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BlackStar Celebrates 10th Anniversary with 2021 Festival

BlackStar Film Festival’s 10th edition to take place August 4-8, 2021.

BlackStar Projects, the premier organization celebrating visionary Black, Brown, and Indigenous film and media artists, is proud to announce that the next edition of their annual festival will take place August 4-8, 2021. The festival will be held virtually again in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

“So much has changed in the past decade, for us as an organization, for the artists we serve, and the field at large,” says BlackStar Artistic Director & CEO Maori Karmael Holmes. “It’s an honor to be engaged with cultural work at this transformative time and see the impact these creators are making here in the U.S. and around the world.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BlackStar Film Festival, which has seen considerable and continued growth over the past decade, both in the scope and reach of the festival itself and with new and continuing initiatives for the organization year-round. Among these new initiatives are Seen, a print journal of film and visual culture focused on Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities globally published twice each year; the podcast Many Lumenswhich finds BlackStar founder Maori Karmael Holmes in dialogue with the most groundbreaking artists, change makers, and cultural workers in the game; and BlackStar Live!, a streaming talk show featuring interviews with filmmakers, visual artists, authors, and musicians, not to mention sketch comedy, insightful social critique, musical performances.

Another new initiative includes The William and Louise Greaves Filmmaker Seminar, whose inaugural edition took place virtually from March 19-21, 2021. Based on the success of the day-long filmmakers’ symposium at the annual festival, this three-day gathering for artists of color working in cinematic realms featured a keynote address from Ghanaian filmmaker Nuotama Bodomo, a special work-in-progress screening with Adam Khalil & Zack Khalil, a live Director’s Commentary event with Yance Ford along with curated programs of short films, panel discussions involving industry professionals, and much more.

In celebration of this year’s major milestone, BlackStar launched a print portfolio fundraiser, through which BlackStar supporters can purchase limited-edition prints—a new print is made available each month. Prints are currently on sale by Oscar-nominated TIME (BlackStar 2020) director Garrett Bradley, documentary filmmaker, MacArthur Fellow, founder of the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, and How to Make A Flower: La Méthode MOBO (BlackStar 2020) director Louis Massiah, and award-winning, post-disciplinary artist and Whose Streets? (BlackStar 2017) co-director Damon Davis. The organization will continue to release an exclusive, limited edition, 8.5 x 11-inch print on the 15th of each month, featuring artworks by Kevin Jerome Everson, Haile Gerima, Arthur Jafa, Kahlil Joseph, Terence Nance, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Fahamu Pecou, Andrea Pippins, and Cauleen Smith. More information on purchasing options and the print series is available on BlackStar’s website here.

BlackStar Projects and our year-round programs are generously supported by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania, Barra Foundation, CineReach, Ford Foundation/JustFilms, Independence Public Media Foundation, John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Perspective Fund, Samuel S. Fels Fund, Sundance Institute, Surdna Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation. We are also supported by our board of directors, community partners, and a host of generous individual donors and organizations.

BlackStar Film Festival’s 2020 edition 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 online, the festival also featured three drive-in screenings at Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts in West Fairmount Park.

Additional information on ticketing, judging, sponsors, programming, and the slate of films that will be featured at this year’s festival will be announced soon. For overall information on BlackStar, including its festival and programs, visit

About BlackStar Projects

BlackStar Projects, home of the annual BlackStar Film Festival, celebrates and provides platforms for visionary Black, Brown, and Indigenous artists. We do this by producing year-round programs including film screenings, exhibitions, an annual film festival, a filmmaker seminar, a film production lab, and a journal of visual culture. These programs provide artists opportunities for viable strategies for collaborations with other artists, audiences, funders, and distributors.

Press Contacts

Ed Winstead
Director, Cultural Counsel
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Account Coordinator, Cultural Counsel
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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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