BlackStar Film Festival Coverage 2017 (Aug 3-6)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tinsel & Tine's Coverage of the...

6th Annual

By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

The 6th Annual BLACKSTAR FILM FESTIVAL 2017 #BSFF17 - Showcasing films by black people from around the world. Screening more than 60 films from 16 countries. This year's theme is RESISTANCE - examining political and social uprisings around the world and in the U.S.

Check out our Festival Coverage below:

Post update 8/4/17

Shorts Program 5
Q&A with the filmmakers

The trick to a good short is how soon you are invested in the characters, and at the end you wanna feel like you saw a feature length movie. These 5 short films shown at #BSFF17 accomplished that and more...

SEE YOU YESTERDAY (Philly Premiere) United States, 2017, 15 min.
Dir. Stefon Bristol •  (Presented by Spike Lee)
See You Yesterday tells the story of two Brooklyn teenage science prodigies who build a time machine to stop one’s brother from being wrongfully killed by the police.

Bottom Line: Loved the unique concept of mixing in #BlackLivesMatters into sci-fi time travel. I don't think they followed all the time traveling rules, because normally you have to be concerned about encountering yourself and that didn't seem to play a part and a few other inconsistencies I've learned from watching too much Fringe, but none of which diminished the overall effect of the film.

THEY CHARGE FOR THE SUN (Philly Premiere) United States, 2016, 17 min.

In a dystopian future where people live nocturnally to avoid the harmful rays of the sun, a young black girl unravels the lie that has kept her and her sister in the dark.

Bottom Line: Distopian future, just like time travel, totally something that draws me into a story. I also like the feeling of displacement & foreboding you feel watching this movie. The ending had everyone roaring! 
NIGHT SHIFT United States, 2017, 16 min
Get a glimpse into a day in the life of a bathroom attendant in a Los Angeles nightclub.
The film premiered at Sundance 17, stars Tunde Adebimpe and is executive produced by JuVee Productions, the company founded by Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon established to empower diverse voices and emerging artists.

Bottom Line: It made me really appreciate my little receptionist gig, cause at least no one is making me fish $20 bills outta a pee puddle. Seriously thou, there's so much pathos in the face of this actor, more than just the agony he feels over not wanting to sign divorce papers, you just know this is a good man at a cross roads in his life and you wanna send him positive energy.

TO BE FREE United States, 2017, 12 min. (screened at Cannes 17)
Dir. Adepero Oduye | Director of photography Bradford Young
In a tiny after-hours club, Nina Simone finds a way, for one moment, to be free.

Bottom Line: For the most part, this short is a music video, and yet you feel like you watched a narrative film. Oduye should have been cast as Nina Simone instead of the highly controversial casting of Zoe Saldana, which resulted in no one seeing the movie "Nina". The cinematography of To Be Free is a mix of shapes, smoke, white lights, gray tones and imagination. It not only captures this emotionally driven performance of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" but it helps underscore the lyrics of the song, which I'd never really paid attention to over these many years before hearing this rendition.

WALK FOR ME United States, 2016, 12 min.

Dir. Elegance Bratton
Walk for Me is a contemporary coming-out story set in present-day New York City. Hassan Kendricks is a conflicted teenager, torn between his devotion to his single mother and his desire to be himself.

Bottom Line: with 5 super strong shorts it was difficult to decide which film to vote my ballot, but I choose Walk For Me because there's nothing like a mother's love and the display of a simple gesture by Hassan/Hannah's mother at the end of this film, says it all.

Post Update 8/5/17

Film Festival Coverage in Philadelphia BlakStar Film Festival

What considerations do film programmers prioritize? This conversation focuses on the experiences and practices of some of today’s leading film curators.
I asked the question what’s the difference between a Film Programmer & and a Film Curator, and received the response – Perspective. Film Curating is about choosing films based on artistic merit, where Programming is based on choosing to entertain.
I think, more often than not, the lines get blurred, but given the choice, and I do think it would be a good thing for me to consider moving into; I'd choose Programmer.

Panel: Dessane Cassell - curator for Studio Museum in Harlem and the Museum of Modern Art | Ashley Clark - film programmer from London, now based in New York, dedicated to exploring the history of black film stardom. | Michelle Materre - background spanning more than 30 years’ experience as film producer, writer, arts administrator, distribution and marketing specialist.| Jon-Sesrie Goff - filmmaker, multi-media artist, and curator. His work explores identity through the image of the community. | Moderator Roni Nicole - Photographer and documentary filmmaker.

#BSFF17 Saturday's highlight was AVA DuVERNAY in Philly, first at Lightbox Film Center being interviewed by BlackStar Festival Director Maori Karmael Holmes and later in the evening, receiving the 2017 Richard Nichols Luminary Award. Best of all, Ava seemed truly happy to be a part of the festival!

Post Update 8/6/17

Shorts Program 8 Q&A

#BSFF17 's theme of "Resistance plays throughout these 4 moving short films:

Baobab Flowers (Dir. Gabriela Watson Aurazo) • Brazil/United States, 2017, 45 min. - Resisting a failed education system in Philly which mirrors that of Brazil. (see below for my cellphone interview with the filmmaker).

