(Screenshot via Vimeo)
BlackStar Film Festival returns Aug. 3 though 6, and this year, the fest that exclusively screens work by Black filmmakers is focusing on “resistance.”
During the film selection process for the sixth annual event, the BlackStar team and Nehad Khader, BlackStar’s senior program director, noticed that the theme of resistance was shared by the chosen films. (Last year’s fest focused partially on “migration.”)
“It’s about letting the works speak for themselves and seeing what they have to say,” Khader wrote in an email. “Resistance comes in infinite forms — sometimes it’s physical resistance, like an uprising or a movement; sometimes resistance is about picking up a camera and using it to create our own narratives or pose alternative futures.”
While the films explore resistance, they also help to expand people’s understanding of what it means to be Black.
“It’s easy for us to accept the boundaries that have been set upon us as Black people in this country because the images of us are very stereotyped,” founder Maori Karmael Holmes told Khader last year. “I want to shake that up. I want people to be unbounded.”
Here are the 10 films about resistance that will be presented at BlackStar’s sixth annual fest; the accompanying descriptions were written by the filmmakers themselves.
- “Action Kommandant” (documentary) — The untold story of slain South African liberation fighter, Ashley Kriel. During the oppressive apartheid era, Ashley was known as the Ché Guevara of Cape Town’s notorious Cape Flats.
- “Black America Again” (short narrative) — A visual celebration of the beauty, strength, perseverance and spirit of the Black community in these troubling times, inspired by Common’s “Black America Again.”
- “Fresh Frozen” (short documentary) — Fresh Frozen provides an intimate look at a small, Black-owned sandwich shop in a fast changing neighborhood in Oakland.
- “Horace Tapscott Musical Griot” (documentary) — This film documents the life of the late musical genius and community activist, Horace Tapscott, who was blacklisted in the 1960’s and 70’s because of his political affiliations and the LAPD accused his music of inciting people to riot.
- “Kindah” (experimental) — The fourth film in an ongoing series of 16mm films exploring the filmmaker’s relationship to the African Diaspora.
- “New Neighbors” (short narrative) — How far will a Mother go to protect her children? A 2017 Sundance Official Selection, New Neighbors is a story about a mother and her two sons who move to a new neighborhood, and because of all the killings and assaults on Black lives she is determined to keep her family safe.
- “Whose Streets?” (documentary) — Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, “Whose Streets?” is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising.
- “Wilmington 10” (documentary) — Using the “Wilmington Ten” political prisoners case of 1971 as a departing point, the film examines political prisoners in the USA, broader international issues of human rights, the criminal justice system and racial oppression.
- “Miasia: The Nature of Experience” (short documentary) — Brooklyn teen Miasia Clark is just a few weeks shy of presenting at the first ever Black Girl Movement National Conference. As the event approaches, we watch her prepare with her activist group, Girls for Gender Equity.
- “The Creed” (short narrative) — Kwame and Khadijah Lee are a grieving couple whose 15-year-old son, Brandon, is shot and killed by a cop. After the court system has failed them by acquitting their son’s murderer, in a desperate search for justice, they take matters into their own hands.
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