Community Coalition on Race Launches Video Competition for SouthNext Festival

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From the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race: 

The community is invited to bring South Orange-Maplewood’s diversity to the big screen through My Story, a video competition hosted by the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race.

Residents of all ages are invited to produce two-minute video vignettes with their smartphone or tablet that feature the vibrant life and distinct experiences in our diverse South Orange/Maplewood community. Videos will be screened at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) during the 2016 SouthNext Festival. Filmmakers will have the chance to win a Curators’ Award from a panel of judges, which will include Emmy-award-winning producer Ken Mandell.

Attendees at the screening can vote for their favorites through the Viewers’ Choice Awards based on specific categories. Winning videos will be posted on the Coalition’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

“My Story is tied to the overall objective of our Integration through the Arts program: removing the racial barriers that separate us by bringing the community together through a common interest,” said Audrey Rowe, Program Director, South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. “We are thrilled to bring this video project to life through a partnership with the highly anticipated SouthNext Festival.”

For aspiring videographers who want to hone their filmmaking skills, professional artist and photographer Mansa Mussa will conduct free one-hour workshops (must be 18 or older to attend) that teach the fundamentals of conceiving, shooting, editing, and adding audio to video. Mussa has used his camera to document human-interest events in the U.S., Caribbean, Africa and Europe for the past 39 years. He currently teaches visual arts courses for the Newark Museum, Arts Horizons, and the Visual Art Center of New Jersey, among other institutions.

“The cellphone and tablet have changed our lives immeasurably. People use them as the ubiquitous history documenter,” said Mussa. “I want people to share what is happening in their everyday lives because their story is part of our community’s story.”

Registered participants may attend as many of the following workshops as they would like:

Sun., April 17 1978 Maplewood Arts Center

1978 Springfield Ave., Maplewood

10:00 am – 10:50 am
11:00 am – 11:50 am
Mon., April 18 South Orange Public Library

65 Scotland Rd., 1st fl., South Orange                         

7:00 pm – 7:50 pm
8:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Thurs., April 21 Pierro Gallery, Baird Center

5 Meade St., 2nd fl., South Orange

7:00 pm – 7:50 pm
8:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Weds., May 4 Maplewood Memorial Library    

 Memorial Hall, 51 Baker St., Maplewood

7:00 pm – 7:50 pm
8:00 pm – 8:50 pm

*Please check for additional dates and changes


My Story Registration and Submission Process

Please register to participate in My Story. Register at and complete the Contact Form by typing “SmartPhone Video” in the Comments section or register by calling 973-761-6116. Participants must provide their own smartphone or tablet to produce the vignettes. Further instructions and details are as follows:

  • Videos are for general public viewing (no profanity or nudity, please)
  •  Completed videos of two minutes or less must be submitted via flash drive and dropped of at the Coalition’s office at 516 Prospect Street, Maplewood, NJ, by June 1, 2016 to qualify for inclusion in the Viewers’ Choice Awards and Curators’ Awards.
  • Submitted videos will be grouped and processed for public viewing by Mansa Mussa.
  • A free pre-screening reception and viewing will be held for registered participants and limited guests. Location and date to be announced.
  •  The South Orange/Maplewood community and general public will be invited to a viewing of My Story videos at SOPAC during one of the 2016 SouthNext Festival days from June 17 through June 19 (a three-day, all-access pass is $30 for the public).
  • Video submitters receive free admission to the My Story SouthNext viewing session only.
  • Winning videos will be posted on the Community Coalition on Race’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page, along with credits for the winning videographers.

South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race        

The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is a nationally recognized non-profit organization committed to building a unique, suburban community that is free of racial segregation in housing patterns and community involvement. The Coalition was founded in 1996 by a diverse group of citizens concerned about stagnating property values and a perceived decline in the quality of local public schools. Twenty years later, the Coalition has developed programs that promote the advantages of living in a racially inclusive community where all aspects of community life are integrated. To learn more about the Coalition and how you can get involved, go to and connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Youtube.

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