Shefik (Virtually) Travels to South Africa to Host New Video Series for Hip Hop Film Festival

JOHANNESBURG — Out of over 5,000 festivals in the world, Hip Hop Film Festival ( is the only festival to focus on writers, directors, and producers who grew up in the global culture of hip-hop. While the main festival is headquartered in New York City during the first week of August every year, the world tour is currently underway. From Saturday, May 30, 2020 to Sunday, May 31, 2020, the festival will be held in South Africa, highlighting filmmakers from that area. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, this year’s festival will be held online. Free all access passes are available via Eventbrite at, upon donation to Harlem Film House, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Harlem Film House is the production arm of Hip Hop Film Festival, operating year round workshops, theatre productions, and live events. While also offering business consulting to filmmakers and content creators in underserved communities around the world, Harlem Film House creates an economic ecosystem, by providing filmmakers various services and resources to ensure career longevity in film, theatre, and related entrepreneurial pursuits.

Founded by filmmaker and philanthropist C R Capers, Hip Hop Film Festival features every genre (mystery, sci-fi, horror, action, romance, etc.), from filmmakers throughout the world. It is also the only film festival that shares the profits from the festival with the filmmakers selected to participate. Although the festival is titled “Hip Hop”, that does not necessarily mean all films will be about hip-hop. Rather, the term is used in reference to the filmmakers who grew up in the elemental culture of hip-hop and the wide-ranging narratives they project to the screen, as a result of being incubated by such culture.

“As Hip Hop Film Festival branches into South Africa, the festival continues its commitment to empowering filmmakers and movie lovers that grew up in the universal culture of hip-hop,” says C R Capers.

Media personality Shefik ( of the syndicated radio show “Shefik presents Invocation” ( is hosting a new video series titled “Conversations from the Culture” for Hip Hop Film Festival in South Africa. Although episodes of the series are available for viewing on-demand via exclusive broadcast on 24/7 Films (, the series itself will make its official debut during the festival, on Sunday, May 31, 2020, starting at 2 p.m. SAST (8 a.m. EDT). Selected South African filmmakers sit down with Shefik to discuss film, South African politics, and more. The complete festival schedule can be viewed at

Comprised of key selections and finalists of Hip Hop Film Festival in South Africa, Season 1 of “Conversations from the Culture” highlights the following filmmakers based in South Africa and its surrounding areas: Lwazi Nonyukela (The Chronicles of African Battle Rap); Gugulethu (Zulu Return); Richard Fontaine (Zulu Return); Madu Dube (Conversations with Millennials); Refilwe Moseamedi (The Pursuit of Achaz); Megan-Leigh Heilig (It’s Where You Find Yourself); Reinier Smit (The Fighter); Brendon Groenewald (Original Royals); SPeeKa (Slaghuis Joint Elements); Khalid Kader (The New Wave, The Message); Cole Gallant (The New Wave); Nic Botha (The Message); Mzwakhe Dhlamini (Tales from the Fisch); Abongile Ntsatha (Sipho Dlamini); and Thanky L. Hamutenya (Ntombezulu).

“South Africa has some of the most compelling filmmakers I have ever engaged with,” says Shefik. “Their stories are thoughtful, compelling, and vibrant with amazing energy.”

Shefik is a Professional Member at the New York Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (New York Emmys), as well as a National Associate Member at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Primetime Emmy Awards). The organizations are dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational, and technical achievements within the television industry. They recognize excellence in television with the coveted Emmy Award.

As a multiple award wining videographer and producer, Shefik’s work has been featured in television broadcasts and video productions for TIME magazine, The Washington Center, “Unsung” (TV One), Broadway World, and a major news station in New York City. Additionally, his photography has been featured in print and online publications, such as Daily Mail, Harvard Kennedy School Magazine, Playbill, and China Press. Shefik currently serves as a Technical Lead at NBCUniversal, where he is leading the development of business critical applications and web-based technology for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan; the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China; as well as other major sporting events throughout the world for NBC Sports.



  ‘American Wisper’ is the true story of the unsolved
murders of an African American family.
In the summer of 2016, three children and their mother were found
shot to death in their large, N.J. suburban home.
They were discovered by father and husband Josiah Wisper


– A brash businessman who owned bars, restaurants, stores and real estate in Harlem, New York. Wisper quickly became a pariah in the Harlem community – and was viewed with suspicion by friends, relatives, and people he had known for nearly half his life.
The film is based on true events, and based on withheld police reports issued at the time of the murders.
And, according to producer Howard Nash, the ending will leave you speechless.

