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Still from Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground shows a Black family in a deceptively idyllic scene — two children having a picnic on one side of the lawn as a parent mows the other side. On the steps of the home stands the other parent, perhaps the mother, but their face is obscured by a an American flag represented in the colors of red, black, and green. The three people whose faces are visible are all looking up at something in the sky.
Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground (2021), dir. Sophia Nahli Allison. Film still courtesy of Sophia Nahli Allison.
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BlackStar Launches Third Issue of Seen, Announces New Editor-In-Chief, Dessane Lopez Cassell

Latest issue of journal focusing on BIPOC film and visual culture is guest edited by Darol Olu Kae

BlackStar Projects, producer of the BlackStar Film Festival, is proud to announce the launch of the third issue of Seen, its twice-annual journal of film and visual culture made for and about Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities globally.

Issue 003 of Seen is available for order here, and the print and digital editions will be officially released on November 18th.

Guest-edited by artist Darol Olu Kae, Seen’s third issue includes essays, reviews, interviews, original art and photography, and more. The issue features a wide range of voices, all touching upon a series of questions posed by Ghanaian filmmaker Nuotama Bodomo during her keynote address at BlackStar’s 2021 William and Louise Greaves Filmmaker Seminar: “Can we see ourselves?” “Can we see each other?” and “Can we see together?”

“Collectively, the pieces in Seen, issue 003, orbit around Bodomo’s questions, gathering up accumulative power, and extending her thoughts into new directions and terrain,” writes Kae in his introduction to the issue. “The participating artists, writers, and filmmakers offer a multitude of critical practices and approaches that help think beyond the restrictions of film and visual culture as it is presently defined.”

Highlights from the third issue of Seen include Jessica Lynne‘s profile of photographer Texas Isaiah; an interview with filmmakers Sophia Nahli Alison and Merawi Gerima on the power of Black filmmaking collectives in Los Angeles, conducted by Dr. Philana Payton; an essay on Christopher Kahunahana’s first full-length feature film by cultural critic and historian Jeff Chang; two interviews with Moroccan filmmaker Ahmed Bouanani from the early 1970s, translated by Omar Berrada; Jonathan Ali’s exploration of the possibilities of Caribbean cinema through a conversation with Maya Cozier about her debut fiction film; DJ Lynnée Denise’s review of Sacha Jenkins’s documentary Bitchin’: the Sound and Fury of Rick James; and a conversation between Amir George and filmmaker Miko Revereza

This exciting moment for Seen also marks the appointment of Dessane Lopez Cassell to the role of  Editor-in-Chief. Cassell, who guest-edited Issue 002, has been a longtime BlackStar Film Festival program committee member, last serving on the experimental committee in 2021. Most recently, she worked as the reviews editor at Hyperallergic. A curator and former museum worker, Cassell  has organized curatorial projects and screenings at the Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, among others.

“Learning, thinking, and growing with the BlackStar team has been a true professional pleasure over the last few years and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to join them full-time. I look forward to continuing to champion artists and cultural critics of color as we grow Seen’s vision and reach, starting with the brilliant work put forward in issue 003,” Cassell noted. 

Issue 004, the first with Cassell in the role of Editor-in-Chief, will be released in Spring 2022.

The full list of Seen Issue 003 contributors includes Abby Sun, Akinola Davies Jr, Amir George, Cassie da Costa, Jeff Chang, Jessica Lynne, Jonathan Ali, Kojo Abudu, Leila Weefur, Lynnée Denise, Nuotama Bodomo, Omar Berrada, Philana Payton, ruth gebreyesus, Samia Labidi, and Suzi Analogue. 

The issue’s cover features the work of filmmaker Sophia Nahli Allison. 

In addition to Kae and Cassell, the editorial staff includes: Caroline Washington⁠⁠, Art Director; Nehad Khader⁠⁠, Managing Editor⁠⁠; Leo Brooks⁠⁠, Design Associate; Imran Siddiquee, Communications Director; Jasmine Weber⁠⁠, Interviews Editor⁠⁠; Kavita Rajanna⁠⁠, Essays Editor⁠⁠; Yasmine Espert⁠⁠, Profiles & Reviews Editor⁠⁠; Sydney Alicia Rodriguez, Program Associate; Shauna Swartz⁠⁠, Copyeditor⁠⁠⁠⁠; and Maori Karmael Holmes, Founding Editor.⁠⁠

Seen’s Editorial Advisory Board consists of Jeff Chang, Akiba Solomon, John L. Jackson, Jr., Louis Massiah, Adam Piron, Roya Rastegar, Sally Singer, Elizabeth Méndez Berry, Tarana Burke, Greg Tate, Gina Duncan, and Zaheer Ali.

Seen may be purchased via local, international, and online outlets, including: BYE BYE NEIGHBOR, Forin Cafe, Harriett’s Bookshop, magCulture, McNally Jackson, Philadelphia Printworks, Reparations Club, The Sable Collective, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Tomorrow Today, Ulises and Uncle Bobbie’s. 

To purchase a copy, visit for more information.

In addition to the annual BlackStar Film Festival, this year has marked the launch of several other new and ongoing initiatives at BlackStar, including the Blackstar 10th Anniversary Print Sale and podcast Many Lumens. A new limited edition print by celebrated artists is released on the 15th of every month to fundraise in honor of Blackstar’s first decade. Participating artists include Garrett Bradley, Arthur Jafa, Kahlil Joseph, and Cauleen Smith. Meanwhile, BlackStar’s new podcast Many Lumens now has five episodes available all illuminating conversations between BlackStar Artistic Director and CEO Maori Karmael Holmes and a range of guests, including dream hampton, Janicza Bravo, and Blitz Bazawule. 

For more information on Seen, the BlackStar Film Festival, and other BlackStar programs, visit


About BlackStar Projects

BlackStar Projects is the producer of the BlackStar Film Festival, 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. In addition to the acclaimed festival, BlackStar presents an array of programming across film and visual culture year-round, and produces the twice-annual journal Seen.


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Seen is BlackStar’s journal of film and visual culture, published twice each calendar year. Issue 006 is now available.

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