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A headshot of BlackStar Artistic Director and CEO Maori Karmael Holmes.
Maori Karmael Holmes.
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Maori Karmael Holmes Appointed at Annenberg Center and Annenberg School

BlackStar’s Artistic Director and CEO has been appointed Curator-at-Large for Film at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania

Maori Karmael Holmes, Artistic Director and CEO of BlackStar Film Festival, has been appointed Curator-at-Large for Film at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

As Curator-at-Large for Film, Holmes will work with Annenberg Center Executive and Artistic Director Christopher Gruits to develop a series of films that will complement and amplify the Annenberg Center’s season programming across all disciplines. She will also develop ancillary activities such as lectures and discussions, creating opportunities for students to engage with filmmakers and others working in the film industry.

As Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School, Holmes will teach an undergraduate course and provide mentorship to doctoral and undergraduate students. She also will advise on projects including the Collective for Advancing Multimodal Research Arts (CAMRA) and CAMRA Fellows. Additionally, the Annenberg School will serve as a home for Seen: a journal of film and visual culture, a new journal edited by Holmes, and provide additional support to the BlackStar organization.

“It’s an honor to be appointed to these positions at both the Annenberg Center and School, two institutions that I deeply respect,” said Holmes. “The capacity of film, both empathetically and intellectually, to explore personal and communal experience in a time like this is a tremendous power, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to teach and share with this community.”

“The Annenberg Center has a long history of presenting film, starting in the 1970s, and we’re excited to work with such a noted film scholar as Maori Holmes to offer our audiences a more robust film program,” said Gruits. “Our collaboration with Maori and partnership with BlackStar Film Fest and the Annenberg School for Communication will build upon the Annenberg Center’s ongoing commitment to presenting a breadth of diverse artists and perspectives for both the Penn and Philadelphia communities. We are grateful to the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Executive Vice President for their support in bringing Maori on board with the Annenberg Center.”

Said John L. Jackson, Jr., Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Richard Perry University Professor, “Annenberg has been a long-time sponsor of the BlackStar Film Festival, and this new arrangement further solidifies our investment in providing opportunities for students to examine film as a media industry that changes over time and impacts larger social, cultural, and political issues. Having Maori Holmes in the classroom and providing support to our students serves our goal of carefully integrating theory with arts/media/technology practice in organic and meaningful ways. It also reinforces our commitment to engaging the media and arts communities across campus and beyond Penn.”

Read Maori’s full bio here.

About the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts serves as a major cultural destination and crossroads connecting the University of Pennsylvania and the Greater Philadelphia region through innovative human expression in theatre, music, dance, and film, serving an annual audience of over 80,000. The Annenberg Center also serves as a key resource for the arts at Penn, connecting master artists with Penn students in support of and as an enhancement to the arts curriculum. Student performing arts groups are also key users of the Annenberg Center’s multiple performance and rehearsal spaces, while also staffing many operational roles throughout the academic year. In reflection of Penn’s core values as a world-respected academic institution, the Annenberg Center emphasizes artistic and intellectual excellence, diversity and rigor in its presentations; prioritizes broad inclusiveness in the artists, audiences, and groups it serves; manages outstanding performance, conference, and meeting facilities; and stresses comprehensive event planning, production support, and customer service. The Annenberg Center is a major provider of performing arts access for school children and actively engages a broad range of primary, secondary, and post-secondary student audiences and inclusive constituencies from the campus, community, and surrounding region. Visit

About the Annenberg School for Communication

Founded in 1959 through the generosity and vision of diplomat and philanthropist Walter Annenberg, the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania is devoted to furthering our understanding of the role of communication in public life through research, education, and service. With strengths in health communication, political communication, culture and communication, media institutions, digital media and social networks, and global communication, the Annenberg School is one of the top Communication schools in the nation.

Press Contacts

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Katherine Blodgett, Communications Consultant: [email protected], 215.431.1230
Alexander Freeman, Director of Marketing and Ticketing: [email protected], 215.898.9081

Annenberg School for Communication
Julie Sloane, Director of Communications: [email protected]

BlackStar Film Festival
Ed Winstead, Director, 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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