All About #Create19 (In Summary)

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Thursday, April 4th - Saturday, April 6th, a slew of creatives gathered at The Impact Church in Atlanta for The 2019 Create Conference. Celebrating its 3rd year, this anointed gathering is a well-thought-out, innovative conference hosted by Apostle Bryan Meadows & Embassy International Church. From start to finish, there were some very insightful “breakout sessions” facilitated by published professionals such as Celebrity Photographer Corey Reese, Fashion Stylist Teaira Blount, Branding Guru Andrew Nguyen and many more! Along with these great sessions, my absolute favorite was the panel discussion on mental health. The discussion was facilitated by a team of anointed clinical therapists, counselors and educators. We learned during this discussion that our mental health is just as important as our physical and spiritual health. And, that our value and anointing flows when “you are the ‘most authentic you’”; to no longer compare ourselves to others dulling our potency and effectiveness in the marketplace.

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Another thing that I most appreciate about #Create19 is how deliberately God was involved in every facet of the conference! There was absolutely no shame acknowledging God as the Ultimate Creative and the Omnipotent Creator of All Things! This creative ability was demonstrated in electrifying prophetic worship throughout the conference, evening/morning empowerment sessions and through the crafts offered by their vendors. We got a chance to speak to Antoine Beane of  Triumph Jewelry Collection who shared with us about his beaded jewelry business which he says was all hand-crafted with significance in his times of prayer. He testified about how there is a tangible presence of God released to minister emphatically to the needs of the people that purchase his products.

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We also got a chance to speak with the young genius entrepreneurial brain behind “Oh My Slime”, Michael Fears and his parents. They have created a fun, stand-apart slime company offering different scents like Tropical Blast, Grape Soda or “Gum On My Shoe” with the purpose of stimulating children by way of unconventional technology. They went on to explain how this brilliant slime invention encourages the S.T.E.M. Process (Science. Technology, Education & Math). Other guests present throughout this conference included Real Talk with Kim, J. Bolin, Pastor William McDowell, Pastor John Hannah, Lawrence Flowers, Geoffrey Golden and many, many more!

And a big shot out to Apostle Bryan Meadows for the word I heard on opening night! He taught us on the “The Time of a Gift” and that there is an appointed time of relevance and reinvention to every gift. Not to mention, the launch of his new book, “The Cave”. Make sure you grab your copy! 

Until then, we’ll see you next year at Create 20/20!


*All Photos Courtesy of Triple S. Shots Photography.

Five Free Events at #ATLFF2019

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In addition to all the amazing screenings, workshops and meet-ups at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival; most of which require prepaid badge access or tickets, there are also 5 free events that you don’t want to miss! One of these we want to highlight is the premiere screening of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” Season 8! Although I’ve yet to become a raving fan of the show, I’ve always told myself that I need to check it out “for real, for real” to see what all the hype is about! The premiere screening will be held at Plaza Theater on Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:00 PM. To RSVP for this free event, please visit www.atlantafilmfestival.com/schedule-2019. Along with “Game of Thrones”, be sure to check out these other free offerings:


ACVB Presents: “Music Voyager”

Monday, April 8, 2019, 6:00 PM

Plaza Theatre Main, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Join us and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau for the world premieres of “Music Voyager” episodes 5 & 6 that feature yours truly—the Atlanta Film Festival—as well as the Plaza Theatre, Dad’s Garage, Paris on Ponce, Karen Anderson & Tiny Doors, Atlanta United and more!

Free admission with advance RSVP at https://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/schedule-2019.

 

The Florida State University College Of Motion Picture Arts Presents:

Selected Keylight Films
Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 6:00 PM

Plaza Theatre Main, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

The FSU College of Motion Pictures Arts presents a showcase of eight short student films followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the College. Ranked by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 25 film schools in the country, FSU College of Motion Picture Arts produces student films that regularly win prestigious awards like the Student Emmys and Oscars. Join us for an evening of cinematic entertainment as we showcase this year's selected Keylight Films.

