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Press Release

BlackStar Film Festival Releases 2024 Lineup

June 4, 2024

Philadelphia, PA

A photo of a person dancing with their arms raised, surrounded by other Black and brown people dancing.
A photo of a person dancing with their arms raised, surrounded by other Black and brown people dancing.

BlackStar Projects, the premier organization celebrating visionary Black, Brown and Indigenous film and media artists, is thrilled to announce the selections for the 2024 BlackStar Film Festival. 

BlackStar Projects, the premier organization celebrating visionary Black, Brown and Indigenous film and media artists, is thrilled to announce the selections for the 2024 BlackStar Film Festival.

This year’s festival will take place from August 1-4, 2024 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, with additional screenings, parties and events at various venues across Philadelphia and corresponding virtual programming, marking the 13th annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of Black, Brown and Indigenous people from around the world.

All access passes for the festival are available for purchase here; individual tickets for in-person and virtual screenings will go on sale in early July.

The 2024 BlackStar Film Festival is set to feature a total of 94 films representing 40 countries, including 16 world, 16 North American, 10 United States, 14 East Coast and 37 Philadelphia premieres. This year’s films engage with self-discovery, climate justice, immigrant rights, decolonization, and queer liberation.

Highlights from this year’s robust lineup include the world premiere of Darius Clark Monroe’s Dallas, 2019, a five-part series following multiple elected officials and their constituents, as a study in socialization; the United States premiere of Mohamed Jabaly’s Life is Beautiful, a powerful personal account of the use of storytelling to fight for rights as a Palestinian filmmaker; the North American premiere of Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich’s The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire, which follows a postpartum actress’ search for meaning in the writings of Martinique’s lost literary figure; and the world premiere of a new narrative feature film directed by Shatara Michelle Ford.

“The filmmakers in this year’s program are unafraid to meet the moment,” said Festival Director, Nehad Khader. “Their films speak to what matters most to our communities today and to a collective vision that another world is possible.”

In addition to film, there will be a slate of festival programming both in-person and virtually. Selections include the return of BlackStar Pitch — a live competition which will award $75,000 in production funds to a winning short documentary – this year presented in partnership with Blackbird; a spotlight conversation on A Litany for Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde, accompanied by a retrospective screening of the 1996 film directed by Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson, and a Friday night concert and celebration at The Barnes Foundation.

“We are proud to present our thirteenth festival this August, amidst a time of unimaginable pain and loss, as a platform for urgent cinema of the global majority, critical discourse, and much-needed, joyful gathering,” says BlackStar Founder, Chief Executive & Artistic Officer Maori Karmael Holmes.

BlackStar Film Festival has grown in attendance year over year, with 25% of last year’s 15,000 attendees participating for the first time. Beyond the festival, BlackStar Projects continues to expand its scope and reach with innovative initiatives like the ongoing Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab, a year long fellowship program that awards $50,000 in production funds to four local filmmakers developing a short narrative film, and the North Star Fellowship, presented in collaboration with Points North, which supports media artists and filmmakers developing projects that span the latitudes of creative nonfiction.

Among BlackStar Projects’ other programs are Seen, a journal of film, art, and visual culture that will publish its seventh issue this fall, the William and Louise Greaves Filmmaker Seminar, and Many Lumens—BlackStar’s signature podcast, which finds BlackStar founder Maori Karmael Holmes in dialogue with the most groundbreaking artists, changemakers, and cultural workers of today. The organization also recently celebrated the addition of Judilee Reed, Chief Executive Officer of United States Artists, to the BlackStar board of directors. This follows the hiring of a number of new staff members earlier this year, including Amber Hunnicutt, Program Manager; Catherine Lee, Senior Director, Development & Operations; and Heidi Saman, Program Director.

The full lineup of films is below, with additional programming to be announced in the coming weeks:

After the Long Rains (Baada Ya Masika), directed by Damien Hauser

Áhkuin, directed by Radio-JusSunná / Sunná Nousuniemi and Guhtur Niillas Rita Duomis / Tuomas Kumpulainen

Albina Dream Survey, directed by Spencer Garland

Amma’s Pride, directed by Shiva Krish

And still, it remains, directed by Arwa Aburawa and Turab Shah

Angular Phoenix (Latitude Fénix), directed by Welket Bungué

The Archive: Queer Nigerians, directed by Simisolaoluwa Akande

Ardida, directed by Mir Morales Rosales

Auspicious Return, directed by Mahsati Fidel Moorhead

The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire, directed by Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich

barrunto, directed by Emilia Beatriz

The Battle of Empty Stomachs (معركة الأمعاء الخاوية), directed by Diana Al-Halabi

