“Traveling While Black” Premieres April 28 & 29, 2019 at Ben’s Chili Bowl


April 15, 2019Washington, DC —Traveling While Black, directed by Academy Award Winner Roger Ross Williams, will have its Washington, DC premiere during this year’s Washington, DC International Film Festival on April 28 and April 29 (filmfestdc.org). Traveling While Black is a 20-minute 3D, 360-degree virtual reality documentary filmed in Washington’s iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant. The VR experience will immerse the viewer in the long history of restricted movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in Black communities as identified in “The Green Book”, including Ben’s Chili Bowl. Admission is free.

Traveling While Black was co-produced by Felix & Paul Studios and Traveling While Black, Inc. in collaboration with Facebook’s Oculus. It was directed in collaboration with Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël and co-directed by Ayesha Nadarajah. At its world premiere at the Sundance Festival, visitors entered a re-creation of the historic “safe space” restaurant. The exhibition is currently on a tour of major cities and plans are in the works for a related television series.

Washington, DC International Film Festival  

Now in its 33rd year, the Washington, DC International Film Festival runs April 25 to May 5. Filmfest DC hosts 80 films from 45 countries to show across 11 days for 1 exciting festival. This year’s programming span across a variety of categories, including World View (international films), Foodflix, Global Rhythms, Justice Matters, Thrillers, Comedy, Shorts and more! Filmfest DC has developed into Washington’s largest film festival and one of our city’s premiere cultural activities – filmfestdc.org.

About Traveling While Black

Traveling While Black began in 2010 when Broadway and Executive Producer Bonnie Nelson Schwartz premiered a play called “The Green Book” at the Lincoln Theatre – next  door to Ben’s Chili Bowl. Both are on Washington, DC’s historic“ Black Broadway.” The play starred Julian Bond as Victor Green, creator of the Green Book, a guide for Black travelers during segregation. National attention followed and Director Roger Ross Williams joined Schwartz to create the Traveling While Black project.

A National Touring Exhibition

Traveling While Black (TWB) has launched a nation-wide tour of the Traveling While Black Exhibition slated to tour civil rights museums throughout the country.  Through the VR exhibition, the museumgoers will experience a deeper understanding of what segregation was like historically in today’s world of “stop and frisk.”  The TWB exhibition will gather multi-generational experiences and contemporary stories of “traveling while black” highlighting the urgent need to remember this past, build critical empathy, and facilitate a dialogue about the challenges minority travelers still face today.

About Roger Ross Williams

Roger Ross Williams is an award-winning director, producer and writer and the first African American director to win an Academy Award ®, with his short film Music By Prudence. Williams was recently named by Variety to the New York Power List as a ‘digitally savvy, entrepreneurial trailblazer’ in the entertainment industry.

Williams has directed a variety of acclaimed films including Life Animated, which was nominated for an Academy Award ® in 2016 and won three Emmys, including the award for Best Documentary, in 2018. He also directed God Loves Uganda, which was shortlisted for an Academy Award ®.

About Felix and Paul Studios

Felix & Paul Studios, headquartered in Montreal Canada with offices in Los Angeles, is an EMMY® Award-winning immersive entertainment studio, creating virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences of the highest quality. The studio combines technological innovation with a unique, pioneering and in-depth approach to the new art of XR storytelling—creating groundbreaking original immersive  (Jurassic WorldCirque du Soleil, Fox Searchlight’s Wild and Isle of Dogs, and collaborations with NASA, SpaceX, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, LeBron James, President Bill Clinton, Eminem, Wes Anderson, Brie Larson, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray and many others).

For additional information and/or interview requests please contact Vida Ali at (310) 859-4730 or vida@benschilibowl.com

Nizam Ali