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BlackStar Film Festival

Showcase of innovative and genre-defying cinema

BlackStar Film Festival

The four-day film festival hosts films, events and more at venues citywide. Credit: Courtesy of BlackStar Film Festival


August 4-7, 2016


Hailed as “the black Sundance” by Ebony magazine, BlackStar Film Festival makes its return to Philly for a fifth round of cinematic awesomeness.

The four-day festival will once again put Philly in the spotlight as a go-to destination for black filmmakers and film-lovers alike. This year’s theme is “Migration”, focusing on the African diaspora and movement like the Great Migration of southern black Americans to northern cities like Philadelphia.

Rooted at venues in University City, BlackStar will screen more than 60 films at two different locations, the International House and Drexel University’s Pearlstein Gallery. Additionally, events, an exhibition and a symposium will take place at four other locations, making BlackStar a citywide festival.

“By Indie Means Necessary” serves as the tagline for BlackStar, and plays on the festival’s dedication to independent cinema in the spirit of late civil rights activist Malcolm X and his iconic “By Any Means Necessary” speech.

Created in 2012, BlackStar celebrates black traditions, black people and black arts by showcasing films from an international repertoire of people of color.

Festival Highlights

Featured films include the North American premiere of “Tell Me Sweet Something”, a love story based in Johannesburg, “A Moving Image”, a film about gentrification in the London neighborhood of Brixton and “72 Hours: A Brooklyn Love Story” directed by Raafi Rivero.

There are locally made films screening as well, like Mil’s Life, a short film about jockey Jamil “Mil” Pratis, an urban cowboy who hails from North Philadelphia.

In addition to film showings, BlackStar will host an exhibition at the Slought Foundation, as well as an awards ceremony at the Kimmel Center. The BlackStar Awards Gala will be hosted by actors Dorian Missick of Zoe Ever After and Annie and Simone Missick, known for her roles in “Luke Cage” and “Ray Donovan”. “Daughters of the Dust” filmmaker Julie Dash is the featured honoree and will receive the Richard Nichols Luminary Award. Her film reemerged into prominence this year when Beyonce’s visual album “Lemonade” was seemingly inspired by Dash’s work.

With fans like director Ava DuVernay, the BlackStar Film Festival is a treat for both filmmakers and plain ol’ movie lovers.

More Information

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