Wendy Raquel Robinson (File photo)

Debbie Allen, critically acclaimed director, producer, and choreographer, will be a special guest at the 30th annual “Sista’s Are Doin’ It For Themselves” Short Film Showcase Opening Night Celebration, on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m., at the Director’s Guild of America, 7920 Sunset Blvd., in Los Angeles. Phenomenal actress, philanthropist, educator, and advocate Wendy Raquel Robinson will serve as the host.

“Debbie Allen and Wendy Raquel Robinson are real change-agents in the entertainment industry and the community. It is a true honor to have such gifted and giving individuals come together to make this program a great success,” said Executive Director John Forbes.

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The Opening Celebration will kick off a weekend of festivities from May 9 to May 21, from the film showcase to panels to 22 films by emerging Black women directors.  In addition to Allen and Robinson, Neema Barnette, Numa Perrier and Dianne Houston will participate in the festival.

“We wanted to let Hollywood know there are talented Black Women Directors, who are here, well equipped and ready to work. The showcase allowed us to highlight amazing directors and their work,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, president and founder of the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center.

“This year, we saw 1063 submissions and the diversity of films were impressive. I’m excited about this 30th anniversary weekend. Let’s keep making films, telling our stories, and changing the narrative,” added John Forbes.

Debbie Allen is best known for her role as an actor in the television series, “Fame, and as a director and producer of the television series’, “A Different World” and “Grey’s Anatomy”.  Allen is also founder of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA), in Los Angeles, CA.

Allen’s accolades are the definition of prestige, having been nominated for 20 Emmy awards, winning five, as well as two Tony Awards, and one Golden Globe Award. Allen’s impact on Hollywood was immortalized in 1991, when she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Wendy Raquel Robinson (File photo)

Wendy Raquel Robinson is a 2021 and 2022 Emmy Award winning actress and NAACP Image Award recipient. Her groundbreaking roles include “Rebound” alongside Martin Lawrence, “The Game” as the polarizing character Tasha Mack, and “Insecure” alongside Issa Rae.

In 1996, she co-founded the “Amazing Grace Conservatory,” which serves the LA area, and children from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds with education in arts and media production. Notable alums include Rhyon Nicole Brown, Elle Varner, and Issa Rae.

Barnette, an Emmy and Image Award Winner, is known for her work on “Raising Dion”, “Grand Crew,” “Queen Sugar,” and “The Equalizer. Barnette was the first African American woman to direct a primetime sitcom, and first African American woman to get a three-film production deal with Sony Pictures.

She has won several awards including a Peabody, an Emmy, and an NAACP Image Award. She helms her company, “Harlem Girl Productions,” and is also teaches at USC and UCLA.

Perrier has directed episodes for shows such as “Young Rock,” “Queen Sugar,” “Reasonable Doubt,” and “The Wonder Years.”  Her first feature, “Jezebel,” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Perrier has secured a deal at HBO and has another feature set for release this year starring Gabrielle Union. Also, she is co-founder of the streaming service, Black&Sexy TV, founded a production company, House of Numa.

Houston has written and directed on projects such as “Empire,” “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland,” and “Soul Food.” Also, she is the first Black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in the short-film category with her film, “Tuesday Morning Ride.”

Tickets for the opening celebration and reception are $75 for adults and $50 for seniors and students. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students for the Panels and Short Film Showcase on May 20-21.

Day passes are available for $40 for adults and $30 for seniors and students.  Also, a three-day pass for admission to all events costs $180 for adults and $130 for seniors and students.  Admission to the virtual festival is $20.

For more information or tickets, visit www.bherc.org or call (310) 284-3170.