Three Newark filmmakers selected to attend Cannes, France Festival of Creativity

NEWARK, N.J. — Three local filmmakers from Newark are being sponsored and sent to Cannes, France to be a part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity — which has been called the international Oscars of the advertising world.

Their sponsorship was forged through a partnership of Newark's International Film Festival and 'Cannes Can: Diversity Collective', a group geared towards increasing diversity in the marketing and advertising industries.

“I’m looking forward to networking. I think it’s a great opportunity for all of us," said Ayana Stafford, one of the three filmmakers flying to France for the festival.  Leron Lee, an award-winning filmmaker whose short film, “Ugly,” was recently acquired by HBO, has also been selected; along with Keith 'Mooka' Martin, a member of the board of the Newark International Film Festival, which is heading into its fourth year this September.

They will travel to France on June 12 and return on June 22, where they will participate in film festival activities and ultimately create a short documentary about their experiences.

They will also partake in 'Inkwell Beach Cannes', which is set to celebrate the perspectives of persons of color in creative fields.

“I’m Newark through and through, so I’m glad that I get to go out and be able to represent for my city and show them we have some really raw talent here that's just ready to hit the ground running and get our talent out there," said Stafford.

About 15,000 people from around the globe are expected to be at the festival in France.

“200 on a good year look like us," said Adrianne Smith, founder of Cannes Can. "So our goal is to create a space where more people who look like us have the opportunity to be there.”

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