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BlackStar Projects Releases Full Schedule of Programs for 2022 Film Festival

Passes and tickets on sale for 11th edition, taking place August 3 - 7 with online events, in-person screenings, panels, workshops, parties, and more

Special episode of BlackStar’s signature podcast, Many Lumens, will celebrate 2022 Luminary Award recipient Mira Nair

BlackStar Projects, the premier organization celebrating visionary Black, Brown, and Indigenous film and media artists, is pleased to announce its full slate of programming for the 2022 BlackStar Film Festival. Taking place both online and in-person in Philadelphia, this year’s festival includes in-person screenings at Penn Live Arts at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; panel discussions, workshops, and parties at sites across Philadelphia; and virtual events accessible to a global audience.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from actors, filmmakers, visual artists, and radical thinkers, including Arthur Jafa, Coco Fusco, Dindga McCannon, and dream hampton, among others. Panels and conversations, the full list of which is below, will address topics including youth perspectives on screen, Black spiritual traditions rendered through the moving image, accessibility within filmmaking practices, the affective power of sound in Black and Indigenous storytelling, healing-centered production practices, and more.

Various events will highlight BlackStar’s year-round initiatives, including a recording of BlackStar’s signature podcast, Many Lumens, featuring BlackStar Founder, Artistic Director, and CEO Maori Karmael Holmes in conversation with 2022 Richard Nichols Luminary Award recipient Mira Nair. Another highlight: a conversation between Dessane Lopez Cassell—Editor-In-Chief of Seen, BlackStar’s journal of film and visual culture—and visual artist Dindga McCannon, extending Zoé Samudzi’s profile of the artist in the journal’s recently released fourth issue. This edition of the BlackStar Film Festival will also mark the world premiere of short films created through BlackStar’s Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab, presented by Black Experience on Xfinity.

“With everything going on in the world, we hope that through the festival we can provide a space of joy, reflection, and healing. We are excited to present another hybrid edition of the festival with both IRL and virtual programming with audiences across the globe,” said BlackStar Founder, Artistic Director, and CEO Maori Karmael Holmes.

Each evening, at 7pm ET, the festival will present The Daily Jawn, a talk show hosted by Holmes, with sidekick filmmaker-artist Rashid Zakat and house band directed by Luke Carlos O’Reilly, and featuring interviews with filmmakers and panelists, musical guests, games, and much more.

In addition to the conversations and panels, and daily film screenings at Penn Live Arts, there will be a variety of community events and parties in Philadelphia this August. These include morning group yoga sessions at Drexel Square and opening and closing night parties. The parties and yoga sessions will be free and open to the public — registration is available for both the opening and closing night parties on the festival site.

The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global Indigenous communities, showcasing films by Black, Brown and Indigenous artists from around the world. The 2022 edition is set to feature a total of 76 films representing 27 countries, including 16 world, 8 North America, 12 East Coast, and 8 US premieres. It will include narrative features and shorts, documentary features and shorts, and experimental films. 

“Our programs are an integral part of each year’s festival, as they introduce our audiences to the visionary creatives bringing these powerful stories to life,” said Festival Director Nehad Khader. “This year’s slate of events promises to further illuminate the many themes and ideas drawn across the screenings.”

Passes for the festival are available for purchase here. Offerings include an all-access pass ($250) and a virtual festival pass ($125). Individual tickets for virtual and in-person screenings are $5 and $15, respectively.

An overview of events is below, and the full list of film screenings and program descriptions is available via the festival schedule here. All venues will be wheelchair accessible, and most in-person events will have American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. Select films will also feature Audio Description (AD) for blind & low-vision audiences.

Panels & Conversations

Conversation: The Passion of Remembrance  

Wednesday August 3, 2-4:30pm, Penn Live Arts – Zellerbach Theater with Coco Fusco and Louis Massiah 

Conversation: Seen with Dindga McCannon

Wednesday August 3, 5-6pm, Penn Museum – Rainey Auditorium

Panel: Childhood on Screen

Thursday August 4, 1-2pm, Penn Live Arts – Montgomery Theater with Alaa Zabara, Bria and Bilal Motley, Iyana Le’Shea, and Jo Rochelle, moderated by Stormy Kelsey

Panel: Horror and Sound

Thursday August 4, 5-6pm, Virtual Event with Lisa Taouma, Mario Gaoa, Nikyatu, Tanerélle, Mario Gaoa and Lisa Taouma moderated by Sultana Isham

Workshop: From Reflection to Release: Uplifting a Values-Based Filmmaking Practice

Friday August 5, 1-2:30pm, Annenberg School – Room 110 with Bhawin Suchak, Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad, Natalie Bullock Brown, Sherry Simpson, and Sonya Childress 

Panel: Expressions of Spirit

Friday August 5, 5-6pm, Virtual Event with Ashon Crawley, Dr. Kokahvah Zauditu-Selassie, Koko Selassie, Rashid Shabazz, Rashid Zakat, and Taylor Aldridge

Many Lumens: Mira Nair and Maori Karmael Holmes

Saturday August 6, 1-2pm, Virtual Event, Sponsored by Temple University School of Theater, Film and Media Arts

Panel: Closed Door Industry Roundtable

Saturday August 6, 5-6pm, Event for Filmmakers Only, Presented by STARZ/Lionsgate

Panel: Disability Justice and Filmmaking

Sunday August 7, 1-2pm, Virtual Event, Sponsored by MediaJustice, with Andres “Jay” Molina, Natasha Ofili, Reveca Torres, moderated by Andraéa LaVant