Free admission with advance RSVP at https://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/schedule-2019.

 

SOUND+VISION

Thursday, April 11, 2019, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Eastside Trail // Atlanta BeltLine & Historic Fourth Ward Park

After a year hiatus, SOUND+VISION — ATLFF’s signature mid-week event—returns! Join us on the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine and Historic Fourth Ward Park for a night of live music, daring virtual reality films, unforgettable art installations, rockin’ music videos and Atlanta’s best food trucks! Previously held at Atlanta landmarks like The Goat Farm and Ponce City Market, this event is a true festival highlight!

Previous performers include Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, HelloOcho, Kodie Shane, Lonnie Holley, Gringo Star, Biters, Jungol.

Free admission. No RSVP necessary.

 

Presentation of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” Season 8 Premiere

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:00 PM

Plaza Theatre Main, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

HBO is partnering with ATLFF to give guests a chance to see the final season premiere on the big screen at The Plaza!

Free admission with advance RSVP at https://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/schedule-2019.

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The 43rd Annual Atlanta Film Festival

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The kick off to the 43rd Annual Atlanta Film Festival is today! This two-week long festival takes place Thursday, April 4th - Sunday, April 14th. This year’s Opening Night Presentation this is a comedic drama called The Farewell directed by Lulu Wang. The Farwell tells the story of a Chinese family who decides to conceal the news of their grandmother’s terminal illness from her by organizing a spontaneous Chinese wedding in order to reunite and all bid their final farewells. Along with such heartfelt films like The Farewell, patrons, film professionals and movie goers will also have the opportunity to be a part of 11 days worth of workshops, talent and filmmaker appearances, special music, and various film and art presentations.

While many of these films require badge access which can be purchased in advance, we would also like people to know that there are a host of five different free events including the highly anticipated premiere screening of Games of Thrones Season 8! Some of these events require an RSVP while others may not. For full details, please visit https://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/schedule-2019. Dress Like A Gent has had the privilege of covering the Atlanta Film Festival for nearly 5 years now and we always are stunned and touched by the amazing work put in to make this event possible. Not to mention, all the films I’ve seen there have been simply amazing, thought provoking, heart-wrenching and honest! Be sure to take advantage of these offerings before these two weeks expire!

For more information on the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival and ticketing, please visit www.atlantafilmfestival.com.

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Africa Belle 2019

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Beginning Wednesday, April 3 through Saturday, April 27th, the 2019 Africa Belle Festival will celebrate its 9th year! This year’s theme, “L’Afrique de Demain” is a celebration of Today and Tomorrow’s Africa; highlighting French-Speaking Africa & Beyond! This year’s lineup of events includes a Standing Art Exhibit, a Moroccan-style Comedy night, a West African Dinner & Fundraiser, round table discussions, the highly anticipated Africa Belle Soirée & More! Every year, this festival draws a slew of culturally conscious individuals who travel locally and regionally to be a part leaving us all thirsty for more. Approaching it’s 10th year anniversary, the Alliance Française d’Atlanta hosts are thrilled to make this 9th year Africa Belle a memorable one in expectation for an even bigger decade anniversary next year!

For a full schedule of events and to register, please see the flyer below or visit www.afatl.org.

*Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Abarca Photography

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#AJFF2019 Opening Night Ceremony

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Alas, the commencement to the 19th Annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival had arrived! And I know I say it often, but #AJFF is my absolute favorite film festival here in Atlanta! Every year I attend, I leave out totally impacted by all of the staff members serving so attentively from beginning to end and more importantly, the opening film selection. Prior to the start of the opening night film, SHOELACES, we were blessed to attend the Pre-Screening Gala in the elegantly large galleria space at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. That night, there was a slew of delicious tastings from local food artisans and restaurants. Among these were,

