Philadelphia – Despite their dedication and persistence, a countless number of
filmmakers, writers and producers of color never get their creative work in front of
But the entertainment industry is steadily evolving. A new crop of artists have
decided to take matters into their own hands by forgoing initiation into the
mainstream and working to establish their independence
The first annual BlackStar Film Festival, taking place Aug. 2-5 at the African
American Museum, Art Sanctuary, and the International House, will showcase
some of these great films to audiences hungry for cinema focused on work by
and about people of African descent.
“There is a renaissance abound among black filmmakers across the globe, and
BlackStar is here to celebrate their achievements,” said festival founder and
artistic director Maori Karmael Holmes. “Our goal for the festival is to provide
an opportunity for Philadelphia-area film patrons to show their support for these
groundbreaking works and in many cases attend their only opportunity for a big
The four-day festival, which includes 40 films produced, written and directed by
filmmakers from Africa, Europe, North America, and South America, is the only
event of its kind in Philadelphia.
In addition to industry workshops and intimate conversations with directors and
producers, the festival will feature narratives, documentaries, music videos, and
experimental films illuminating the global black experience.
“We hope that the general public will have access to artistically innovative films,
produced, written, and directed by a diverse and unique set of filmmakers,” said
Highlights for the inaugural festival include a special conversation with
filmmaking impresario Ava DuVernay, the first African American woman to win
the award for Best Directing at Sundance. DuVernay will talk about her work
and strategies for creating a voice for African American filmmakers and also
screen an exclusive excerpt of her latest film, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, slated for
release in October 2012. In 2010, DuVernay launched the African-American Film
Releasing Movement (AFFRM), a groundbreaking distribution company.
US Premieres include:
ADOPTED ID (UK/Canada/Haiti) directed by Sonia Godding Togobo, this
film uncovers its main character’s extraordinary journey as she bravely
returns to a post-earthquake Haiti to locate her birth parents.
THE UNITED STATES OF HOODOO (Germany), directed by Oliver Hardt
(Germany), this film follows expat writer Darius as he returns to the US to
uncover the legacy of Voodoo myths and legends.
Philadelphia Premieres include:
FUNKJAZZ KAFÉ: DIARY OF A DECADE (US), directed by Jason Orr,
this film tells the story of the famed alternative soul scene in Atlanta in
the 1990s that launched the careers of some of today’s most esteemed
musicians. Orr will be present for the Q&A after his screening on August 4
SOUL FOOD JUNKIES (US), directed by Byron Hurt, exploring the history
and significance of so-called “soul food” and its connection to black
cultural identity. Hurt will be present for a Q&A after his screening on
August 5 at 7:30pm.
Please visit blackstarfest.org for a complete listing of films,
parties, and workshops.
Press passes are available for select screenings. Please contact Jazmyn Burton at
215-870-7741 for more information on press materials and festival passes.