Film festivals around the country are in full swing welcoming anyone who wants to enjoy friends, the beautiful summer weather, and a great film, sometimes…for free!


The Newark Black Film Festival (NBFF) recently kicked off its 39th season at the Newark Museum on June 19th and the six-week festival will run until July 31st.  Screenings start at 7pm on Wednesdays and are on a first-come, first-served basis, as the screenings are free to the public. The NBFF will also kick off its Youth Cinema summer-long series on July 8th at The Newark Park Library and July 10th and the Newark Museum. The Youth Cinema series consists of children’s features and short films and runs until August 14th.   The Newark Museum website stated:

Since its inception in 1974, the Newark Black Film Festival (NBFF) has become known among its peers as the longest running black film festival in the United States. Throughout the years, it has continued to provide a progressive public forum for hundreds of emerging writers, directors, producers, performers and film buffs who enjoy African American and African Diaspora cinema. Screening in the summer months, the films that are shown reflect the full diversity of the black experience in America, both past and present.

The NBFF will be screening the four- time Oscar nominated fantasy drama film Beasts of the Southern Wild on Wednesday, July 10th. The film features several new up and coming actors and actresses including New Orleans baker Dwight Henry and the amazing nine-year old, then six-year old, Quvenzhane’ Wallis.

For more information about the Newark Black Film Festival and Youth Cinema schedule dates, festival sponsors, and more please visit the Newark Museum website link: hotterthanjuly


On Thursday, July 25th the Hotter Than July! film committee will host the Hotter Than July Film Festival in Detroit, Michigan, located at The Cass City Cinema. The film festival is one part of a larger week of events focused on the awareness, unity, visibility, and enrichment of the lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender (LGBT) people of African descent in Detroit and southeast Michigan. Celebrating 18 years as the third oldest black social justice and equality celebration, the Hotter Than July! Project Manager stated on their website:

“Detroit’s Hotter Than July! is the most significant social justice and equality celebration that combines cultural, spiritual and educational components in its programming.  This programming includes a candlelight vigil, a boat ride, a film festival, conferences, workshops, picnics, entertainment, a youth ball, a worship service and a brunch.

The Hotter Than July Film Festival starts at 5:30 p.m. and will last until 12:20 a.m. Admission is $20 per person. The film festival will be followed by “The Annual Gathering on LGBT Issues” on Friday, July 26th from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The two-day program consists of workshops focused on educating and discussing issues important to the LGBT community. For location and more information about Hotter Than July! and the Hotter Than July Film Festival, please follow the link:



In August, the 11th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival (MVAAFF) will take place for four days in lovely Martha’s Vineyard. The festival will run from August 6th to August 10th. Husband and wife team Floyd Rance and Stephanie Tavares-Rance founded the MVAAFF in 2002 under Run & Shoot Filmworks, a national transmedia company founded by Floyd Rance.  An accomplished filmmaker, Floyd Rance has worked on several projects with Spike Lee and worked on the first season of “Law and Order.” Stephanie Tavares-Rance started her own public relations/event planning company Crescendo and has worked with clients such as HBO and Showtime. In regards to the festival, the MVAAFF website stated:

In 2002, RSF established the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival which was designed to provide an upscale platform dedicated to showcasing and honoring emerging filmmakers in a relaxed environment.

For registration information and more details about the MVAAFF, please follow their website link:

The film festivals mentioned here are just a few of the many happening over the country this summer.  Hopefully this will encourage you to search for film festivals located in or near your area. Take some time off this summer and enjoy a film!

~Katrina Overby

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