Baroque Culinary Services

C. Ellet’s Steakhouse

Cafe Sunflower

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Chai Yo Modern Thai

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse

For All Occasions & More

Il Giallo Osteria & Bar

Imperial Fez Moroccan Restaurant

Kaiser’s Chophouse

Secreto Souther Kitchen & Bar

South City Kitchen Vinings

Watershed on Peachtree

Zafron Restaurant

28 Whole Gluten Free Bakery

Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters

Da Vinci’s Donuts

Tiff’s Treats Cookie Delivery

For the opening film selection, we watched  SHOELACES which is a very heart-warming film! Nominated for 8 Israeli Awards including Best Film, SHOELACES is a brilliant dramedy about an aging mechanic with major health issues including kidney failure who finds himself taking custody of his special-needs son that he abandoned as a child. The story unravels as the two face a series of very difficult challenges with having to learn each other while at the same time, dealing with their own physical and emotional struggles. Eventually, their relationship is beautifully restored as they learn to depend on one another and ultimately, forgive one another as they equally forgive themselves. There is a lot to be learned through this film and what we see in the end is, with practice and perseverance, we can work through the most difficult of situations and master them as efficiently as tying our shoelaces!

For more information about the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, please visit www.ajff.org.

The 19th Annual Atlanta Film Festival

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The 19th Annual Film Festival is set to kick off beginning next Wednesday, February 6 through Tuesday Feb 26, 2019. Opening night, film lovers and patrons of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) will view the Israeli dramedy called “Shoelaces”. This film is a story about the relationship between an aging mechanic and his full-energy special-needs son that he abandoned. The film provides a very realistic depiction of special-needs people, but in a way that is humorous and nature-sensible. Along with this film, the Atlanta Film Festival will present 180 screenings, with “an international collection of 76 films from 24 countries, at various Atlanta venues including Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, Regal Perimeter Pointe, Regal Atlantic Station, UA Tara Cinemas and The Woodruff Arts Center.

Since my first involvement with AJFF many years ago, I have grown to love and respect the overall AJFF experience and the great effort they put into bringing together such a host of gifted filmmakers, actors and creatives of the Jewish community. This is an event not be missed!

For more information and tickets, please visit www.ajff.org.

*Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

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Why He Sings - Josiah Martin’s Testimony

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The first time I heard Josiah Martin sing was at the 2017 LIVE Recording of Lawrence Flowers & Intercession’s Champion album in Atlanta. We were in a moment of raw worship bliss when Josiah came up for the next selection. Appearing to be in discomfort, he carefully mounted the platform steps, making his way to the mic to minister the amazing song entitled “Hey Hey God” alongside Lawrence Flowers and the team. Suddenly, the atmosphere changed as we found ourselves broken and willing to surrender all in the presence of God. From that night, I found myself captivated by this man’s selfless spirit and transparency as he helped usher us in a place of fervently crying out to God to be made whole. To date, I still have this whole album on repeat and always seem to get stuck on the “Hey Hey God” track. I knew from that night, that I would need to meet Josiah personally, to learn more about his story and the price he has paid to carry such an anointing that we are so privileged to partake of.

Recently, I got a chance to sit down with Josiah in an intimate setting and interview him further about his personal journey. Josiah Martin, more commonly known as “Jojo”, has a story to tell and a Faithful God to glorify!

So buckle up! —

Originally from Monterey, California, raised in the church with both parents who pastored, the 5th son of 5 boys + 1 girl, Jojo began his first Minister of Music position at 17. Not to mention, Jojo has toured and sang in the company of several renowned artists including Fred Hammond, James Fortune, PJ Morton, Judith Hill, Josh Groban, Kirk Franklin, Kierra Sheard and more. Subsequently, while on the road performing, around the age of 21 years old, Jojo found out that both of his kidney’s were functioning at mere 15% and that he would be diagnosed with severe kidney disease. Although Jojo was told that he should start dialysis immediately after being rushed to the hospital, the attending doctor advised him that he could leave only if he started to see a nephrologist (kidney specialist). Henceforth, under the care of Atlanta’s Dr. Frita Fisher who is also a person of faith, she put Jojo on a strict dietary regiment encouraging him that with their combined faith in God, he could go an additional 6 months before beginning dialysis.

