Salim and Mara-Brock Akil at ATX Television Festival

The sixth annual ATX Television Festival kicks off tomorrow. The ATX Television Festival features wide range of screenings and panels for fans and industry professionals.  The ATX Television Festival also welcomes those just interested in making and enjoying quality television.  Among the highlights of this year’s Festival are the Battlestar Galactica reunion and the Midnight, Texas pilot screening.  Also featured prominently are appearances by Salim and Mara Brock Akil. Salim Akil and his wife Mara Brock Akil have nearly two decades of professional partnership and marriage.  They write, produce and direct television and feature films together as well as apart.

Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil have their own production company and a multi-year development deal with Warner Bros.  Together they are partnering with Berlanti Productions to bring Black Lightning to network television on the CW.  Their prior work together includes The Game and Girlfriends for UPN and the CW, Being Mary Jane for BET and Whitney Houston’s last feature film, Sparkle. Salim also directed the feature Jumping the Broom while Mara was making The Game on the CW. Salim and Mara Brock will have their own panel at the ATX Television Festival on Sunday.   Mara Brock and Salim will participate in other panels discussing how great television gets made as well.

In the entertainment industry, where for every couple success story (like the Akils or Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas or Zack and Deborah Snyder) there are several loud and very public breakups (Arnold Schwarzenegger/ Maria Schriver, Brangelina, Bennifer, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, etc.), we should call attention to the successes.  Marriage and family are still important, being the most stable building block of society.  Neither Salim nor Mara tries to own or dominate the other.  While Mara calls Salim the leader of their family, they both respect and value each other as individuals.  This respect comes out in their work together.  In their feature film work when Salim is directing, Mara lets him take charge.  In their television work, when Mara is executive producer, Salim follows her lead.

Mara and Salim both thrive on creativity and on diversity.  As an executive producer, Mara cultivates a writers room with perspectives from different races, cultures and genders.  And even though they are Muslims, the Akils are not afraid to show Christianity in a prominent and positive light, as in the Baptist church in their feature film Sparkle.  They see themselves as telling American stories foremost, rather than Black stories or stories from any other fragment of society.  Finding the positive, constructive ideas we all agree upon and emphasizing those rather than allowing differences of perspective to divide us, is what makes America strong.

Please come back to to read our coverage of the ATX Television Festival.  Coverage starts tomorrow and continues through the weekend.


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