Panel: Loss, Grief, Legacy

Sunday August 7, 5-6 pm, Virtual Event, Sponsored by the Scattergood Foundation, with Arthur Jafa, dream hampton, Lynneé Denise, and Marcia Smith; moderated by alexis pauline gumbs

In-Person Events & Screenings

Feature Screening: Lingui

Wednesday August 3, 11am, Zellerbach Theater

Feature Screening and Panel: The Passion of Remembrance 

Wednesday August 3, 2-4:30pm, Zellerbach Theater

Shorts Screening: Gather Me

Wednesday August 3, 5pm, Montgomery Theater 

Feature Screening and Q & A: Storming Caesar’s Palace

Wednesday August 3, 8:30pm, Zellerbach Theater

Opening Night Party

Wednesday August 3, 9:30pm-12:30am, Bartram’s Garden

Yoga Class for Children

Thursday August 4, 9am, Drexel Square

Shorts Screening: Revivify 

Thursday August 4, 10am, Montgomery Theater

Shorts Screening: Sillage

Thursday August 4, 11am, Zellerbach Theater

Feature Screening: One Take Grace

Thursday August 4, 3pm, Zellerbach Theater

Feature Screening: Jasmine Is A Star

Thursday August 4, 5pm, Montgomery Theater

Feature Screening: Teine Sa

Thursday August 4, 8:30pm, Zellerbach Theater

Yoga Class at Drexel Square

Friday August 5, 9am, Drexel Square 

Shorts Screening and Q & A: Savvy 

Friday August 5, 10am, Montgomery Theater

Screening and Q & A: The African Desperate 

Friday August 5, 11am, Zellerbach Theater

Shorts Screening and Q & A: Pulsate

Friday August 5, 1pm, Montgomery Theater

Screening and Q & A: Aftershock 

Friday August 5, 3pm, Zellerbach Theater

Feature Screening and Q & A: Silent Beauty

Friday August 5, 5pm, Montgomery Theater

First Friday! with BlackStar Film Festival featuring Omar’s Hat and Blackalachia (by Moses Sumney)

Friday August 5, 6-9pm, The Barnes Foundation

Shorts Screening and Q & A: Locomote

Friday August 5, Zellerbach Theater

Yoga Class at Drexel Square

Saturday August 6, 9am, Drexel Square  

BlackStar Bazaar

Saturday August 6, 10am-8pm and Sunday August 7, 10am-3pm, Penn Live Arts – Courtyard

Feature Screening and Q & A: Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power

Saturday August 6, 10am, Montgomery Theater

Shorts Screening and Q & A: Effectuate

Saturday August 6, 11am, Zellerbach Theater

Shorts Screening and Q & A: Observer Effect

Saturday August 6, 1pm, Montgomery Theater

Feature Screening and Q & A: Wisdom Gone Wild

Saturday August 6, 3pm, Zellerbach Theater

Feature Screening and Q & A: Kash Kash

Saturday August 6, 5pm, Montgomery Theater

Feature Screening and Q & A: Hazing 

Saturday August 6, 8:30pm, Zellerbach Theater

Yoga Class at Drexel Square

Saturday August 6, 9am, Drexel Square  

Shorts Screening and Q & A: Rising Tides

Sunday August 7, 10am, Montgomery Theater

Feature Screening and Q & A: Tug of War

Sunday August 7, 11am, Zellerbach Theater

Feature Screening and Q & A: Rewind & Play

Sunday August 7, 1pm, Montgomery Theater

Screening and Reception: Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab Films 

Sunday August 7, 3-5pm, Zellerbach Theater

Shorts Screening and Q & A: Withstand

Sunday August 7, 5pm, Montgomery Theater

Feature Screening and Q & A: Marte Um/Mars One 

Sunday August 7, 8:30pm, Zellerbach Theater

Closing Night Party

Sunday August 7, 9:30pm-12:30am, Penn Live Arts – Courtyard

All times in ET. For more information on festival programming, and to register for these events, please visit

This year’s festival is presented with the support of the following sponsors: AmDoc/POV, Annenberg School For Communication, Black Public Media, Catapult Film Fund, Center For Cultural Power, Drexel Westphal College of Media Arts, Expressway Grip, Eventive, Firelight Media, Gotham Film & Media Institute, Impact Partners, Indego, ITVS, Leeway Foundation, Lionsgate/STARZ, MediaJustice, Meta, NEON, Open Society Foundations, PBS, PECO, Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Red Bull, Scattergood Foundation, The Study Hotels, Temple University Film and Media Arts Department, Unique Photo, Urban Affairs Coalition, Urban Outfitters, Warner Bros./Discovery, Wyncote Foundation and Xfinity.

BlackStar Projects and its year-round programs are generously supported by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Critical Minded, Ford Foundation/JustFilms, Gucci Changemakers Fund, Independence Public Media Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Mighty Arrow Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Perspective Fund, Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Philadelphia Cultural Treasurers, Philadelphia Foundation, 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.

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, including the twice-annual journal Seen, the podcast Many Lumens, the William and Louise Greaves Filmmaker Seminar, and the Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab, among other initiatives. 

Press Contacts

Ed Winstead

Senior Director, Cultural Counsel

[email protected]

Sam Riehl 

Senior Account Executive, Cultural Counsel

[email protected] 

Emma Frohardt

Senior Account Coordinator, Cultural Counsel

[email protected]

Devon Ma

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 006 is now available.

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