Aug. 21

12:00 PM
Live on Facebook


Troubling the Frame, Troubling the Terrain

Panelists: Razan Al-Salah, Adam Khalil, Kurt Otabenga Orderson, Sindhu Thirumalaisamy, Michèle Stephenson
Moderator: Nehad Khader

Our terrain has been marked by necropolitics, where increasing material inequality, militarization, surveillance, and border control determine whose lives are deemed worth living and whose are condemned. Filmmakers working against the grain of carceral and white supremacist logics of state violence, zoning, displacement, and containment are telling stories about these experiences, which traverse time, place and the very borders which seek to restrict them. This conversation—spanning different geographies including South Africa, Black and Indigenous North America, Palestine, South Asia and the Caribbean—asks how artists are able to access, approach, move through and “capture” the landscape from a decolonial standpoint and which aesthetic, practical, and ethical concerns do they find themselves grappling with politically and personally as filmmakers.

This panel is free and open to the public. It will stream live with closed captioning on August 21st from this web page as well as BlackStar’s Facebook page.



Nehad Khader


Nehad Khader is a filmmaker, curator, editor and writer whose work in film informs her work as a historian and vice versa. Trained in media and literature by Black and Palestinian creators, Nehad is moved by art that carries aesthetic excellence as well as social and political significance. In 2009, just before attending grad school at Georgetown University, Nehad curated her first exhibit at the Philadelphia Folklore Project showcasing the works and oral histories of Palestinian women in Philadelphia. She went on to serve as Managing Editor of the academic peer-reviewed Journal of Palestine Studies in Washington, DC. During her time there, she took her first professional plunge into cinema as the founding curator of the DC Palestinian Film & Arts Festival, founded by a group of fierce women in 2011. Nehad is a 2017 Leeway Transformation Award winner, a 2018 Tribeca Film Institute fellow, and a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow. She also produced the short documentary White Fright, now streaming on The Guardian. After BlackStar Film Festival, Nehad spends the month of August field producing Scribe Video Center’s annual Street Movies! summer outdoor film screening series, hosted in various neighborhoods throughout the city. When she’s not watching films, Nehad loves reading fiction, singing, gardening, and enjoying her favorite city and hometown, Philadelphia.


Razan Al-Salah


Razan works across a range of image, text and installation practices investigating the politics of dis/appearance of places and bodies in colonial image worlds – photographic// digital// virtual – breaking these thresholds of view into elsewheres here – where colonialism no longer makes sense. She is a 2020 Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) Grantee and Sundance New Frontier Story Lab Fellow and Grantee. Her work has been exhibited internationally in festivals & galleries including Blackstar Film Festival, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal, HotDocs, Melbourne, Glasgow and Beirut International, Sharjah Film Forum, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts & Sursock Museum. Razan teaches Film and Intermedia at Concordia University in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal.


Adam Khalil


Adam Khalil is an Ojibway filmmaker and artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. His practice attempts to subvert traditional forms of ethnography through humor, relation, and transgression. Khalil’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Film Festival, Walker Arts Center, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Tate Modern, among other institutions. Khalil is the recipient of various fellowships and grants, including but not limited to: Sundance Art of Nonfiction, Jerome Foundation Artist Fellowship, UnionDocs Collaborative Fellowship, and Gates Millennium Scholarship. Khalil received his BA from Bard College.


Kurt Otabenga Orderson


Kurt Orderson is an award-winning filmmaker from Cape Town, South Africa. His career started after completing his Film & Television Studies at Monash University, South Africa, in 2004. He has directed ten feature-length documentary films shot between five continents, as well as more than 20 shorts. His films serve as a creative pedagogical tool by making use of historical, political, and transnational solidarity traditions. His work explores unknown stories, asking critical questions, and forging new narratives in impermanent settings.


Sindhu Thirumalaisamy


Sindhu Thirumalaisamy’s work across moving images, sound, and text has explored common places such as hospitals, parks, streets, temples, mosques, and lakes, as multivalent sites that hold possibilities for collective resistance and care. Recent exhibitions include programs at EFA Project Space, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), Union Docs, DokuFest, Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Centre, Artists’ Television Access, Kinodot Experimental Film Festival, Current:LA Triennial, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Sindhu received an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. She has been a participant of the Flaherty Film Seminar, the SOMA Summer program, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Whitney Independent Study Program. In 2020-21, she will be a Core fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


Michèle Stephenson


As co-founding member of Rada Studio, filmmaker, artist, and author Michèle Stephenson draws from her Panamanian and Haitian roots to tell provocative stories in a variety of media that speak to personal and systemic liberation. Her work has appeared on numerous broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime, and MTV. Her most recent film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys, including Best Documentary and Outstanding Coverage of a Current News Story. The film also won the Jury Prize at Sundance, and was selected for the New York Film Festivals’ Main Slate Program. Stephenson was recently awarded the Creative Capital Fellowship and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, as well as the inaugural Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. She is also a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow. Her current feature-documentary work in progress is supported by the National Film Board of Canada and the Sundance Documentary Fund. Her community-engagement accomplishments include the PUMA BritDoc Impact Award for a Film with the Greatest Impact on Society and a Revere Award nomination from the Association of American Publishers, and she is a fellow of the Skoll Stories of Change initiative. Her recent book, Promises Kept, written with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.