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Roxbury International Film Festival to premiere documentary on Boston artist

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  May 22, 2012 05:35 PM

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The 14th annual Roxbury International Film Festival will screen more than 50 films between June 14 and 17.

The festival will include the world premiere of the documentary “Paul Goodnight: The Prime Time Image Maker,” organizers said. The 40-minute film by Dennis Salumu focuses on African-American artist Paul Goodnight.

The former foster child battled through post-traumatic stress, drug abuse and a speech impediment after fighting in the Vietnam War, before eventually attending art school in Boston and taking courses at Roxbury Community College on the path to becoming an acclaimed artist, officials said.

His work has been on prominent display including at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Smithsonian, the private art collection of Hollywood stars Samuel L. Jackson and Wesley Snipes and on the sets of The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was commissioned to design commemorative art for the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Goodnight co-owns and operates Color Circle Art Publishing, a fine art business in the South End.

“I’ve learned that art is making me, rather than me creating it,” he said, according to a statement from film festival organizers.

The documentary about Goodnight is scheduled to debut June 16 at the Museum of Fine Arts, officials said.

The Roxbury International Film Festival presented the nonprofit Color of Film Collaborative bills itself as “New England's largest film festival dedicated to celebrating people of color.”

“We’re really looking forward to this year’s festival,” festival director Lisa Simmons said in a statement. “We have made a few changes that I think will benefit the festival and our audiences, and the list of films that will be screening are nothing less than outstanding. We will definitely have a very exciting and memorable festival this year.”

The films submitted this year hail from Cape Verde, France, India, Mexico, Uganda, South Africa, and the United States, including a number of local filmmakers who plan to premier at the festival, organizers said. More than 50 features, shorts, documentaries, and youth-produced works are scheduled to screen.

Screenings will be held at venues including at: Northeastern University, The Haley House Bakery Café in Roxbury, The Massachusetts College of Art and Design, The Museum of Fine Arts and at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline.

A festival partner for the past five years, Coolidge Corner will host a pre-festival screening of “SCARS” a film about “two Cape Town ‘colored’ dancers who use dance as a way to express their feelings about growing up ‘colored’ in South Africa, according to organizers. The screening is slated for June 4 and will be co-presented with the Boston Dance Alliance.

An opening reception is scheduled for June 13 at the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Roxbury.

On June 14, the festival will officially launch with the screening of Matthew A. Cherry’s “The Last Fall at the Museum of Fine Arts at 7 p.m., officials said. S. Epatha Merkerson’s “The Contradictions of Fair Hope” is slated to close the film fest on June 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts.

To purchase festival passes, visit For information, visit

To see coverage of last year's festival, click here and here.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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