Selah And The Spades Wins Best Narrative Feature The Infiltrators Wins Best Documentary Feature Warrior Women and Sprinter Win Audience Awards
Philadelphia, PA – (August 4, 2019) – The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) announced the winners of the 2019 Festival awards. The Festival, which took place August 1-4, 2019 in Philadelphia, continued its legacy of discovery and excellence, presenting a stellar slate of black, brown and indigenous films from around the globe. In addition to packed film screenings, BlackStar 2019 lineup featured a sneak preview of Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, a new documentary series from executive producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Alex Gibney. The fest also featured the highly anticipated artist conversation with award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee and activist Tarana Burke.
“It has been another festival year of warm reunions, new connections and powerful films. It has been an honor to share these stories and perspectives with our festival audience. As we continue to grow BlackStar, I look forward to seeing more work from these artists.” said Maori Holmes, BlackStar Director.
Dr. Yaba Blay and Rashid Zakat hosted the awards ceremony at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, following the Closing NIght Film presentation of three short films: As Told To G/d Thyself, directed by The Ummah Chroma (Bradford Young, Terence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas & Kamasi Washington); BLACK TO TECHNO, directed by Jenn Nkiru; and When I Get Home, directed by Solange Knowles.
Best Feature Narrative Award was given to Selah And The Spades, directed by Tayarisha Poe. And the Best Feature Documentary was given to The Infiltrators, directed by Cristina Ibarra & Alex Rivera.
During the ceremony, Program Director Nehad Khader presented the Richard Nichols Luminary Award to Marcia Smith, President of Firelight Media; a non profit production company dedicated to using historical film to advance contemporary social justice causes, and to mentoring, inspiring and training a new generation of diverse young filmmakers committed to advancing underrepresented stories.
This year also marked the launch of the inaugural BlackStar Pitch. 8 filmmakers were selected to pitch their projects in front of a live audience and a panel of esteemed judges to receive feedback and have an opportunity to win a cash prize of $1,000.This first BlackStar Pitch was focused on feature documentary projects and was open to any filmmaker who identifies as a person of color. The 2019 BlackStar Pitch prize went to Higher 15 from filmmaker Ameha Molla.
Full list of nominated films and winners are as follows:
Best Feature Documentary Nominees
Always in Season (Director: Jacqueline Olive)
The Infiltrators (Directors: Cristina Ibarra & Alex Rivera) ** winner
Titixe (Directors: Tania Hernández Velasco)
Best Feature Narrative Nominees
Jezebel (Director: Numa Perrier)
Selah and the Spades (Director: Tayarisha Poe) ** winner
Temporada (Long Way Home) (Director: André Novais Oliveira)
The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) is thrilled to announce the Philadelphia premiere of When I Get Home, a film from visual artist and singer/songwriter Solange Knowles. The extended director’s cut will feature new scenes and musical arrangements of her interdisciplinary performance art film “When I Get Home”.
Maori Holmes, Director of BlackStar, shares, “I continue to be impressed with Solange’s multi-disciplinary artistic practice in its unapologetic commitment to a radical black aesthetic. She is a force, imbued by both reverence to her creative ancestors and a futuristic swagger. I am excited that she has chosen BlackStar for her festival debut; When I Get Home takes on a much more layered meaning!”
When I Get Home will screen on August 4th, as part of BlackStar’s Closing Night Film Presentation of films that examine cultural history through music, and/or collaborations with musicians who are also directors. Program lineup is as follows:
As Told To G/d Thyself (2019)
Directors: The Ummah Chroma (Bradford Young, Terence Nance, Jenn Nkiru, Marc Thomas & Kamasi Washington)
The story of the sacred youth and the stakes of a cosmic journey, where the embodiment and the pain, pleasure and sublimation there-in are non-negotiable.
BLACK TO TECHNO (2019)
Director: Jenn Nkiru
BLACK TO TECHNO is a music documentary charting the anthropological, socio-economical, geopolitical roots of techno from Detroit and how it travelled and translated into becoming the soundtrack to the fall of the wall in Berlin.
When I Get Home (2019)
Synopsis: Visual artist and singer/songwriter Solange Knowles presents an extended directors cut featuring new scenes and musical arrangements of her interdisciplinary performance art film “When I Get Home”. The film will premiere across renowned Museums and Contemporary Arts Institutions across USA and Europe from 17 July before closing as part of Chinati Weekend on 13 October 2019
The film was directed and edited by Solange Knowles with contributing directors Alan Ferguson, Terence Nance, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Ray Tintori. Additional art courtesy of Houston artists Autumn Knight and Robert Pruitt and collage work by Gio Escobar of Standing on The Corner. The film also features new sculptural work by the artist, “Boundless Body” (2019), an 8 by 100 ft. rodeo arena displayed in the desert of Marfa, which sits alongside many architectural wonders in the film, such as the Rothko Chapel at the Menil Collection and the I. M. Pei designed Dallas City Hall.
When I Get Home is an exploration of origin and spiritual expedition. The film confronts how much of us have we taken or left behind in our evolutions, and how much fear determines this? The artist returned to her home state of Texas to answer this through an expedition of a futurist rodeo uplifting the narrative of black cowboys and honoring her Houston lineage through this visual meditation.
The BlackStar Film Festival (BlackStar) runs August 1-4, 2019, in various venues across Philadelphia. The 8th edition of the festival continues a legacy of film presentations and conversations that celebrate black, brown and indigenous films from around the globe. For more information on the film details, tickets, attending filmmakers, and special receptions, please visit BlackStarFest.org
If you are interested to cover the festival, and require a media credential, please email your request to: email@example.com.
We are proud to announce our partnership with Common Field — a national network of experimental, independent, visual arts organizations and organizers — to bring the annual Convening to Philadelphia, PA from April 25 – 28, 2019. The Common Field Convening is an itinerant gathering that brings together 500+ local and national arts organizers to explore the state of the field of artists organizations and to share resources, knowledge and methods for artist-led, artist-run, and artist-centered projects, spaces and practices.
Over the past year, Common Field has worked with BlackStar as part of a group of 14 local organizing partners as well as a growing network of 80+ Philadelphia arts organizations and organizers in order to connect the local contexts and conditions with the interests of the national Common Field Network.
As a platform for gathering the many artist centered organizations, the Convening recognizes the value of their contributions as a critical and central part of the city’s cultural fabric. It builds awareness for these practices that often take place in unique contexts, and serve and represent more diverse communities. Together we understand there is an urgency to gather around issues of social justice and equity, as well as practical needs and tools for many organizations in our network.
BlackStar Film Festival proudly announces the winners of the 2018 Festival awards. The Festival, which took place August 2-5, 2018 in Philadelphia, attracted thousands of film enthusiasts with multiple sold-out events.
This year’s festival featured over 80 films from around the world, including the debut of Terence Nance’s HBO late-night series Random Acts of Flyness. Juried awards were presented at the BlackStar Awards Ceremony at World Café Live. Audience favorite awards are determined by audience member ballots. 2018 award winners include:
Best Feature Documentary Douvan Jou Ka Leve (Gessica Généus)
Best Narrative Feature Jinn (Nijila Mu’min)
Best Short Documentary Nuuca (Michelle Latimer)
Best Short Narrative Where the Water Runs (Dubois N. Ashong)
Best Experimental Film Fucked Like a Star (Stefani Saintonge)
Best Youth Film (Ages 11-18) blu blak (King Ali Emeka)
Best Youth Film (Ages 19-22) I Have Something to Tell You (Tshireletso Phalatse, Kagiso Baloyi, Rethabile Milisi)
21st Century Global Inclusion Awards for Emerging Voices: Narrative War Paint (Katrelle Kindred)
21st Century Global Inclusion Awards for Emerging Voices: Documentary Birth of Afrobeat (Opiyo Okeyo)
Favorite Experimental Film: Fucked Like a Star (Stefani Saintonge)
Favorite Documentary Feature: The Feeling of Being Watched (Assia Boundaoui)
Favorite Narrative Feature: Jinn (Nijila Mu’min)
Favorite Documentary Short: Black 14 (Darius Clark Monroe)
Favorite Narrative Short: Where theWater Runs (Dubois N. Ashong)
Favorite Youth Film (11-18): Beyond My Skin (Aniya Wolf)
Favorite Youth Film (19-22): Hot and Bothered (Leah Byrd)
About the BlackStar Film Festival
BlackStar is a highly visible platform for independent black filmmakers and films about black people from around the world, providing genre-defying and beautifully crafted works to a diverse audience thirsty for fresh perspectives. The only event of its kind in Philadelphia—focusing on cinema of the African Diaspora and global indigenous communities—the four-day weekend festival provides an opportunity for filmmakers, patrons and enthusiasts from all over the world to come together.
