The Brilliance of Black, Bold & Brilliant

Since just June of 2023, Russell Roots, our director of film exhibition and Utah Film Center’s Black, Bold & Brilliant program, has won three awards from several esteemed community organizations! Russell leads BBB alongside teammates Aja Washington and Risshan Leak. The program focuses on authentic and nuanced representation through film critique and discussions led by Black Utahns.

Last June, Roots was the recipient of a Utah Business Living Color award in the “community involvement” category, presented to “individuals and organizations who are working toward a more equitable and inclusive future for our state.” Upon receiving this award, Roots was asked what they would like to see in regards to DEI efforts in Utah. They responded: “I would like to see more nuance in the understanding of non-majority communities and their related cultural customs. Due to the cultural disparities in Utah, relying solely on media created by under-informed (or uninformed) parties often leads to misunderstanding and potential harm. I love programming films, conversations and events that tap into viewers’ passions.”

Shortly following this exciting and honorable distinction, Utah Film Center’s Black, Bold & Brilliant program received the designation of “Best Cultural Program” in City Weekly’s 2023 Best of Utah issue. In the award designation, City Weekly wrote: “So, you thought Utah was a bastion for conservative white people? The Utah Film Center’s series Black, Bold & Brilliant says otherwise…It’s all about opening minds and hearts.”

Most recently, Russell Roots was presented with the Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award by the Utah Cultural Alliance. This award is “presented to an artist, creative worker, or humanities scholar for their significant achievement or milestone accomplishment in the past year.” Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank, presented Roots with the award at the February 2024 Legislative Dinner. Roots delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech, in which they said “I’m here working with the Utah Film Center with the Black, Bold & Brilliant program and as the Director of Film Exhibition, overseeing all of our yearly programming, and I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. I’m excited to be here, I’m excited to be amongst you, and I’m happy to be a part of the arts in Utah.”

At Utah Film Center, we are incredibly excited to have a team full of talented and passionate individuals such as Russell Roots, and programs that bring diverse fine arts, culture, and conversation to Utah like Black, Bold & Brilliant does. We are thrilled that Russell is receiving recognition for their work that helps us all develop a richer understanding of our neighbors, fellow human beings, and the world around us.

Learn more about Utah Film Center’s Film Exhibition and Black, Bold & Brilliant  program and team. 

Russell Roots and Scott Anderson of Zions Bank and Senator Evan Vickers at the 2024 Utah Cultural Alliance Legislative Dinner.
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