Define American Announces Second Annual Define American Film Festival - Define American

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Define American Announces Second Annual Define American Film Festival

Three-day-long Gathering Focused on Intersectionality in Film Will Take Place May 11-13 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 (Los Angeles, CA) – The second annual Define American Film Festival will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina from May 11-13 this year, the organization today announced. The announcement was made by The Charlotte Observer. The festival will be presented in partnership with the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, which is where all festival events will also take place. This year, the festival will focus on the intersectionality of interrelated communities, including stories of immigration, women, LGBTQ communities, and racial identity.

Films highlighted will include “Dolores,” about civil rights activist and icon Dolores Huerta; “Meet the Patels,” a romantic comedy documentary; “White People,” which Define American Co-Founder & CEO Jose Antonio Vargas directed and hosted for MTV; “Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African?” which explores how African women here and in West Africa wrestle with concepts like race, complexion, gender, and heritage and includes interviews with Issa Rae and others; and “Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America,” which focuses on the story of North Carolina resident Moises Serrano. The festival will also highlight relevant short films like “Rita Mahtoubian is Not a Terrorist,” as well as original short films by #EmergingUS, the media organization started by Vargas. The festival will also host panel discussions with filmmakers and actors including Moises Serrano and director Tiffany Rhynard.

View trailers and get tickets for the 2017 Define American Film Festival!

“Film is an integral part of America’s history and culture,” said Vargas. “It’s the closest thing we have to sharing one another’s experiences and when we find that common ground, it’s easier to have difficult conversations. With North Carolina’s rapidly growing immigrant population and this tense, divisive political climate, we have an opportunity to bring people together, share our stories and hopefully start some meaningful conversations not just about where we come from, but where we’re going as a country.”

Grizzle Voorhees said: “We are thrilled to have chosen Charlotte, NC for this year’s Define American Film Festival. There is a national conversation happening around immigration, race, LGBTQ rights and identity, and Charlotte has in many ways become the epicenter. We could not have selected a more pivotal city to host DAFF and we’re looking forward to supporting immigrant and minority-run businesses in the area.”

“The Define American Film Festival presents a very timely opportunity for us to dialogue about what it means to be American, and how we can better appreciate the various cultures that make up the American fabric today,” said David Taylor, President & CEO of the Gantt Center. “Part of our mission at the Gantt Center is to stimulate thoughtful conversation about race, culture, and diversity from an artistic perspective. As a partner and presenting sponsor of this festival, we can use our space to do just that.”

The first Define American Film Festival was held in January 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa, right before the Iowa caucuses. The festival included appearances and remarks from entertainment industry professionals and activists like Oscar-nominated actor Demián Bichir and writer/director Chris Weitz, and presented films such as “The Joy Luck Club,” “Documented” and “A Better Life.”

For tickets and the full line-up of the 2017 Define American Film Festival, visit

About Define American Define American is a nonprofit media and culture organization that uses the power of storytelling to transcend politics and shift the cultural conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America. It was founded in 2011 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas. For more information, visit

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