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Inaugural Beverly Hills Film, TV and New Media Festival Celebrates Emerging Technologies & Features the Humanitarian Documentary Tunahaki

The first festival of its kind in the area, the Beverly Hills Film, TV and New Media Festival will celebrate not only film and television, but also emergent visual entertainment technologies like cell phone media. It will also prominently feature a select group of compelling humanitarian documentaries, including the courageous film Tunahaki.

An eye-opening documentary by Los Angeles filmmaker Mason Bendewald, Tunahaki is the story of a group of young Tanzanian orphans who rise above their bleak surroundings and even bleaker prospects to pursue their artistic dreams. “The festival was looking for humanitarian documentaries that were inspiring, educational and entertaining all at the same time,” notes Festival Director Donna Spangler. “This movie touches a nerve in all of us. It shows that when the human spirit is faced with the worst of circumstances, as long as one sticks to one’s dreams the impossible can be achieved.”

Yet more than just a feel-good tale, Bendewald wisely keeps the camera rolling to capture the unexpected results that unfold from American intervention in the lives of the African orphans. “I think movies like Tunahaki should be shown in all festivals to improve awareness,” added Spangler.

A review committee made up of industry experts led by Spangler and Programming Director Nicole Holland viewed hundreds of submissions for the 8 – day festival that runs October 21st – 28th, selecting just a handful to screen.

Tunahaki is nominated for Best Documentary of the Festival alongside a slate of works that feature such Hollywood heavyweights as Oliver Stone, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Catherine Keener, Samuel L. Jackson, and more.

With red carpet premieres, an opening night charity gala benefiting the American Red Cross, and honorary awards going to luminaries such as Martin Landau, Paul Sorvino, Seymour Cassel and the Jackson Family, the Beverly Hills Film, TV and New Media Festival blends classic Hollywood glamor with honoring the work of pioneers and visionaries who will shape the film and media industries in years to come.

Tunahaki will screen on Tuesday, October 26th at 7:30 PM at the Laemmle Music Hall 3 Theatre, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Advance tickets are available for $11 at Laemmle.com

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