The 2018 BlackStar Film Festival is generously supported by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, Barra Foundation, Ford Foundation | JustFilms, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 21CF Global Inclusion, PECO, Streampix, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, Visit Philadelphia, Fractured Atlas, Color of Change, SAG-AFTRA, Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, and individual donors; as well as a gracious network of partners including The Barnes Foundation, Institute of Contemporary Art, Lightbox Film Center, Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, World Cafe Live, and Johnny Brenda’s, as well as a generous host of individual donors, members, and community partners.
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The seventh annualBlackStar Film Festival, announces its full lineup of films for the 2018 program. The celebration of black cinema will take place in Philadelphia on Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 5.
Festival favorite and multidisciplinary artist Terence Nance will debut his new HBO comedy series Random Acts of Flyness on Friday, August 3 at 8pm at Lightbox Film Center, followed by a premiere reception at the Institute of Contemporary Art. This year’s lineup of over 80 films also includes:
Menelek Patrice Lumumba’s feature 1 Angry Black Man, about a college senior drawing inspiration from favorite writers to navigate his emotional reality
Four Days in May, a short documentary about state violence in Jamaica
Naima Ramos-Chapman’s short narrative film Piu Piu, about a young woman’s surreal trip to the city.
Jenn Nkiru’s afrofuturist short Rebirth is Necessary
Alaska is a Drag, Shaz Bennett’s tale of a drag performer in rural Alaska
Khalik Allah’s documentary Black Mother about Jamaica’s gender dynamics and cultural contradictions
The Black Museum, Oliver Hardt’s documentary about the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Faraday Okoro’s Nigerian Prince, about a Nigerian-American teenager who joins forces with an internet scammer
Roni Nicole Henderson’s bridge/refrain, an experimental short about a young woman traveling to the land of her ancestors
Douvan Jou Ka Leve, Gessica Généus’ documentary about life in Haiti
A Drop of Sun Under the Earth, Shikeith Cathey’s experimental short about trauma and compassion
Assia Boundaoui’s documentary The Feeling of Being Watched, about FBI surveillance in an Arab-American community in Chicago
Ephraim Asili’s Fluid Frontier, an experimental short about the African Diaspora in Detroit and Windsor
French Fries, Janine Sherman Barrois’ short about a couple‘s creative interplay and emotional conflicts
Fucked Like A Star, Stefani Saintonge’s experimental short about women’s work
Mariama Diallo’s short Hair Wolf, about gentrification and a black hair salon in Brooklyn
Happy Birthday Marsha, a short about transgender artist and activist Marsha Johnson, legendary inciter of the Stonewall Riots in New York
Mr. Soul!, a feature documentary about Ellis Haizlip, producer and host of the public television show SOUL!
Mark the calendar: The seventh annual BlackStar Film Festival, celebrating independent black cinema returns to Philly Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 5, showcasing films that capture the black experience and the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and indigenous communities from around the world.
“We are incredibly excited to enter our 7th edition with new work and fresh perspectives from filmmakers from all over the globe!” says founder and artistic director Maori Karmael Holmes. “We can’t wait to announce the premieres and special programming we’ll roll out over the four days of the festival.”
This year’s pre-Festival event, to be held on July 1 from 3 -4:30 pm at the Barnes Foundation, will feature senior program manager Nehad Khader in conversation with past Festival filmmakers about their vision and work.
Screenings take place at Lightbox Film Center and Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University. The Opening Night dance party on Thursday, August 2, will be held at Johnny Brenda’s. The juried Youth Program will also be held at Pearlstein Gallery on Saturday, August 4. Other highlights include the Awards Ceremony at World Cafe Live, held this year on Sunday, August 5.
The full slate of films, parties and events will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the festival and its programs, visit blackstarfest.org or facebook.com/BlackStarFest.
BlackStar has announced the appointment of Meg Onli as Festival Director and Patrice Worthy as Managing Director to join the part-time team. The creation of the Festival Director position was an intentional shift to focus on expanding administrative capacity as the organization evolves. Patrice Worthy steps into the role of Managing Director after serving as Operations Manager for the last two years.
