PHILADELPHIA, PA / ACCESSWIRE / October 21, 2022 / Comcast NBCUniversal is thrilled to announce the exclusive premiere of the documentary film The return of record-breaking film and Emmy-nominated television producer Will Packer.
packer, a magna cum laude a graduate of Florida A&M University, is a longtime supporter of HBCU initiatives and has chosen to convey the special role they play for their students and alumni. The documentary arrives Thursday, October 20 on the recently launched Black Experience on Xfinity Channel, a one-of-a-kind destination for black entertainment showcasing the ultimate in black storytelling, available on X1, Flex and on the go with the Xfinity Stream App and Xumo app.
In 2020, the global Covid-19 pandemic put a pause on most large-scale university activities and sent students into virtual learning. After a year of confinement and sheltering in place, 2021 marked the return of campuses and the traditions that go with them. In the HBCU world, the largest of these traditions is Homecoming, an annual pilgrimage that brings together thousands of alumni, students, families and friends in one place for a week-long celebration. The return explores the HBCU experience through the lens of these celebrations.
“As a product and supporter of HBCUs, I am honored to support Ali and his vision for this love letter. Many thanks to Comcast’s Black Experience channel on Xfinity for their continued support of these institutions,” Packer said. .
Will Packer has produced or produced a wide range of films that have grossed over $1 billion worldwide at the box office, including 10 films that have opened at number one, and, according to Blackfilm.com, Packer ranks n #1 in terms of worldwide box office and studio earnings based on the 14 films it has produced over the past decade.
The return was shot in 2021 during the pandemic when many schools canceled or limited homecomings. The team visited some of the schools that decided to go ahead with Homecoming events last year, including Jackson State, Florida A&M University and North Carolina Central.
The film features candid conversations with alumni from Morehouse, Spelman, Clark Atlanta, Howard, FAMU, Tennessee State, Jackson State, NC A&T, and more. The many stories they tell explain the unique and shared experience of attending an HBCU. Notable alumni featured in the film include Jackson State University principal Cortez Bryant-Music and Packer, who attended FAMU.
Some of the topics covered in the film include:
- establish the house – The film explores the decision-making process to attend an HBCU rather than the more traditional, predominantly white institutions. While this may be an easy decision for some, for others it may be difficult.
- The safe space – The HBCU experience does not reflect the real world. This is often one of the lines high school students hear from guidance counselors and alumni when deciding to attend an HBCU. However, this is precisely why Homecoming is so special to so many people. The HBCU is a place to come of age and find your place in the world outside the gaze of mainstream America.
- The return – The experience of “The Return” is to return again and again to this safe space. It’s about greeting old friends and familiar faces, while browsing all that Homecoming has to offer. This includes beloved traditions like The Yard, The Day Party, The Parade, The Tailgate, The Game and The Bands.
- Gift – Reunions aren’t all parties and fanfare. It’s also one of the most important times to give back. The film delves into this process and what it means to these institutions, as well as the trustees’ and alumni’s philosophy of giving.
“We are thrilled to be working with producer, Will Packer, and emerging director Ali Muhammad to bring this exclusive premiere to the Black Experience channel on Xfinity, furthering our company-wide mission to invest in and showcase authentic black stories and culture,” said Keesha Boyd, executive director, multicultural video and entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. “When we launched this channel in 2021, our goal was to make it easier to discover authentic stories like The returnwhile providing a platform for our existing partners, as well as emerging black content creators.”
Black Experience on Xfinity is a one-of-a-kind destination for entertainment, movies, TV shows, news and more. It features high-quality content from many of Xfinity’s existing network partners at no additional cost, while investing millions of dollars in emerging black content creators through production, distribution and marketing efforts. The channel is the only one of its kind endorsed by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the world’s largest group of black film critics that awards annual awards for excellence in film and television. Available at home on Xfinity X1 and Flexand on the move with the Xfinity stream app, the Black Experience on Xfinity entertains, educates and uplifts, featuring black actors, writers, producers and directors. At home, Xfinity customers can visit channel 1622 or simply say “Black Experience” into the voice remote to instantly experience the ultimate in black storytelling.
THE SOURCE: Comcast Company
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