This screening program from the 2019 BlackStar Film Festival offers a series of cinematic love letters, short films that reclaim and retell the lives of individuals and communities with deep reverence and formal innovation.
Our title comes from playwright Charlotte Brathwaite’s short film which is itself drawn from the comments of Martin Luther King, Jr. who once said, “The world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. But I know, somehow only when it’s dark enough, can you see the stars.”
Maori Holmes will be present for conversation following the screening.
Holmes is founder and director of the BlackStar Film Festival. She has organized programs in film at a myriad of organizations including Anthology Film Archives, Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), Lightbox Film Center, Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Underground Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art—where she organized screening programs in conjunction with the 2019 Biennial. Holmes’s writing has appeared in Film Quarterly. Holmes is a 2019 Soros Equality Fellow.
Named after Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey’s shipping line, the BlackStar Film Festival has been nicknamed the “the black Sundance.” Founded by Holmes in 2012, BlackStar is now a major platform for the formally innovative work of Black, indigenous, and other independent filmmakers of color from around the world.
BlackStar Founder and Director Maori Holmes Presents: Only When It’s Dark Enough Can You See the Stars
Short Films from the 2019 Festival
3/12, 6:15PM, LI 048
America, Garrett Bradley, 30, Short Doc, 2019
Rooted in New Orleans, AMERICA is a modern day silent film, challenging the idea of Black cinema as a “wave,” or “movement in time,” proposing instead a continuous thread of achievement.
Bereka, Nesanet Teshager Abegaze, 7 Experimental, 2019
Bereka is a family history archive as told by matriarch Azalu Mekonnen and her granddaughter Samira Hooks. Shot on Super 8 in Los Angeles and Gondar, Bereka captures the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and explores migration, memory and rebirth. The film was hand-processed by Nesanet at the Echo Park Film Center.
Fainting Spells, Sky Hopinka, 11, Experimental, 2019
Told through recollections of youth, learning, lore, and departure, this is an imagined myth for the Xąwįska – or the Indian Pipe Plant – used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted.
A Love Song for Latasha, Sophia Nahli Allison, 19, Short Doc, 2019
A Love Song For Latasha is a dreamlike archive in conversation with the past and the present to reimagine a more nuanced narrative of Latasha Harlins by excavating intimate and poetic memories shared by her cousin and best friend.
Only When It’s Dark Enough Can You See the Stars, Charlotte Brathwaite, 9, Experimental, 2019
“The world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. But I know, somehow only when it’s dark enough, can you see the stars.” –MLK, Jr. Two beings caught in a landscape of contrasting violence and beauty, where history and future collide, calling on the fantastical and the real.
T, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, 14, Short Narrative, 2019
A film crew follows three grieved participants of Miami’s annual T Ball, where folks assemble to model R.I.P. t-shirts and innovative costumes designed in honor of their dead.
Hosted by the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive.