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Artwork from the 2020 BlackStar Film Festival. It depicts an electric blue and magenta woman surrounded by plants of the same shades. The woman looks serene and focused.
Design by Joshua Mays.
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BlackStar Film Festival Programs Include Panels, Conversations, Screenings, and Parties

9th edition of the Festival will take place online from August 20-26, 2020
Including Drive-In Screenings in Philadelphia August 21, 22, & 23rd

The 2020 BlackStar Film Festival Poster. The poster depicts an electric blue and magenta woman surrounded by plants of the same shades. The woman looks serene and focused.
Poster art by Joshua Mays.

BlackStar Film Festival, the world’s premier celebration of Black, Brown, and Indigenous film and video artists, presented this year with lead sponsor Color of Change, is pleased to present its slate of public programs, including three free, live, socially distanced drive-in screenings in Philadelphia.

This year’s programming includes panel discussions, conversations, digital parties, and outdoor screenings. Among the events will be a virtual opening night party featuring Philadelphia’s own DJ Jazzy Jeff, culture writers Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham in conversation with Radha Blank on her film The Forty-Year-Old-Version, legendary producer and director Madeline Anderson in conversation with Louis Massiah and Michelle Materre, and the daily morning show BlackStar Live!, co-hosted by Black Thought, which will kick off each day of the festival at 9:15 ET with filmmaker interviews, live performances, astrological updates, roundtable discussions of the day’s film programming, and other content interspersed throughout.

All programming is free and open to the public; tickets to the festival are only required for access to the festival’s digital film screenings. Digital programs will stream live with closed captioning from the festival’s website, as well as on BlackStar’s Facebook page.

A rundown of events is below, and the full list of film screenings and programs is available at the festival schedule here.

This year will also feature three live drive-in screenings in the parking lot in front of Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts in West Fairmount Park. These screenings are presented with Lyft and Red Bull, in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, as part of their new Philly Drive-In Movie Nights initiative. Tickets to the drive-in screenings are free on a first-come, first-served basis and can be signed up for here.

Be Water

9:00pm Friday, August 21

Sign Up for Tickets

A gripping, fascinating, intimate look at not just those final, defining years of Bruce Lee’s life, but the complex, often difficult, and seismic journey that led to Lee’s ultimate emergence as a singular icon in the histories of film and martial arts. 

The Forty-Year-Old Version

9:00pm Saturday, August 22

Sign Up for Tickets

Radha, a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. But when she foils what seems like her last shot at success, she’s left with no choice but to reinvent herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime. The Forty-Year-Old Version follows Radha as she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater on a quest to find her true voice. Winner of the Directing Prize at The 2020 Sundance Film Festival, The Forty-Year-Old Version is a hilariously candid and deeply personal debut from writer/director Radha Blank. A fresh addition to the New York City slice-of-life canon shot in lush black and white 35mm, Blank’s film is an ode to the unfulfilled, and those whose adversity gives them a one-of-a-kind story to tell.

Miss Juneteenth

9:00pm Sunday, August 23

Sign Up for Tickets

A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant.


This year’s BlackStar Film Festival lineup includes more than 80 films, including 24 world premieres and representing over 20 countries. Ticketed attendees will be able to view all the films through a single online portal, which will be available at and through apps available for Apple TV and Roku. Tickets are now available on the festival’s website here, with day passes starting at $5 and a full festival pass available for $100, which is priced to include a donation to BlackStar.

Get Your Tickets to the Film Festival Now

BlackStar receives support from its dedicated audience along with private foundations, public agencies, corporate, non-profit and individual sponsors. Our lead sponsor for 2020 is Color of Change. Additional supporters include (in alphabetical order): Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, All Ages Productions, American Documentary/POV, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, Barra Foundation, Catapult Film Fund, Cinereach, Expressway Rentals, Facebook, Ford Foundation/JustFilms, IF/Then, Impact Partners, Independent Public Media Foundation, International Documentary Association, Lionsgate/STARZ, Lyft, MacArthur Foundation, MediaJustice, MING Media, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Netflix, PECO, Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Red Bull, Samuel S. Fels Fund, Sundance Institute, Surdna Foundation, Vimeo, WarnerMedia, WHYY, Wyncote Foundation, WORLD Channel, and Xfinity.

For overall information on the festival and its 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]

Danellys “D.W.” Wong
Account Coordinator, 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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