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Shefik To Moderate LGBTQ+ Discussion With Bruce Cohen, Christopher Donaldson, Peppermint, And Kareem Ferguson

The festival will be centered in Harlem, New York, highlighting filmmakers worldwide.

Out of over 5,000 festivals in the world, Hip Hop Film Festival founded by CR Capers - is the only festival to focus on writers, directors, and producers who grew up in the global culture of hip-hop. The world tour is well underway, after recently completing successful stops in South Africa, Italy, Kenya, and West Africa.

The main festival is headquartered in New York City during the first week of August every year, as the last stop of the world tour. From Thursday, August 6, 2020 to Sunday, August 9, 2020, the festival will be centered in Harlem, New York, highlighting filmmakers worldwide. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, this year's festival will be held online. All access passes are available via Eventbrite at https://hhff2020.eventbrite.com, upon $40 donation to Harlem Film House, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

During the festival, on Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT, media personality and philanthropist Sir Shefik Macauley (known mononymously as Shefik) of the multiple award winning, syndicated radio show "Shefik presents Invocation" (https://invocation.co), will moderate a Master Cypher titled "LGBTQ+, The Culture & Film" (https://hiphopfilmfest2020.sched.com/event/db9P/master-cypher-lgbtq-the-culture-film). This panel discussion will be a no-holds barred conversation on the politics of being LGBTQ+ in film and in the culture of hip-hop. It will also be an exchange of knowledge, ideas, and resources amongst leading voices within the LGBTQ+ community and the audience.

The panel is scheduled to consist of a powerhouse group of industry professionals:

  • Bruce Cohen is an Academy Award winning producer of film, television, theatre, and live events. He won an Academy Award for Best Picture, alongside producing partner Dan Jinks, for Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" (1999), which took home a total of five awards at the ceremony. Cohen earned additional Best Picture nominations for Gus Van Sant's "Milk" (2008) and David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), as well as producing both the film and stage musical adaptation of Tim Burton's "Big Fish" (2003). Cohen started his career as an assistant director under Steven Spielberg.
  • Christopher Donaldson is an Emmy Award nominated producer and media executive, who oversees acquisition and distribution strategies as Vice President of Content at Here Media. Prior to his current role, he worked for the Sundance Film Institute and The Television Academy. Donaldson is passionate about independent storytelling. Here Media has produced Academy Award winning films in addition to receiving four Daytime Emmy Award nominations.
  • For over 10 years, Peppermint has dominated New York City audiences with her high-energy performances and engaging personality. She has performed all over the world and collected many honors. She has been featured on NBC's "Saturday Night Live", MTV's "The Real World: Brooklyn", ABC's "Ugly Betty", FX' "POSE", and season 9 of VH1's "RuPaul's Drag Race". Over the years, she has performed alongside Chaka Khan, Martha Wash, and Ultra Naté. Peppermint is deeply involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and she participants in the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund (M·A·F) and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. In 2018, Peppermint made her debut in The Go-Go's-inspired musical "Head Over Heels" as Pythio, becoming Broadway's first out trans woman to originate a lead role.
  • Kareem Ferguson is a Belizean born actor, who currently resides in South Central Los Angeles, California. He wrote, directed, produced, and acted in the multiple award winning short film "Gay Baby" (2018). In March 2020, he was one of 10 director-hyphenates selected in the inaugural "Find Your People Party", a networking incubator launched by ColorCreative TV with a mission to help BIPOC artists come together and provide a real opportunity to bring their stories off the pages and onto the screens. Ferguson was nominated as Best Lead Actor for the 2011 NAACP Theatre Awards for the play "Free Man of Color".

"I look forward to having a timely discussion with such a talented group of peers in the film, television, and theatre industries," says Shefik.

Shefik is a Professional Member at the New York Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (New York Emmys), as well as a National Associate Member at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Primetime Emmy Awards). Over the years, he has supported organizations such as Human Rights Campaign (America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality), as well as Broadway Sings for Pride (a non-profit charitable organization, which brings together Broadway talent, activists, and celebrities to promote LGBTQ+ equality through song).

As a videographer, Shefik has covered high-profile pride-related events at Citi Field (home field of the New York Mets), Barclays Center (home arena of the New York Islanders), New York City Pride March and PrideFest, among key events with Broadway stars from "Hamilton", "The Phantom of the Opera", "Wicked", "Kinky Boots", "The Lion King", "Jersey Boys", and many more.

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