The producers want it known that they are seeking to have the original case re-opened, and feel that a film in wide release is the only way to make that happen.
But, a clarion “Call to Action” isn’t as easy as it sounds: according to writer/producer Howard Nash, “I’ve noticed a fair amount of bias when it comes to smaller, independent films with African American leads.

The smaller movie sites and platforms are not even selecting them. So it becomes even more important to get the word out, so that people can see things for themselves.” Nash raised his funding independently, and today remains gratified that he ignored Hollywood’s “professional” advice while he was developing the project.
Indeed, Nash says American Wisper is the movie that Hollywood hoped would never get made. When presenting the project to major studios, he was repeatedly told that “no one will ever come and see it”.. and one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood once told Nash to “make the family white”, as doing so would make the project “a lot more marketable”. It has now played at festivals all over the world, won nine International Film Festival awards, and is currently nominated for seven more. But, more importantly, it continues to expand its audience, having clocked more than 57,000 views on Amazon since its release in March.

“Wisper.. a very tight thriller without clear heroes or victims—thanks to a tight directorial effort, a tense
script and strong performances by all involved.. it’s a genre movie that shouldn’t be missed.”
Mike Haberfelner / SMT News & Reviews

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“As the Earth Turns” – 80 years-in-the-making award-winning silent Sci-Fi film!

The stock market has crashed, the economy is failing, there is political turmoil around the world.  As much as this sounds like today’s news headlines, this is the the world of a young man in the Pacific Northwest over 80 years ago.

In 1937, in Seattle, a twenty-year old budding filmmaker using his own equipment, had already created 58 plays and 9 never released, award-winning films. This director would go on to work for Disney Studios, and direct and edit a 1950 Academy Award Documentary. Richard H. Lyford’s films have developed a following among film historians since his early “amateur” films are some of the first “indie” films ever created outside of Hollywood. Lyford experimented with special effects, and models, and was becoming an excellent director. His final and most challenging film of this era was “As the Earth Turns”, with a screenplay based on “The Man Who Rocked the Earth” by Arthur Train and Robert Williams Wood, 1915. It was filmed in the Pacific Northwest, in and around Seattle. “As the Earth Turns”, is presented for the first time after 80 years of development! To finish his vision, a professionally mixed orchestral soundtrack, by Pacific Northwest film composer, Ed Hartman has been added to the presentation.

“As the Earth Turns” is a 45 minute, sci-fi film that foresaw WWII, future- technology, climate change, and the extreme need for peace, as the world was drifting back into world war again.   The film has been in 121 festivals, and won 135 awards/nominations.
The main character, “PAX” (“Peace” in Latin), is played by Lyford, himself, a scientist who desperately wants peace. He uses climate-changing science to keep mankind from war. The lead actors are both male and female. The lead actress, Barbara Berger (AKA Barbara Berjer) portrays a hard-working newspaper reporter. Her strong character, “Julie Weston” leads the hunt for the villain all the way to the end of the film. Berger had a long career on Broadway and television (ironically including “As the World Turns”).

The acting is dramatic, professional and realistic. Lyford used early homemade FX including controlled dynamite explosions and miniature models similar to those used in “Flash Gordon” (1936 Serial). His make-up work was excellent (he loved Lugosi and horror films) and his framing of the picture is mature and developed. Lyford was very capable of directing his acting troupe, as well. A legendary location in Seattle, “Gasworks” was used for PAX’s lair. The film has similar themes to “Things to Come”(1936), “In Like Flint” (1967), and even a little “Austin Powers” (1997). Some of the dialogue seems to come out of the TV series “Star Trek” (1966), and even “Dr. Strangelove”(1964). The film was shot in B&W, but the last scene was shot color for dramatic purpose, foreshadowing “Wizard of Oz” in 1939.

“As the Earth Turns” is an example of a true “indie” film, completely shot outside of Hollywood. It is an amazing educational film for any filmmaker to learn from. This filmmaking had no sophisticated technology available. It has multiple- exposure
sequences (including a very professional title sequence), “day for night” shooting, simple transitions, and intense editing between live-action and miniature model sequences. Richard Lyford did his best with very limited resources. This film is a great lesson for anyone in media creation, today.

“As the Earth Turns” now available on Amazon.  Coming to Turner Classic Movies in the fall of 2020.  Other distribution TBA.