Highlights From Our MLK, Jr. Event

Featured Films: Saturday, January 21st 2017

For the second year, the Coronado Island Film Festival took the lead in presenting a celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the holiday established in his honor. The afternoon event on Jan. 16, 2017 began with a tribute ceremony held at and hosted by Glorietta Bay Inn.  Emceed by CW6 anchor Lynda Martin, the event featured three African-American entertainers, including a cappella vocalist Angela Petty (back by popular demand from her 2016 performance).  She was followed by Alyce Smith Cooper, an “ancestral storyteller,” writer, poet, actor and television host and co-author of “The Gumbo Pot Poems: A Savory Recipe for Life, Community and Gumbo through Poetry.” Smith Cooper read a selection from her book and dedicated a poem, which she also read, entitled “Crown City” to the festival’s president and CEO Mary Sikes. Leonard Patton, singer and actor who has appeared in several productions at Lamb’s Players Theatre, read Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech, followed by playing on the inn’s baby grand piano and singing the James Taylor song, “Shed a Little Light.” The songs lyrics begin:

Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King

and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the Earth.

Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood, that we are bound together

in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can

 grow free and strong.

We are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead.

We are bound and we are bound.

Congressman Scott Peters welcomed the attendees and shared that he was the son of a Methodist minister and had met Dr. King at his father’s congregation. Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey presented a Proclamation commemorating the day’s event to the Film Festival and Glorietta Bay Inn’s general manager Claudia Ludlow shared that she was a fourth-generation Coronadan of African-American descent. The afternoon concluded with the showing of “Selma” at Village Theatre, courtesy of the day’s co-sponsor, Lance Alspaugh of Vintage Cinema. The 2014 film was introduced by the film’s co-executive directors, Doug St. Denis and Andy Friedenberg.  Friedenberg noted that Selma was nominated for 87 awards and won 57 awards internationally but was nominated for only two Academy Awards: Best Picture and Best Original Song, Glory, written by John Legend and Common. It won for Glory, but most significantly, the Academy snubbed Ava DuVernay for Best Director. A huge backlash erupted in the African-American community including several Academy members who refused to attend the 2015 Oscar ceremony. The Academy acknowledged the deficit in its ranks and pledged to change its membership makeup to better reflect the country’s demographics. The Film Festival presented all MLK, Jr. events free to the public.