This screening program from the 2019 BlackStar 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.

Maori Holmes will be calling in for conversation following the screening.

Holmes is Founder and Artistic Director of the BlackStar Film Festival, based in Philadelphia.


🎥 America, Garrett Bradley, 30, Short Doc, 2019
Rooted in New Orleans, this modern day silent film, challenges the idea of Black cinema as a “wave,” or “movement in time,” proposing instead a continuous thread of achievement. Inspired by Lime Kiln Field Day (1913), featuring Bert Williams.

🎥 Bereka, Nesanet Teshager Abegaze, 7 Experimental, 2019
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 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.

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