Summer-time is upon us and many of you are more than likely seeking ways to make your summer productive, yet fun and adventurous. If this is the case, there are several Black film festivals that will be taking place during the summer and running into the fall season! We highlight a few of these below.  This post should encourage you take time during your vacations to visit and participate in the following fantastic, unique, and sometimes FREE Black film festivals with your family and friends!

African Diaspora International Film Festival: June 13 – June 19



The 12thAnnual African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) in Chicago is already underway; it began on June 13th and will run until June 19th at the Facets Multimedia Cinematheque. The ADIFF website notes:

ADFF’s mission is to present these films to diverse audiences, redesign the Black cinema experience, and strengthen the role of African and African descent directors in contemporary world cinema. In response to this mission, ADFF features the work of emerging and established filmmakers of color. Most important, ADFF distinguishes itself through its presentation of outstanding works that shine a different or comprehensive light on African Diaspora life and culture –no matter what the filmmaker’s race or nationality.

 For more information visit:

For schedule of events visit:


American Black Film Festival (ABFF): June 19 – June 22


Film Life’s 18th Annual American Black Film Festival will take place June 19th through June 22nd in the diverse metropolis of New York City. The 2014 ABFF Ambassador is actor Morris Chestnut, and the opening night screening is “Think Like A Man Too” directed by Tim Story and by legendary comedian Steve Harvey. Jeff Friday, the Founder and CEO of Film Life Inc. stated on the website:

The Black experience is an integral part of American culture; and the universal appeal of Black stories is becoming more apparent as African Americans make substantial inroads into the motion picture industry. As we look to the future, it is our goal to not only support Black filmmakers, but to promote their work for everyone’s enjoyment! The ABFF is committed to broadening the mainstream embrace of Black culture, to have as great an impact through cinema as we have had through music, fashion and sports.

For information visit:

And view the festival trailer here:


Newark Black Film Festival: June 25 – July 30


The Newark Black Film Festival (NBFF) will be kicking off its 40thseason at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey on June 25th running 6 weeks until July 30th. The NBFF Bank of America Opening Reception is on June 25th at 5:30 pm (To RSVP: and will the festival will open with the screening of the 2010 film “Freedom Riders” directed by Stanley Nelson at 7pm that evening. Adult screenings are every Wednesday at 7pm and are FREE to the public (first-come, first-serve)! The website states:

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. Each film selection encompasses a wide range of cinematic forms and formulas, from documentary to the avant-garde, for youth and adults.

 The youth screenings for the NBFF will be on Mondays at The Newark Public Library beginning on July 7th, and Wednesdays at the Newark Museum starting on July 9th. The youth screenings will open with the screening of the film “Mrs. Katz and Tush” at 10:30am on July 7th.

This year, the NBFF will be awarding inspiring filmmakers with their biennial Paul Robeson Awards, first established in 1985 to honor the spirit of renowned activist, performer, and athlete Paul Robeson.

For adult schedule visit:

For youth schedule visit:


Black Alphabet Film Festival: July 2 – July 3

AlphabetBlack Alphabet hosts its second annual Black Alphabet Film Festival held on July 2nd (at The DuSable Museum) and July 3rd (at The Center on Halsted) in the vibrant city of Chicago, IL. The BAFF is committed to promoting and showcasing films by and about the Black LGBTQ/SGL community. On the Black Alphabet website, they state the following in regards to their vision:

Beyond LGBTQ or SGL, we tell our stories with each letter of the alphabet. Our mission is to empower our community, celebrate our achievements and foster our future. We do this through the support of culture, art, entrepreneurship, and health. Our aim is to create and encourage a new dialogue of what it means to be Black: Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer or Questioning, Same Gender Loving, as well as Allies and the identities beyond. We are Black Alphabet: Building on our past, uniting in the present, affirming a prosperous future. Let no story be told without us.

For more information visit:


BlackStar Film Festival: July 31 – August 3


The third annual BlackStar Film Festival will be hosted from July 31st to August 3rd at different venues throughout “University City” – West Philadelphia –including International House Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art at University of Pennsylvania, Scribe Video Center, and World Café Live. The BSFF website states:

The BlackStar Film Festival is a celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent in a global context. BlackStar highlights films that are often overlooked from emerging, established, and mid-career directors, writers and producers working in narrative, documentary, experimental and music video filmmaking.

The BSFF includes a film and screenplay competition for the following categories: Short Documentary, Short Narrative, Feature Documentary, Feature Narrative, Short Screenplay Competition, and BlackStar Special Jury Prize. Among some of the jurors for the competition are directors Terence Nance and Pet Chatmon and producer Warrington Hudlin.

For more information visit:


Black Harvest International Film Festival: August 1 – August 28


The 20th annual Black Harvest International Film Festival will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago, IL, during the entire month of August, from August 1st to August 28th. Films screened during the BHIFF tell stories, raise questions, spark lively discussions or touch on issues that relate to the Black African, African American, and African diasporic experience.

For advanced ticket information visit:


Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival: August 5 – August 9


Run&Shoot Filmworks will be hosting their 12th annual Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival (MVAAFF), located in the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard for five days, August 5th through August 9th.

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 long time running show “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 more information visit:

For festival itinerary visit:

~Katrina Overby

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