Bronx's Ghetto Film School students get special early screening of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'

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Thursday, November 10, 2022
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Students at the Ghetto Film School in the Bronx got to watch 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' in Harlem, a day before it premieres nationwide.

HARLEM (WABC) -- Students in Harlem got to see the much-awaited sequel to 'Black Panther' Wednesday night, ahead of the film's official release on Thursday.

The movie, titled 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever', is expected to open at number one, given the original movie grossed more than $1.3 billion around the world.

These lucky students got the advanced screening courtesy of Disney, and their excitement was palpable in the Magic Johnson Theater.

Before watching the movie, expectations were very high, thanks to the impact of the first 'Black Panther'. One student said she could hardly sleep the night before she got to see 'Wakanda Forever' for free.

"I was also really excited to be somewhere that I know the theaters get loud and are usually filled with people of color just like enjoying movies," another student, Kiara Battle, said.

Many of the students were anxious to see how the film would incorporate the late Chadwick Boseman, who played 'King T'Challa', also known as the 'Black Panther', in the first movie.

"That's what I'm definitely looking forward to seeing and how they work around that and if they do it in a way that's creative and also makes sense," Thailer Fox said about the sequel.

"Leaving the theater, I just felt different. I felt like a different person," she said afterward.

The students are part of a program at the Ghetto Film School in the Bronx.

"We recruit students from historically underrepresented neighborhoods: diverse, young creatives cuz we believe you start from a young age; you grab 'em when they're young; you teach them filmmaking; you find amazing storytellers," Executive Director of the NY Ghetto Film School John Mernacaj said.

The school gets support from a program called 'Disney Future Storytellers'.

Eyewitness News' Sade Baderinwa hosted the Harlem screening, which came with some free advice,

"You don't have to be the smartest person in the room, but you certainly have to be one who's most aggressive: really trying to seek opportunities, and as you climb, remember-be a good person," Baderinwa said.

This is just one event that is part of a Disney initiative to support young people. The initiative goes beyond these free screenings to award $1 million worth of grants to non-profits like the Ghetto Film School.

Disney is the parent company that owns ABC.

MORE NEWS: New MOMA exhibit recognizes JAM, a 1980s Black art gallery that contributed to the NYC art scene

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