Former Pres. Barack Obama and Michelle Obama Surprise Audience for MVAAFF’s Opening Night Screening of DESCENDANT 

Executive Producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and other  notables were in attendance for the film, 

which is backed by the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions and directed by Margaret Brown

MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MA – On Friday, August 5, 2022, DESCENDANT opened the 20th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama joined the film’s executive producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, director Margaret Brown and festival programmers Stephanie and Floyd Rance to welcome the audience with introductory remarks. Descendant is executive produced by the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground Productions.

Following the screening, Thompson and Brown were joined by producers Essie Chambers and Kyle Martin, co-producer Dr. Kern Jackson and film subjects Joycelyn Davis and Rose “Veda” Tunstall in a Q&A moderated by historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris. 

Release Date:  Fall 2022 

Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown (“The Order of Myths”, “The Great Invisible”) returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today. 

A special jury prize winner at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, Descendant is a Higher Ground and Night Tide production, in association with Two One Five Entertainment.

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