I’m beyond excited to be a part of the 2nd Annual–BlackStar Film Festival taking place in Philadelphia this weekend. BlackStar is Philly’s only festival that showcases film, artwork, and stories about people in the African Diaspora. As a woman who values storytelling and image-making, I’m drawn to the festival’s focus on celebrating independent filmmakers that tell dynamic stories of black people. Often, we, or shall I say people in Hollywood, run the risk of producing and promoting a single narrative. However, a festival such as BlackStar is the perfect platform to shine light on a variety of narratives that embody an entire global community. For the next three days I will volunteer at the festival, watch films, attend a few panel discussions, and ultimately just soak up all of the greatness.
There are over 70 films that are screening at the festival this weekend. About half of the screenings are free admission. For a full schedule of films check here. Some films that I’m definitely excited to see are as follows:
Yelling to the Sky, directed by Victoria Mahoney ; shown Aug 4th at 4pm at International House Philadelphia
“A visceral coming-of-age story, “Yelling to the Sky” features a sobering, breakthrough performance from Zoe Kravitz, with an all-star supporting cast including Jason Clarke, Gabourey Sidibe and Antonique Smith.”
Things Never Said, directed by Charles Murray; shown Aug 3rd at 9pm at International House Philadelphia
“Wounded by a miscarriage and an angry husband, Kal tries desperately to find an outlet for her artistic voice.”
Nairobi Half Life, directed by David Tosh Gitonga; shown Aug 3rd 7pm at International House Philadelphia
“A young aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming a success in big city Nairobi. After he makes his way there he quickly learns why the city is nicknamed Nairobbery as he is robbed of his money and belongings. He forms a friendship with a small-time gang leader who takes him in. Drawn into a new world of theft and violence, he struggles to keep his acting and criminal worlds separate.”
There are over 70 films that are screening at the festival this weekend. If you’re in the Philadelphia area come out and support!