37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL Oct 30-Nov 3, 2024

37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL October 30-November 3, 2024

Short Films: Heroes You Should Know


Five inspirational stories of American heroes whose accomplishments deserve a bigger spotlight. These documentary shorts explore the lives and legacies of an artist chronicling a disappearing Black Washington, an LGBTQIA+ activist, a pioneering sportscaster, a principled politician, and scuba diver salvaging the wreckage of a slave ship.

Program followed by discussion with A Chocolate Lens director Gabriel Veras and film subject Steven Cummings. Moderated by Joe Fab (VAFF).

Black Godfather of Scuba (25 min.) follows the extraordinary life and mission of Dr. Albert Jose “Doc” Jones, co-founder of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers. For Doc, scuba diving has never just been a ‘sport’. As a marine biologist, war veteran and diving pioneer, the ocean has been central to both his profession, his sense of community and his wellbeing. After diving at the wreck of the Henrietta Marie, the first lost slave ship ever to be recovered, he dedicated himself to finding and recovering the remains of others, and to making sure those lost souls would never be forgotten.

There Are Things To Do (18 min.) Urvashi Vaid, an outspoken immigrant, lesbian and woman of color an LGBTQ+ superhero helped shape the modern day gay rights movement. Her vision for the movement serves as a roadmap of initiatives & tools for generations of activist as they face anti-LGBTQ+ backlash.

A Chocolate Lens (21 min.) How do you take a picture and tell a whole story. A Chocolate Lens chronicles Steven Cummings’s photographic journey through a disappearing Black Washington. His approach was simple: use the camera lens to find the power amidst the storm. His images are a love letter to Black people across America.

Sanctuary (15 min.) In the first city to ban abortion in Ohio, a lifelong resident grapples with the transformation of her hometown.

Interception: Jayne Kennedy • American Sportscaster (15 min.) When a bronze-skin bombshell rocks the world of Sunday Morning Football, millions tune in… but few know the tumultuous story of Jayne Kennedy, the first Black woman to boldly run interception on the racial lines of American sportscasting.



Sunday, October 29


5:45 PM


Violet Crown 4

Film Info

Runtime: 92 min.

Genre: Shorts