Popular film critic Shawn Edwards has been named the new Director of the Kansas City Jewish Film Festival, a program of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, Missouri.
Edwards was appointed to the position by Krista Blackwood, Cultural Arts Director of the Jewish Community Center.
“Shawn has all the qualities we were looking for to grow the festival. First, he has an encyclopedic mind for all genres of film and he has a promotion background as well, something necessary for the Film Festival to grow and become top of mind in Kansas City,” said Blackwood.
Edwards jet sets weekly covering film releases for Kansas City’s Fox 4 News, regularly flying between New York City and Los Angeles; as well as participating in prominent movie festivals like Cannes International Film Festival and The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). He’s also the creator of iLoveBlackMovies.com.
“My main focus is to preserve the integrity and philosophy the Kansas Jewish Film Festival has established the previous 15 years, but to also add energy, creativity and unlimited amounts of enthusiasm to create a unique cinematic experience for everyone to enjoy,” said Edwards. “The Festival is about great films with a Jewish twist, with a focus on Jewish filmmakers. But it’s also about diversity and presenting different types of films and creating an environment where various cultures are celebrated through film.”
Earlier this year, Edwards launched A Celebration of Black Cinema in conjunction with the Broadcast Film Critics Association at a kickoff event at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California.
The co-creator of the Kansas City Urban Film Festival, Edwards has also written and produced three documentaries about Black films—”We Make Movies Too: The 100 Best Black Movies (Ever),” “No Joke: The 50 Best Black Movie Comedies (Ever)” and “Our Heroes: The 25 Best Black Movies (Ever).”
In addition to having his film quotes featured in marketing campaigns and on DVDs for more than 300 movies, the New Jersey-bred cinema enthusiast has won numerous awards including Best TV Film Critic twice by the Los Angeles Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Awards.
The Kansas City Jewish Film Festival will run October 11-19, 2014. The festival is in the process of procuring the films that will be showcased. For details on the festival, visit www.kcjff.org.