JP Morgan Chase & Co., Amazon Studios, HEINEKEN USA Inc. and Amazon Alexa. Impact Partners include the Advancement Project, Color of Change, GoldHouse, Higher Heights for America, IllumiNative, LA Collab, and When We Vote. BlackLove.com and Black Information Network are Marketing Partners.

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About Film Life Foundation
Film Life Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by American Black Film Festival creators Jeff and Nicole Friday. Based in Los Angeles, the organization is dedicated to spearheading diversity and inclusion initiatives in the entertainment industry as well as bringing people of different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives closer together using the transformative medium of film. Through its cause-oriented programs – Social Justice, Education & Professional Development and Arts & Cultural Exchange – the foundation will work with underrepresented artists while aiming to bridge the gap and spark engagement between people of African descent and the broader society. The foundation also provides scholarships, grants and other resources to inspire and support minority students interested in pursuing careers in film and television in front of and behind the camera. For additional information go to www.filmlifefoundation.org

About Endeavor Content
Endeavor Content is a global leader in the development, financing and sales of premium film, television, theater and audio content. Endeavor Content seeks to facilitate more ownership and creative freedom for artists, creators and production companies in an ever-evolving media landscape. Endeavor Content is a division of Endeavor, a global entertainment, sports and content company.

About One Community
One Community is a film, television and new media co-financing company that harnesses the power of storytelling to inspire and encourage positive change in the world. Founded and led by entertainment industry veteran and activist Scott Budnick (THE HANGOVER franchise; Founder, Anti-Recidivism Coalition), One Community invests in projects with the power to change hearts and minds on critical issues of equity and equality, and designs robust social impact campaigns to amplify and align the work of philanthropy and policy experts and convert audience empathy into action. The company’s first project was Warner Bros.’ JUST MERCY, starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson based on the true story of attorney and civil rights activist Bryan Stevenson’s fight to free a wrongfully convicted man on death row. Additional projects include KING LEOPOLD’S GHOST, currently in development, to be directed by Ben Affleck and produced by Affleck’s Pearl Street Films, Martin Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff through Sikelia Productions, and Harry and Gina Belafonte.

About Outlier Society
Outlier Society is a cutting-edge production company focused on bringing an eclectic and inclusive lineup of diverse stories and voices to market, meeting the viewers where they are. The company was founded by Michael B. Jordan in 2016 and was one of the first companies to publicly adopt the inclusion rider. In February 2019, Jordan and Outlier launched the Outlier Fellowship – an internship and mentorship program providing access, opportunity and community to underrepresented young people entering media, arts and entertainment. Outlier Society has co-produced the Emmy-nominated HBO Films’ adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451”, which netted Jordan a Producers Guild Award, and the critically-acclaimed Warner Bros. film, “Just Mercy”, which was awarded a number of accolades including the NAACP Image Award for ‘Best Picture’, the ABFF Award for ‘Movie of the Year’, and a BET Award nomination for ‘Best Movie’. Their impressive slate of upcoming projects includes Amazon Studios’ ‘Without Remorse’, the Denzel Washington-directed feature ‘Journal for Jordan’, and the Danny Boyle-directed ‘Methuselah’, with Jordan set to star in each. Additionally, Outlier Society’s upcoming slate includes the film adaption of the fantasy novel ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ by acclaimed author Marlon James; an untitled original monster movie from ‘Kong: Skull Island’ filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts; a WWII action drama ‘The Liberators’; psychological thriller, ‘The Ancestors’, starring Tika Sumpter for HBO Max; ‘61st Street’ for AMC; and the second season of the OWN drama series ‘David Makes Man’ from Oscar-winning MOONLIGHT co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney. The first season was nominated as “Best Drama Series” for a Critics’ Choice Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, as well as for a Peabody Award and a Gotham Award.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. Sony Pictures Television operates dozens of wholly-owned or joint-venture production companies around the world. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html