Beyond the Door (Embrasure), directed by Victoria Neto

Bisagras, directed by Luis Arnías

Black Ag, directed by Andy Sarjahani

Black Girls, directed by B. Monét 

Bloomed in the Water, directed by Joanne Mony Park

Boat People, directed by Al’Ikens Plancher

Bring Them Home, directed by Ivan MacDonald, Ivy MacDonald and Daniel Glick

Bring Your Name – the Sean Bell All-Stars, directed by Raafi Rivero

Broken Flight, directed by Erika Valenciana, Mitchell Wenkus

Burnt Milk, directed by Joseph Douglas Elmhirst

Bye Bye Tiberias (Bye Bye Tibériade), directed by Lina Soualem

City of Dreamz, directed by Imani Celeste

Criminal, directed by Robe Imbriano

Dallas, 2019, directed by Darius Clark Monroe

Dancing Palestine, directed by Lamees Almakkawy

The Dawn (Beutset), directed by Alicia Mendy

Dis-Ease, directed by Mariam Ghani

Do You See Me, directed by Walé Oyéjidé

Domino Days, directed by Ché Williams

Empty Your Pockets (جیب‌هایتان را خالی کنید), directed by Tara Aghdashloo

Enchunkunoto (The Return), directed by Laissa Malih

Enmity Djinn (المستتر), directed by Mohamed Echkouna

Expanding Sanctuary, directed by Kristal Sotomayor

Family Tree, directed by Jennifer MacArthur

Farmers of the Sea (Agricultores del mar), directed by Juan C. Dávila Santiago

The Flacalta Effect, directed by Rochée Jeffrey

Footwork, directed by Drake LeBlanc

Forbidden City, directed by Devin Jie Allen

Fractal, directed by Anslem Richardson

God is Grey, directed by Jennifer Drake

Grace, directed by Natalie Jasmine Harris

Happy Thanksgiving, directed by ishkwaazhe Shane McSauby

How to Sue the Klan, directed by John Beder

I Do Not Come to You by Chance, directed by Ishaya Bako

Indai Apai Darah (Mother, Father, Blood), directed by Kynan Tegar

Inky Pinky Ponky – the Odd One Out, directed by Damon Fepule’ai and Ramon Te Wake

It Was All a Dream, directed by dream hampton

Kano 4 (كانوا 4), directed by Ashtar Alahmad

Katele (Mudskipper), directed by John Harvey

Life is Beautiful (Al Haya Helwa), directed by Mohamed Jabaly

A Litany for Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde, directed by Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson

Mahdi Amel in Gaza (Mahdi Amel Fi Gaza), directed by Mary Jirmanus Saba and Tareq Rantisi

Mambar Pierrette, directed by Rosine Mbakam

Mend (Remendo), directed by GG Fákọ̀làdé

A Mother Apart, directed by Laurie Townshend

New Man, The (Omi Nobu), directed by Carlos Yuri Ceuninck

Nowhere Near, directed by Miko Revereza

The Great Othelo (Othelo, O Grande), directed by Lucas H. Rossi dos Santos

Our Land, Our Freedom, directed by Meena Nanji and Zippy Kimundu

The People Could Fly, directed by Imani Dennison

Pimpi, directed by Andrés Mosquera

Post Trauma, directed by Nidal Badarny

A Race in the Sun, directed by K. Nicole Mills

A Radical Duet, directed by Onyeka Igwe

Rising Up at Night (Tongo Saa), directed by Nelson Makengo

Run Like We, directed by Rhys Aaron Lewis

Saturn Risin9, directed by Tiare Ribeaux and Jody Stillwater

Scapegoat (Kabri i manz salad), directed by Nicolas Séry

Seeking Mavis Beacon, directed by Jazmin Renée Jones

Ship of Fools (سفينة الحمقى), directed by Alia Haju

So That Tonight We Might See, directed by Bea Hesselbart

Son of Samoa, directed by Laman Time

Songs From the Hole, directed by Contessa Gayles

Standing Above the Clouds, directed by Jalena Keane-Lee

A Stone’s Throw (على مرمى حجر), directed by Razan AlSalah

Strike, The, directed by JoeBill Muñoz and Lucas Guilkey

A Symphony of Tiny Lights, directed by Dominic Gill and Nadia Gill

Syppyt Suruktar Lost Letters, directed by Kyhynngy Oyuur

Tentsítewahkwe, directed by Katsitsionni Fox

Through the Storm, directed by Fritz Bitsoie and Charles Frank

To Exist Under Permanent Suspicion, directed by Valentin Noujaïm

Twice Into Oblivion (L’oubli tue deux fois), directed by Pierre Michel Jean

Two Refusals (Would We Recognize Ourselves Unbroken?), directed by Suneil Sanzgiri

Two Sun, directed by Blair Barnes

What Channel is Love?, directed by Michael Donte

The Whites of Our Eyes, directed by Yaba Blay and Maame Adjei

The Wind Telephone, directed by Jody Stillwater

Winding Path, directed by Alexandra Lazarowich, Ross Kauffman

The Witness Tree (साक्षी-रूख, Sakshi Rukh), directed by Niranjan Raj Bhetwal

Wouldn’t Make It Any Other Way, directed by Hao Zhou

You Don’t Have to Go Home, but…, directed by Aidan Un

Information on juries, additional programming and events will be announced soon. For more information on the festival and its programs, visit

This year’s festival is presented with major support from Open Society Foundations and Black Experience on Xfinity. Other sponsors include: AmDoc/POV, American Friends Service Committee, Andscape, Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, Black Public Media, The Center for Cultural Power, Color Congress,, Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Eventive, Firelight Media, The Gotham Film & Media Institute, International Documentary Association, Impact Partners, Indego, ITVS, NEON, Peace Is Loud, PECO, Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Points North Institute, PNC Arts Alive, Runway, Soho House, StoryCorps, University of Pennsylvania Department of Cinema & Media Studies, Visit Philadelphia, Win Win Coffee, and WORLD Channel.

BlackStar Projects and its year-round programs are generously supported by Critical Minded, Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Independence Public Media Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, McLean Contributionship, Mellon Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Perspective Fund, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures, Philadelphia Foundation, Pop Culture Collaborative, Ruth Foundation for the Arts, Samuel S. Fels Fund, Surdna Foundation, Wallace Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation, in addition to its board of directors, community partners, and a host of generous individual donors and organizations.

For press inquiries, please reach out to the team at ALMA.