Friday, August 10, 2012
The BlackStar Film Festival took place August 2-5, 2012 in Philadelphia. Its mission was to celebrate the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and to showcase film and video works by and about black people from across the globe.
As per my original post below highlighting this film festival, other obligations did prevent me from attending all but one event, but it was a good one - A Conversation with Ava DuVernay.
Ava DuVernay, is the first African American woman to take home the U.S. directing award at Sundance Film Festival (2012) for her film "Middle of Nowhere". (Opening in Philly October 12th).
The discussion was lead by documentary filmmaker Louis Massiah and was funded by The Leeway Foundation.
I became aware of Ava DuVernay, last February when she came to Philly as the featured speaker for a Reelblack Lunch Lecture entitled: DIY filmmaking, marketing and distribution (click for T & T post).
Later in the year, I saw her debut feature film - I Will Follow and was very impressed with the telling of this personal story of grief and family ties.
Most importantly, Ms. DuVernay founded AFFRM - African-American Film Releasing Movement, a groundbreaking distribution company comprised of 6 Black Film Festivals across the country, dedicated to diverse cinematic images, whose mission is to empower black filmmakers through a means of theatrical distribution beyond the studio system and connect their work with eager audiences.
AFFRM has been making strides, but at the end of the interview Ava beseeched the audience for more support -
" We need you to help make this happen. Whether it's Middle of Nowhere or the film that comes after. It's not gonna work if the audiences don't come. I can't tell you how heartbroken we were about the numbers for Restless City.
We don't go to investors because we don't want to answer to anyone about the kind of films we choose. We don't need to make money, we just need to breakeven and be able to sustain ourselves; we cannot do it if you don't come.
So if you're at all interested in black cinema, the forward movement of these images... come! It has to be the Friday or Saturday of the opening weekend."
Below is a video excerpt of A Conversation with Ava DuVernay:
Here's the Youtube link for those who receive T&T via RSS feed.
ORIGINAL POST:Unfortunately I don't know how much of it I'm going to be able to cover. Those dates are already really booked for me with personal commitments, but I'm gonna do my best to be on the scene at some point during the festival and wish everyone involved much success!
Tinsel & Tine always welcomes guest bloggers - if you attend the festival, even one film or event and want to send your thoughts or pictures, I'll be happy to post them and give blogging credit.
Here's the link to the schedule of films and events
Here's the list of venues -
African American Museum in Philadelphia 701 Arch Street
Art Sanctuary 628 S. 16th Street
The Blockley 3801 Chestnut Street
The Denim Loft/Putnam Building 1627 N. 2nd Street
Fluid Nightclub 613 S. 4th Street
International House 3701 Chestnut Street
The BlackStar Film Festival, which will include more than 40 films from across the globe, is the brainchild of filmmaker and curator Maori Karmael Holmes. In 2005 Holmes directed Scene Not Heard, a documentary exploring the struggles of women in Philadelphia hip-hop. Since then she’s worked on numerous films and arts projects with mainstream and independent artists including heading up the Black Lily Film & Music Festival from 2006-2010.
“I’ve attended a lot of film festivals and it’s been my experience that some of the most moving independent films go unnoticed by their intended audience—hometown folks, communities of color, etc.” says Holmes. “Films shape how we view ourselves and often the mainstream images most people have access to don’t accurately reflect our actual world.”
In addition to film screenings, the festival will include workshops, panel discussions, and a marketplace in the lobby outside of the main theater featuring several pop-up shops offering handcrafted goods, clothing and music.- Indiewire