6th Annual Festival

August 3-6, 2017


We invite you to help support our 2017 festival and join us in our mission to push back against the closed doors of the mainstream industry while giving a platform for viewing black cinema on the big screen on our own terms. Help us continue to create a space for dialogue among filmmakers, patrons, and enthusiasts, click the Support tab to make a donation.


Become a member and receive discounts, VIP access, and special perks.



We’re looking for Social Media and PR interns for this year’s festival



Come reminisce with us through the best moments of the 2016 Festival!



Read interviews with filmmakers and reviews from last year’s films.


A Look Back

Check out the gallery of photos from previous festivals


Film Lineup

In 2016 we presented over 60 films—a carefully curated selection of some of the best independent films made by and about people of African descent and global indigenous communities. Here’s a small sample of some of the films we featured.

Feature Narrative

Lambadina (Night Light)

A journey that opens in the Addis Ababa and ends in Los Angeles, depicting the challenges of establishing life in a foreign land.

Feature Documentary

Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema from UCLA

Documenting critically acclaimed yet relatively unknown black filmmakers and media artists known as the Los Angeles Rebellion.

Short Narrative


A modern Romeo and Juliet meet on a city bus. Life is great when you’re in love. However, unfortunately your fate has already been sealed.


Reluctantly Queer

A young Ghanaian man struggles to reconcile his love for his mother with his love for same-sex desire amid the increased tensions incited by same-sex politics in Ghana.

Short Documentary

Two Cities

Locked inside the mind and memory of Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika, reflecting what it means to be part of the displaced New Orleans population in Houston.

Short Narrative


After being beaten up and humiliated by a group of tough kids, an awkward and quirky pre-teen finds something out that inspires him to stand up to himself.

Feature Narrative

9 Rides

On the busiest night of the year, an Uber driver in Los Angeles gets life-changing news.

Join Us

For the 6th celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of color in a global context.

2017 schedule and details to come!

Latest News

April 8, 2017

We’re very excited to have a selection of 17 films from the BlackStar catalog streaming on XFINITY’s Streampix channel! Beginning this month catch some past festival favorites and winners—new titles are added weekly. On the partnership, Comcast’s Executive Director of Multicultural Products and Consumer Services, Keesha Boyd, noted, “We’re excited to officially announce we have partnered […]

August 31, 2016

In case you missed the special public conversation on black aesthetics between legendary director and professor Haile Gerima and filmmaker/scholar John L. Jackson, Jr., during the festival, or if you were there and would like to relive it, you can watch the conversation online. The discussion of politics, love, black aesthetics, philosophy, self-definition, and depictions of the […]

July 25, 2016

BlackStar Film Festival 2016 Photography Exhibit Opening: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 7:00pm to 9:00pm (Members Preview: 5:30pm to 6:30pm) On view from July 26 to August 7, 2016 at International House of Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street in University City. Rashid Zakat and Lendl Tellington present portraits of filmmakers, scholars, and cultural workers.This exhibit expands upon […]

Sponsors & Partners

The 2016 BlackStar Film Festival is generously supported by the Wyncote Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Streampix, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, Barra Foundation, PECO, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, PNAA Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Lomax Family Foundation, Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Hess Foundation, Fox Rothschild LLP, Korbel & Sonoma-Cutrer, Leeway Foundation, Middle East Center University of Pennsylvania, Generocity, Firelight Media, Okayplayer, PhillyCAM, WURD, and individual donors; as well as a gracious network of partners including All Ages Productions, The Barnes Foundation, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, International House Philadelphia, Johnny Brenda’s, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, Moxy PR, and Scribe Video Center.

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