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BlackStar Celebrates 10th Anniversary, Announces New Year-Round Programs

A podcast, talk show, and more from the growing organization behind the lauded BlackStar Film Festival

BlackStar Projects is proud to kick off our tenth year with a slate of new initiatives that continue to expand the reach and breadth of the organization. Already home to the BlackStar Film Festival, BlackStar Projects is thrilled to announce several new and continuing initiatives that will expand upon the acclaimed festival, including a streaming talk show, print journal, filmmaker seminar, and podcast. More details about each are below.

In addition to these new projects, BlackStar is pleased to announce a special print portfolio and fundraiser in advance of their 10th annual film festival, taking place this August. Over the next year, BlackStar will release a limited edition, 8.5 x 11-inch print each month, featuring artworks by Garrett Bradley, Damon Davis, Kevin Jerome Everson, Haile Gerima, Arthur Jafa, Kahlil Joseph, Louis Massiah, Terence Nance, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Fahamu Pecou, Andrea Pippins, and Cauleen Smith. More information on purchasing options and the print series will be available on BlackStar’s website here, beginning January 15.

2021 will also see the return of BlackStar Live!, which premiered during the 2020 Film Festival as a special daily morning show featuring filmmaker interviews, live performances, astrological updates, and roundtable discussions of the day’s programming. Season 1.5 of BlackStar Live!, presented by Open Society Foundations, will return as a weekly program, streaming every Friday in February with the first episode premiering Friday, February 5. Guests include Mahogany Browne, Kimberly Drew, Jamila Crawfor Pécou, Omar Tate, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and Jenna Wortham.

The new year will also welcome the second issue of Seen, a new, twice-annual journal of film and visual culture made for and about Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. Issue 002, edited by curator, writer, and editor Dessane Lopez Cassell, will be available in May 2021. Issue 001, which was released last winter, is available in print and digital formats here.

BlackStar has also launched a new podcast, Many Lumens, featuring BlackStar Artistic Director and CEO Maori Karmael Holmes in discussion with guests who illuminate the world through film and media art, creating at the intersections of art, social change, and popular culture. The first episode, featuring Surviving R. Kelly executive producer dream hampton, premiered on Monday, January 4 and is available to stream here. In addition to a teaser and introduction special, five new episodes will premiere every Monday through February 1. Many Lumens is available on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, RSS, and other podcast outlets.

BlackStar was also recently named one of the nationwide Satellite Screens for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, hosting films and customized local programming from January 28 through February 3, 2021 in Philadelphia.

Expanding on the success of the annual day-long filmmakers symposium at the Festival (that has included 100 filmmakers of color annually), BlackStar is also hosting a three-day seminar for artists of color working in cinematic realms this year. This online event will take place in March and registration will open later this month.

Submissions for this year’s BlackStar Film Festival, which will be held virtually again in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, will open on January 15.

These new initiatives follow a historic 2020 edition of the BlackStar Film Festival, which moved primarily online due to the ongoing pandemic. The Festival lineup included approximately 90 films, including 24 world premieres, and represented more than 20 countries. In addition to presenting a wide-ranging program of live programs and panels, the festival also featured three drive-in screenings at Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts in West Fairmount Park.

For overall information on BlackStar, including its festival and programs, visit

About BlackStar Film Festival

The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and global communities of color — showcasing films by Black, Brown, and Indigenous people from around the world.

Press Contacts

Ed Winstead
Director, Cultural Counsel
[email protected]

Robert Grand
Account Coordinator, Cultural Counsel
[email protected]


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Seen is BlackStar’s journal of film and visual culture, published twice each calendar year. Issue 005 is now available.

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BlackStar is a leader in a global movement recognizing media arts and visual culture as a vital component in rectifying historical imbalances and creating a more equitable world. Help BlackStar shine by becoming a Member today.

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