Aug. 19

12pm – 2:30pm ET

Pitch Session

As a maker-centered festival, BlackStar has been always been a space where connections are forged through sharing works, concepts, advice, and the occasional tea.

Join us for our second annual pitch session where a selection of filmmakers of color will propose their works-in-progress to an illustrious panel of funders, distributors and producers. Get the behind the scenes look at what it takes to develop a short documentary film and listen into how leading decision makers evaluate projects. 

8 filmmakers will pitch their short doc projects to a panel of representatives from highly influential foundations, distribution platforms and production houses, with the added bonus of a $25K co-production deal with WORLD Channel. An honorable mention pitch will receive $2,500 from IF/Then. Both the winner and honorable mention will receive free graphic design services from Melancholy Star. Each filmmaker will be given 7 minutes to present followed by 8 minutes of constructive feedback. 

Please note that a private URL will be made available to registered attendees only, who will be comprised of passholders, members, and industry.

Panelists include: 

  • Opal Bennett, POV Shorts
  • Jamila Farwell, Netflix
  • Chloe Gbai, IF/Then
  • Alex Hannibal, CNN
  • Chris Hastings, WORLD Channel
  • Chloe Walters-Wallace, Firelight Media
  • Chi-hui Yang, JustFilms/Ford Foundation

Pitch Coaches:
Anuradha Rana, Kartemquin Diverse Voices in Docs
Monika Navarro, Firelight Media

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Selected Projects

By Water

Iyabo Kwayana

A brother’s journey into his own memory becomes a vehicle for reconciliation and healing for his family.


Darío Guerrero

Recorded over six years by displaced Central Americans, CARAVANA invites you to migrate thousands of miles in search of the American Dream.

Fighting for the Light

Yeelen Cohen

That moment when you’re making a film about the Godfather of African Cinema who gave birth to your name but loses sight of who’s making the film.


Courtland Sutton

Black restaurateurs in Charleston seek to preserve their livelihood and culture against compounded effects of gentrification and COVID-19.

Keeping Time

Darol Kae

A young musician and bandleader must simultaneously preserve the history of his band and create something new.

Madame Pipi

Rachelle Salnave

MADAME PIPI follows the personal journeys of female Haitian bathroom attendants in Miami’s hottest nightclubs.

My Queerceañera

Marcos Nieves

Karyna, a fifty-year-old immigrant, transgender woman, is determined to fulfill her lifelong dream of celebrating her Quinceañera.

You Lucky You Got a Mama

Brittany Ferell

YOU LUCKY YOU GOTTA MAMA is a love letter to Black childbearing people and a close examination of the medical racism that is killing them.