The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, a nonprofit, public benefit organization, designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history, and the future of Black images in the film and television industry.
In 1996, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center was founded by Sandra Evers-Manly to remove the veil of invisibility that shrouds African Americans and other diverse groups from the main stage, and to spotlight diversity and the stellar contributions of black film and television artists who brought dignity and professionalism to even the most menial of roles.
The BHERC strives to highlight the important roles that blacks have played, and continue to play, in film and television. To that end, the BHERC annually celebrates and promotes black history and culture through a series of annual film festivals. The festivals showcase the richness and power of young filmmakers who will lead the struggle for positive and quality black films in the new Millennium.
In 1996, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center was founded to remove the veil of invisibility that shrouds African Americans and other minority groups from the main stage, and to spotlight diversity and the stellar contributions of black film and television artists who brought dignity and professionalism to even the most menial of roles.
The BHERC strives to highlight the important roles that blacks have played, and continue to play, in film and television. To that end, the BHERC annually celebrates and promotes black history and culture through a series of annual film. The festivals showcase the richness and power of young filmmakers who will lead the struggle for positive and quality black films in the new Millennium.
The Center’s commitment to the development of future filmmakers – performers, directors, and behind-the-scenes technicians and workers – is realized not only through film festivals but also through innovative educational programs. The Center annually sponsors Artistry in Motion, a seminar led by industry professionals who introduce middle and high school students to the magical world of animation, and workshops that offer inside information about the film and television industries. Since its founding, the Center’s scholarship projects have awarded more than $500,000 in equipment, in-kind services and resources to deserving film students and independent filmmakers.
With the understanding that the box office is critical in determining the fate of new films, the Center founded the First Weekend Club, in March 1997, as a financial advocate for films by and featuring the talents of African-American men and women – in front of and behind the cameras. The First Weekend Club boasts more than 35,000 members nationwide.
First Weekend Club members pledge to support movies by and featuring blacks in prominent roles on the first weekend of release, and promise to encourage 10 other filmgoers to do the same. “We don’t say ‘you’re watching the wrong movie,’” says Sandra Evers-Manly, BHERC founder/president. “Instead, we advocate broadening the types of movies people go to see. We need to develop a better understanding about the images that influence opinions about African Americans and other people of color, worldwide.”
From Joy Shannon
In 1994 I received the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP SE Manly Team Player Award for “Outstanding Support of African American Filmmakers”, which coincided with the establishment of the BHERC African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase. That plaque remains on my office wall today and it is a constant reminder to me to “keep on keepin’ on”. Although the Award was given to me, the reality is that Sandra Evers Manly, John Forbes and their dedicated staff of volunteers are the people who truly deserve the credit. Over these many years I have been witness to the tremendous support and encouragement they have given to African American Filmmakers, and the substantial and meaningful gain they have provided for the Black community in particular, and the overall community of interested parties in general. The landscape of visual media has exploded over these past twenty years, and the importance of sustaining opportunities for diverse voices to be heard has never been greater. Thank you and congratulations for keeping our feet to the fire, and making sure that there is a continuing venue for our voices to be heard.
Best wishes and much love,
The African-American Film Marketplace and S. E. Manly Short Film Showcase is America’s premier festival that celebrates the talents of a new generation of black filmmakers, writers, actors, and cinematographers. The impact this festival has had on the lives and professional careers of artists of color in Hollywood has been phenomenal!
As an African-American actor and director, I’ve participated in many national and international film festivals, including Canne, Sundance, Toronto, New York, and Berlin. But the one I truly look forward to each year – the one that makes artists of color feel a sense of pride and validation – is the African-American Film Marketplace and S. E. Manly Short Film Showcase. It is simply the best!
Thanks Sandra for inviting me to be a part of something so special – and for being a lighthouse for African-American artists. In you, we have found our way home again.
William Allen Young
The BHERC African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase has been a part of my consciousness since my days at UCLA film school. I had so much to say as an young, aspiring filmmaker and I craved an audience to hear me. BHERC African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase gave me that audience. It allowed me to share my work, and share the experience with others. It helped me grow as a filmmaker. I am grateful for such a safe, supportive outlet early in my career. It was truly invaluable.
Several years ago, I went almost overnight from being a completely unknown screenwriter, to being that year’s only black Oscar nominee. It wasn’t a distinction I wanted, nor one I knew quite what to do with. The swoosh of media attention and concordant events were mind-blowing, and oft times spiritually exhausting. Shying away from some press, and knoodling-up with others, I rode that wave like an untrained surfer, certain only that there was no safe place for me to land. Except… for one. The BHERC African- American Film Marketplace, along with the S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase provided a place for me, and my film, to be at home, to be safe, to be open, and honest, and real. Thank God. That was then, and they are still the same today. When I watch the films that come though, and then speak with the directors and writers whose lives we’ve all sampled, I feel a place of home and center that is echoed nowhere else in the industry. Home, the one your spirit chooses, and that likewise, chooses you. What a blessing. What a tool. What a family. Thank you, BHERC, now and always.
Just wanted to thank Sandra and yourself for including my film in your festival. I’ve been to numerous festivals and this was by far the best one I’ve ever attended. The family atmosphere and the way we were made to feel welcomed and at home was amazing. I’ve shared my festival experience with my filmmaking peers and I’ve told them to definitely submit their films. I truly hope to work with your festival in the future, not only as a filmmaker, but in any capacity which would help the BHERC. So if in the future there’s anything I could do to help please reach out because I’d definitely like to lend my support to a great organization. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing all of you in the future.
Floyd Marshall, Jr.