Close Encounters

Sunday, Aug. 5, 1:30 PM


Breaking the rules and bending forms, these experimental cinematic pieces explore Blackness inventively and unexpectedly. You’re in for a feast of the senses as these shorts play with image, color, music, and lyric.


Depress My Anxiety

Dir. Ethan Scott Barnett • United States, 2017, 1 min.

When a young man graduates from college, he is forced to reflect on his mental health.

World Premiere


Under Bone

Dir. dana washington • United States, 2017, 5 min.

UNDER BONE is a narrated experimental-drama featuring ethereal vignettes of a woman’s devotion, grief and ancestral evocation, as she traverses stories beneath her rib cage.

East Coast Premiere


A Drop of Sun Under the Earth

Dir. Shikeith Cathey • United States, 2017, 9 min.

A Drop of Sun Under the Earth is a short experimental film about a shy Black boy whose experience of a compassionate encounter turns the emotional and sexual traumas lodged in his body into dreams about otherwise love.

Philadelphia Premiere


Rebirth is Necessary

Dir. Jenn Nkiru • United Kingdom, 2017, 11 min.

This film explores the magic and dynamism of Blackness in a realm where time and space are altered. The now, the past and the future are rethought and reordered to create something soulful and mind-bendingly visceral, featuring music and sounds from James Baldwin, Sun Ra, Chance The Rapper, Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Rotary Connection, Pharaoh Sanders and Shafiq Husayn.

Philadelphia Premiere


Fucked Like a Star

Dir. Stefani Saintonge • United States, 2018, 8 min.

The tragic, mythical life of an ant, Fucked Like a Star was shot in Haiti and New Orleans with a macro lens intended for shooting tiny subjects like ants. Focused on skillful traditional “woman’s work” – braiding, cooking, sewing, the audience is meant to see their work as an ant would, highlighting the majesty of what is normally thought of as mundane, repetitive labor.

Philadelphia Premiere


Relic 1

Dir. Larry Achiampong • United Kingdom, 2017, 14 min.

Relic 1 forms part of Larry Achiampong’s ongoing, multi-disciplinary, multi-site project manifesting in performance, audio, moving image and prose. In this speculative project, the title character appears across different landscapes, uncovering fragments that bear witness to colonial histories. In a seemingly desolate United Kingdom, a child-like protagonist uncovers fragments of data that bear testimony to a forgotten Empire. These constructed and yet familiar feelings of otherness embody situations of colonial hysteria.

U.S. Premiere



Fluid Frontiers

Dir. Ephraim Asili • United States, 2017, 23 min.

Fluid Frontiers is the fifth and final film in a series exploring Asili’s personal relationship to the African Diaspora. Shot along both the Detroit and Windsor sides of the Detroit River, Fluid Frontiers explores the relationship between resistance and liberation, exemplified by the Underground Railroad — for which the Detroit River was a major terminal point — and more modern resistance and liberation movements — represented by Dudley Randell’s Detroit-based, independent publishing company, Broadside Press, and the installation, sculptural, and performance works of local Detroit artists.


When the Lionfish Came

Dir. Tamika Galanis • United States, 2016, 6 min.

When the Lionfish Came is a six-minute experimental, short film that juxtaposes the natural world with the cultural environment. This film uses metaphor to address both the effects of capitalism and climate change in the Caribbean—particularly the Bahamas. This film is an illustration of disappearing Bahamian culture (through Junkanoo and reef imagery), the palpability of the absence of real climate change initiatives, and the continued pursuit of capitalistic endeavors (tourism), despite cultural decline.

Philadelphia Premiere