Successfully, at the termination of the 6 months around the Summer of 2013, Jojo began a stringent peritoneal dialysis where he would do dialysis at home 7 days a week, 9 hours at night. Jojo explains how this process totally changed his lifestyle especially with the fact that he was still traveling a lot in concert and would sometimes not get in til late at night to begin treatment. As a result, excess fluid began to build up during times he was unable to get the full 9 hours of dialysis which caused him to become even more ill. Eventually, switching to hemodialysis, Jojo shares that this form of dialysis treatment proved more effective and allowed him to do more unhindered. This led to more ministry and music engagements where Jojo could travel and still consistently go on dialysis while in these different cities.

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5 years on this path, Fast Forward to 2017, Jojo receives a call that they had found him a kidney from a living donor! In the beginning, he was told that they did not know who the match was, but that he would soon find out. Later, during a Morehouse/Spelman Gospel event, Jojo met Singer Britni Ruff that night and the two would end up becoming good friends. After years of conversing and meeting up at Benihana, it was not until the day that Jojo was preparing for surgery that he gets a surprise visit in the hospital from Britni. He asks Britni why she was had arrived so early assuming that she was only there to support and she responds, “Surprise”! Britni would be Josiah Martin’s donor candidate! This enthralling moment for Jojo was the culmination of years trusting in God, pressing through the agony of physical pain and deaths, to believe for a miracle of which this one exceeded his expectation. Frankly speaking, this is the sort of thing we should expect to happen for those who believe in the impossible!  And I believe that the posture he had taken all those years to still worship God in spite of, to minister to His people and cry out unashamedly for God’s mercy, makes moments like these possible for us all.

When asked about his determination and where he gets that from, Josiah shares that his older brother died in 2009 of kidney failure and how he and his brother were the only two in the family battling kidney disease. With the family being so fearful that this could also become Jojo’s fate, he says that his brother’s passing had the opposite effect on him. Jojo was determined! Not only did he feel it necessary to fight through it, but he says that he was even more determined to make God smile through it. This attitude, I believe carried a lot of weight in giving Jojo the strength to endure such a serious infirmity for so many years.

Beforehand, In 2016, during a Kirk Franklin concert in Jacksonville, Florida, Jojo tells us about the time that forever changed his life when he made a declaration in the presence of God to “run on”. Kirk handed the mic to feeble Josiah to lead in a spontaneous song called “He Intercedes for Me”. Not knowing the words, but following Kirk’s lead, Jojo sung from his heart. Jojo says that he found himself crying tears of joy and anger, both of which would become a petition and anthem for his life. The video was posted on Youtube and has had an innumerous amount of views since. Jojo says that he is still responding to emails and hits from the Youtube post from people who had given up on God, some who had stopped praying and who too were suffering in silence simply needing a touch from The Master.

This has given Josiah a deeper sense of purpose and he understands that his pain was never for him alone, but for the purpose of helping other people get through; to those both inside and outside of the church. Currently, Josiah Martin is excited to announce that his album (which was put on hold many years ago due to his illness) is scheduled to be released sometime this Spring. The album is produced by none other than PJ Morton. Also, he tells us he is collaborating with another 20 - 30 worship leaders in delegated cities to host “A Night of Refreshing” where his aim is to have an array of anointed worshipers pour out and to be poured back into. Josiah says that this is especially important in 2019 as God wants ministry coming by way of the minstrels and psalmists to be both relevant and effective.

For updates on Jojo Martin, be sure to follow his IG via www.instagram.com/jojosvoice.

*Photos Courtesy of Marked by Major & Elite Media

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