“We are excited to welcome Meg to the BlackStar family, and to see Patrice in this new role as the festival continues to grow,” says founder and Artistic Director, Maori Karmael Holmes. “They will bring a new energy to the organization’s administration and festival operations that will ultimately improve the filmmaker and audience experience.” Current staff will remain in place: Maori Karmael Holmes, Artistic Director; Denise Beek, Communications Director; Nehad Khader, Senior Program Manager; and Swabreen Bakr, Social Media Manager.
Meg Onli is currently the Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent exhibition Speech/Acts explored experimental black poetry and how the social and cultural constructs of language have shaped black American experiences. Prior to joining the ICA, she was the Program Coordinator at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. She worked on the exhibitions Architecture of Independence: African Modernism and Barbara Kasten: Stages. In 2010, she created the website Black Visual Archive for which she was awarded a 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. In 2014 she was the recipient of a research grant from the Graham Foundation for the collaborative project Remaking the Black Metropolis: Contemporary Art, Urbanity, and Blackness in America with curator Jamilee Polson Lacy. Onli holds a Master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her writing has appeared in Art21, Daily Serving, and Art Papers.
Patrice Worthy is an educator and producer who works with emerging creatives of color. She is a graduate of Florida State University and Drexel University, with both a bachelor’s and master’s in biochemistry. Born in Agana, Guam to two military parents, she has lived around the world, which has influenced her approach to her creative work and teaching. Patrice has worked with the festival since 2012 and currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.
The 7th Annual BlackStar Film Festival is scheduled to take place August 2 through August 5 in Philadelphia. Submissions are open until April 22. For more information please visit blackstarfest.org and join us on social platforms @blackstarfest.
About the BlackStar Film Festival
BlackStar is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global indigenous communities, showcasing films by people of color from around the world. The only event of its kind in Philadelphia, the four-day weekend festival provides an opportunity for filmmakers, patrons and enthusiasts from all over the world to come together.
BlackStar Film Festival proudly announces the winners of the 2017 Festival awards. The Festival, which took place August 3-6, 2017 in Philadelphia, was the biggest yet, attracting thousands of film enthusiasts from around the world with multiple sold-out events.
“We were lucky to have an exceptionally strong lineup of films this year, and we saw them resonate with our audience,” says producing artistic director Maori Karmael Holmes. “We’re proud that BlackStar can provide a platform for excellent work across genres and give filmmakers of color a place to convene and share ideas.”
This year’s Festival, with the theme of Resistance, featured over 60 films from around the world. Juried awards were presented at the BlackStar Awards Ceremony at World Café Live. Audience favorite awards are determined by audience member ballots. The 2017 award winners are:
As part of Free First Sunday at the Barnes, BlackStar will be presenting a special screening of the film L.A. BURNING: THE RIOTS 25 YEARS LATER on Sunday, July 2, 2017, at the Barnes Foundation. Director Erik Parker (Nas: Time is Illmatic) and scholar Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw (University of Pennsylvania) will discuss the film, which explores the lives of the people at the flashpoint of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, 25 years after the uprising made national headlines and highlighted the racial divide in America. Dr. Shaw, an art historian with roots in Southern California, will interview Parker, who has Philadelphia roots, and examine the John Singleton-produced film and its relationship to the Free First Sunday theme of freedom and the festival’s 2017 theme of justice.
Presented by BlackStar Film Festival as part of Free First Sunday at the Barnes.
Seating is limited. Collection access is available prior to 2:30pm.
Regular admission to the Foundation may sell out early that day, but that will not impact entrance for our event.–
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 with American Black Film Festival and BlackStar Film Festival to launch a special collection through our Streampix on demand service, which is licensing short and feature length films and webisodes from alumni filmmakers who screened their works at past festivals. With these new partnerships we’re using the power of our Xfinity on Demand platform to invest in the black filmmaking community and showcase the work of these talented filmmakers to an even broader audience.”
Our Producing Artistic Director Maori Holmes joined NBC10 to discuss the partnership, she remarked, “We are truly excited about the partnership with Streampix as it is an opportunity to expand upon our mission, which is to showcase films by black people from around the world. The films in the collection represent some of the best work being made by indie mediamakers today, and it’s incredible to know that their work will be available in homes across the country!”