An educational documentary on racism from has been accepted at two more U.S. film festivals.

Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism, which released in October 2008, has been accepted in competition at the San Diego Black Film Festival and the Texas Black Film Festival in Dallas.

In competition means the film was part of a competitive entry process and is in consideration for a festival award.

The San Diego festival is in its sixth year. More than 100 films have been accepted for screening between Jan. 29 and Feb. 1 in downtown San Diego. The festival, which includes parties, workshops and panel discussions in addition to film screenings, also serves as a fundraiser for the Black Historical Society of San Diego.

The Texas Black Film Festival, which will show more than 40 films, takes place Feb. 5-7 at the Studio Movie Grill in Dallas and will also include industry parties and workshops.

Beneath the Skin will screen at the San Diego festival on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 9:30 p.m. as part of a screening block of films the festival has dubbed the Hallelujah! Movie Marathon. It will screen at the Texas festival on Friday, Feb. 6 in the 12-2 p.m. screening block.

Beneath the Skin won the award for best documentary at the International Black Film Festival of Nashville in October. It also picked up best documentary honors at the Cine-Fest Motion Picture Expo in Louisville, Ky. in December.

It has also screened at churches in several cities, including Ft. Worth, Texas, Stone Mountain, Ga., and Little Rock, Ark., where the screening and panel discussion drew 170 people.

Robert Parham, founder and executive director of’s parent, Baptist Center for Ethics, said the documentary is getting more recognition beyond the walls of white churches than inside them.

Black America is valuing and honoring our documentary in ways unmatched in white America churches, said Parham. Clearly, the African-American filmmaking community sees the significant value in what we’ve produced. I hope more clergy in moderate white churches will respond with the same energy and enthusiasm. So far, too few moderate-Baptist organizations and universities are sponsoring screenings.

Parham did note that the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will be sponsoring a screening of Beneath the Skin at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham during the Southeast New Baptist Covenant gathering at the end of January.

Beneath the Skin, available on DVD, shows that racism is far from eradicated ”inside or outside the church ”but that many Baptists are working together in proactive ways to break down the racial and ethnic walls of division and to be faithful to the Bible’s moral vision.

Interviewees include: Aidsand Wright-Riggins, executive director of National Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA; Javier Elizondo, executive vice president and provost of Baptist University of the Americas; Emmanuel McCall, pastor of The Fellowship Group in East Point, Ga.; Wayne Ward, a retired theology professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a dozen other Baptist leaders from across the United States.

Beneath the Skin features historical footage and photographs from various archives and personal collections, as well as clips from the New Baptist Covenant gathering in Atlanta in early 2008.

The DVD includes a 35-minute and 47-minute version, as well as several featurettes, including ones on Baptist legends Will Campbell and Henlee Barnette. A free, downloadable discussion guide is available at

Cliff Vaughn is managing editor of

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