The flourishing festival doubles in size and presents 75 films from artists of African descent from across the globe!
Special Honor will be given to Howard University Film Program
BlackStar Film Festival, supported by the James S. and John L. Knight Foundation, today announces its official program selections for the 2nd annual BlackStar Film Festival. BSFF will screen 75 feature films, short films, and music videos representing four continents, along with a special awards ceremony, panels, concerts, receptions, and a screenplay competition.
Just in its second year, BlackStar opens Thursday, August 1, and runs through Sunday, August 4. The festival will primarily take place at International House of Philadelphia (3701 Chestnut Street) with additional screenings at Drexel University (33rd & Chestnut Streets) and The Barnes Foundation (2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway).
Dubbed the “black Sundance” by Ebony.com in its inaugural year, the festival has doubled in size and is already considered a must-attend gathering for filmmakers, industry insiders, cineastes, and critics. It is destined to become a launching pad for many of the most talked about films from the African diaspora.
This year the festival will launch an awards competition and an audience awards component as well as a special honor for the Howard University Film Program, which will be presented to renowned director Haile Gerima on Sunday, August 4.
“Black identity is not small or narrow. Yet often, when we watch movies created by the major studios we see the same stories repeated. Our hope is that BlackStar disrupts stereotypes and creates a visual conversation about the diversity of blackness that carries on long after the credits roll,” says festival founder and artistic director Maori Karmael Holmes. “Too many filmmakers spend countless hours and thousands of dollars to create brilliant films that never get seen. BlackStar is part of a burgeoning independent infrastructure that connects underrepresented artists of color with their kindred audiences and opportunities for greater exposure.”
Highlights include the world premiere of Wangechi Mutu’s THE END OF EATING EVERYTHING, the Philadelphia premiere of Andrew Dosonmu’s MOTHER OF GEORGE (Q&A with the director and director of cinematography Bradford Young) and David Tosh Gitonga’s NAIROBI HALF LIFE, as well as a special presentation of Victoria Mahoney’s YELLING TO THE SKY (Q&A with actors Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Yolanda Ross).
The 2nd annual BlackStar Film Festival is proud to present the following feature films: BLACK FEBRUARY (dir. Vipal Monga, USA, 2011); HIP HOP: THE NEW WORLD ORDER (dir. Muhammida El Muhajir, USA, Japan, France, UK, South Africa & Brazil, 2013); ELZA (dir. Mariette Monpierre, Guadeloupe & France, 2012); LIVING THINKERS: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE IVORY TOWER (dir. Roxana Walker-Canton, USA, 2013); QUESTION BRIDGE: BLACK MALES (dirs. Hank Willis Thomas, Kamal Sinclair, Bayeté Ross Smith & Chris Johnson, USA, 2012); AFRICAN INDEPENDENCE (dir. Tukufu Zuberi, USA, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania & Ghana, 2012); AUJOURD’HUI/TEY (dir. Alain Gomis, France & Senegal, 2012); BUTTERFLY RISING (dir. Tanya Wright, USA, 2012); HOME:______ (dir. Jono Oliver, USA, 2012); HOMEGOINGS (dir. Christine Turner, USA, 2013); MOTHER OF GEORGE (dir. Andrew Dosonmu, USA, 2013); NAIROBI HALF LIFE (dir. David Tosh Gitonga, Germany & Kenya, 2012); THINGS NEVER SAID (dir. Charles Murray, USA, 2012).
Our shorts program include: ARTS SHORTS, BLACK RADICAL IMAGINATION, DARKNESS BEFORE THE LIGHT, THIS IS WHO I AM: SHORT FILMS BY YOUTH FILMMAKERS, TINY SPARKS: CHILDREN’S & FAMILY FILMS, CHASING SONIC RAINBOWS: MUSIC VIDEOS, and FREEDOM UNFOLDS.
View the entire festival schedule here.