The Roots, Common Set To Premiere Documentaries During NBA All Star Weekend


New York, NY -- Black History Month during the All Star weekend may have just become a little more cultural besides the endless parties and basketball activities that it's known for. The 'Other' Movie Industry Film Festival is set to debut some world premieres, features, shorts and documentaries from emerging filmmakers. The 2008 TOMI Film Festival will take place February 14 to 16, in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the ASHE' Cultural Arts Center.

TOMI Film Festival seeks to enact Truth for a Change: a positive recourse of actions that will not just leave New Orleans with one weekend of financial resurgence, but a tangible example of what people with the same like minds can do…together. The 1st Annual TOMI Film Festival will open up with a special invitational only Valentines Day gala followed by a private screening of the documentary "From The Mouth Piece On Back," directed by filmmakers Colleen O' Halloran and Jason DaSilva. It is executive produced by the hip hop group The Roots and narrated by starlet actress Kerry Washington, it's about a teenage New Orleans Brass Band called "2 Be Continued," who's very popular for playing in the French Quarter, But Hurricane Katrina shattered the band and drowned everything they had-except their spirits. This inspiring story, infused with vital music that captures the heart and soul of New Orleans, is an incredibly intimate portrait of the band's emotional journey to try to overcome Nature's fury by reuniting the band members and getting back to making music. "I'm estactic about the festival debut and growing support that we've received from around the world, and especially from within the New Orleans community being open to our revolutionary concept" say's Co-founder Ephraim Benton.

Other Highlight features of the festival includes the film drama's Darrell Smith's "A Deeper Love" Staring emerging actress Chyna Layne(Lee Daniels' PUSH, CADILLAC RECORDS, HBO's LIFE SUPPORT), Gary Chason's "Everything or Nothing" and the quirky comedy Jill Wisoff's "Creating Karma". The closing night film will be the world premiere of director Jeff Benson's "She's Got It." A powerful drama about a career driven woman who's lifestyle of deceit and self indulgence has a twisted mix of karma turning her inside out. The festival will also showcase important documentaries highlighting individuals and their hardships- from Richard Willis Jr's "Prison Body- Freedom Soul: The Robert Coney Saga" which is about a wrongly incarcerated veteran who served two tours of duty in Asia, escaped from a Korean P.O.W. camp, and pulled off a half-dozen jailbreaks before being imprisoned for 44 years in southern prisons and is finally freed to Candace Griffin's "Got Purpose?" featuring hip hop artist Common. Some shorts that will surely grab your attention are Crystle Clear Roberson's "Standing Reign", Althea Wasow's "The Wannabe"starring actor Ramon Rodriguez, Shauntay S. Cherry's "Sexually Transmitted Demons", S. Torriano Berry "Financial Aids" and"Brown Paper Bags."



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"The festival's goal is to play an integral role in discovering and launching filmmakers' careers that go unnoticed by mainstream or widely known independent outlets. We intend to showcase a wide variety of exciting works, made by passionate filmmakers who seek to tell interesting, unique and dynamic stories from the real world" says Co-Founder Tonisha Johnson.

For film program, schedule and information, please visit the festival's website at