Barack and Michelle Obama surprise festival crowd to introduce descendant – News Kidda

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama surprised audiences at the opening night of the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival to celebrate their documentary Descendant.

The pair attended the event on Friday to introduce the film that their Higher Ground Productions picked up after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in 2022 and set to be released via Netflix later this year. The feature film by director Margaret Brown, from Participant Media, is about residents of Africatown, a small Alabama community, who share a history as descendants of the Clotilda, the last known slave ship that illegally brought captives from Africa to the US. of the ship was an ancient public secret confirmed by marine archaeologists in recent years.

After an introduction of Descendant executive producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the Obamas took to the stage at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Michelle told the audience about the film, “It appealed to us right away, so we wanted to make sure we were here to show our support to everyone involved.”

She explained that the film is a reminder of the importance of sharing personal information and community history with younger generations. “What Descendant reminds us to tell our stories to our younger people,” said Michelle. “We have to be the ones. We cannot follow that tradition of keeping our pain still. Because what this film shows us is that our stories are the power through which we are seen.”

Barack also took a turn on stage, thanking Netflix, the project team and festival founders Floyd and Stephanie Rance. The Promised Land author emphasized “the importance of stories and who tells stories and which stories are valid and which stories are discounted. One of the strengths of this festival and the work the Rances have done is to bring out stories that have all too often been lost over time. Because we believe that everyone’s story matters.”

In her review of Descendant, News Kidda critic Lovia Gyarkye praised it as “a compelling impressionist document.”

The Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival runs from August 5-13.

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