Fresh Frozen (Dir. Tony Nguyen • United States, 2017, 10 min.) Resisting gentrification in Oakland CA, where a recovering addict hopes not to lose her popular business due to the higher rents going up around her.  Also a great foodie film, someone in the audience said that double fish sandwich looks good enough to inspire a road trip to Calif - and I'd be riding right along side her, cuz damn, I want that fish sandwich!

Miasia: The Nature of Experience (Dir. Yvonne Michelle Shirley • United States, 2017, 30 min.) Resisting being told your feelings aren't valid and that you don't belong, when all you want is to be heard.

Water Warriors (Dir. Michael Premo • United States/Canada, 2017, 22 min.) Resisting big business and uncaring government to protect the environment, people's health and a close community.

Film Festival Coverage_Panels and Conferences Blackstarfest


Panel: Derica Cole Washington - Her recent released work includes costume design for How To Tell You’re A Douchebag a feature film directed by Tahir Jetter. She was Assistant Costume Designer for the highly anticipated Marvel Black Panther film directed by Ryan Coogler. | Kima Baffour -works on nationally and internationally recognized features, music videos ,short films, and plays. Most recently Hold On (official selection of Sundance), Phantasmagoria (La Mama), and the newest season of AfroPop (Pbs). | Sami Martin Sarmiento - has worked as a designer and style consultant in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. She has worked privately for individual clients as well as on commercial, television and music video sets. She consulted and hosted webisodes featuring fashion trends for SomaGirls.TV. | Walé Oyéjidé - Nigerian-American fashion designer and artist uses textile and apparel design to tell stories about immigrant populations. With his label, Ikiré Jones, Wale brings together African inspired textiles with European tailoring and Renaissance-era art.

Post Update 8/11/17

Tinsel & Tine Photos from BlackStar Film Festival 17


Best Documentary Feature - Whose Streets? (Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis) 
Best Narrative Feature - Ayiti Mon Amour (Guetty Felin) 
Best Short Documentary - Water Warriors (Michael Premo) 
Best Short Narrative - They Charge for the Sun (Terence Nance) 
Best Experimental Film - Mugabo (Amelia Umuhire) 
Best Youth Film (Ages 11-18) - We Are Sankofa (Big Picture Alliance) 
Best Youth Film (Ages 19-23) - Flesh & Iron (Emma Michalak) FOX Inclusion Emerging Voices Award: Narrative - Sketch (Mariama Diallo) Fox Inclusion Emerging Voices Award: Documentary - KOJO: A Short Documentary (Michael Fequiere) 
See the full list of juried nominees and audience award winners HERE.

BlackStar Fest was also T&T's segment topic on
That's Show Biz with Chuck Darrow

Original Post 7/15/17
I wanted to highlight the Philly Filmmakers screening their films during BlackStar:

Baobab Flowers Documentary Gabriela Watson Interviewed

Resistance the Battle of Philadelphia dir. M. Asli Dukan | Baobab Flowers dir. Gabriela Watson Aurazo | Ironwood dir. Shahin Izadi | Philadelphia Bicycle Vignette Story dir. Bryan Green |Tales from Shaolin: Pt. 1 “Shakey Dog” dir. Louis Moore

I requested each filmmaker send me a short 3-5 min cellphone video answering the following questions about their film:
  1. In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film? 

  2. Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Looking for more than directing, what aspect of the process is where you know you are most on point? 

  3. Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at Blackstar 

  4. How does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, something you ate that energized you for a long day shooting, a scene involving food, a restaurant/bar/coffee shop you like to go to when you wrap for the day or to write etc... 

  5. Quick reason why BlackStar Fillm Festival audiences should see your film?

Well, I'm featuring Baobab Flowers mini interview because Gabriela Watson Aurazo was the only one to respond, and she sent me a fabulous video - see below!

BAOBAB FLOWERS is a documentary featuring two teachers who challenge the public educational system while trying to promote Black ancestry in the classroom. Merging poetic and observational style, filmmaker Gabriela Watson Aurazo bridges the lives of teachers from two different countries—Nyanza Bandele in Philadelphia, United States, and Priscila Dias in São Paulo, Brazil. The film shows the similarities between black women as mothers and educators, the impact of poorly performing schools in the black community, and the struggle to achieve equality in education. World Premiere 11/6 11am

Gabriela Watson
MFA in Film and Media Arts
Temple University |

Note: Sat 8/4 3:45pm A Conversation with Ava Duvernay!

Here's links to some feature film highlights, including: world premieres of the collegiate drama Ironwood (Dir. Shahin Izadi) and romantic comedy Hello, Cupid (Dir. Dennis Dortch, Numa Perrier, Tina Cerin); as well as the regional premieres of the Haitian magical realist tale Ayiti Mon Amour (Dir. Guetty Felin) and the documentary Horace Tapscott: Musical Griot (Dir. Barbara McCullough), and a special 16mm presentation of the 1979 film Wilmington 10—USA 10,000 (Dir. Haile Gerima). Visit for Full Line up 
Check back for more Coverage of BlackStar 2017 and follow Tinsel & Tine on social media:
facbook/twitter: @tinseltine | @tinsel_tine (IG) 

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
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Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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