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Celebrities turn out for Atlanta premiere of Bessie

Actress Jasmine Guy on the red carpet of the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

A host of celebrities and local talent attended the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s upcoming original film Bessie earlier this week.

The invite-only event at The Rialto Center for the Arts attracted nearly 500 attendees, including actors, musicians and dancers who appeared in the movie.

Actress Jasmine Guy on the red carpet of the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

Actress Jasmine Guy on the red carpet of the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

The soiree, presented by HBO and the Georgia Film Office, was hosted by the film’s producer Shelby Stone and lead actor Tory Kittles. Guests enjoyed movie-style snacks, including popcorn, homemade cookies and an assortment of candies.

Based on the life of legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, the movie is already creating a buzz, with film buffs praising Oscar-nominee Queen Latifah’s poignant portrayal of Smith. Directed by Dee Rees (“Pariah”), the flick focuses on the Jazz icons  turbulent life and transformation from a struggling singer to “the Empress of the Blues,” who became one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s.

During Monday’s event, Bessie was presented a Phoenix Award from the City of Atlanta, recognizing the singer’s ties to Georgia and commending the production for its contribution to the state.

Not only was Atlanta a featured city in Bessie, the movie was filmed almost entirely in Georgia. The production generated more than $16 million into the state economy, employing nearly 1,700 cast and crew in more than 27 locations.

The film is based on a screenplay by Dee Rees and Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois, with a story by Dee Rees and Horton Foote. Cast members include Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tory Kittles, Tika Sumpter, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, Charles S. Dutton and Mo’Nique.

Guests at the screening included film and stage actresses, Donna Bisco and Maria Howell; legendary casting director, Reuben Cannon and his wife, “Drumline 2″ actress, Jasmine Burke; “Living Single” actor, T.C. Carson, “A Different World” star, Jasmine Guy; comedic actor, Rodney Perry; Bronze Lens Film Festival Founder, Kathleen Bertrand, media personality, Karyn Greer; and actress, Tammy McGarity.

Bessie debuts Saturday, May 16 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) exclusively on HBO.

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti

Check out more photos of the screening here:

Comedian Rodney Perry at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

Comedian Rodney Perry at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

Atlanta actors, dancers, singers and musicians in Bessie at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

Atlanta actors, dancers, singers and musicians in Bessie at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

Some of "The Queen's" costumes on display at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

Some of “The Queen’s” costumes on display at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: ‘InDaHouseMedia’ Jerome Dorn

Bessie film poster at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: CatMax Photography

Bessie film poster at the Atlanta premiere screening of HBO’s original film Bessie on May 4, 2015 at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: CatMax Photography

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Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz. Previously, she worked as a News Correspondent for NBC’s theGrio. Prior, she was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. Tinuoye currently sits on the SXSW Pitch Advisory Board and CES Conference Advisory Board. She is a key player in the Atlanta tech startup ecosystem and serves as a mentor for Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator. Tinuoye has received several awards and accolades, including being honored with a Resolution from the Georgia Legislative.
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