BlackStar Film Festival

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In two short years, the BlackStar Film Festival has become a jewel in Philadelphia’s cultural crown, a summer weekend ritual for movie buffs and hungry students with an interest in compelling documentaries, narrative storytelling, screenwriting, composing and experimental filmmaking that captures, explores and celebrates the immense richness and diversity of African American and African life. Sandwiched between a festive ICA opening reception and an awards show at WCL is four days of informative panels, workshops and films—including some wisely-categorized shorts—that’ll delve into everything from the struggles of black LGBT youth and innovative artists’ challenges to the politics of black hair and what happens when a young  Jewish woman finds out her father was black. That’s just the tip of the cinematic iceberg.

Saturday’s youth film program promises to resonate, when 10 engaging short films, whose writers and directors are ages 14 through 22, will be shown back to back—then 14-year-old Broadway and film actress Eden Duncan-Smith, who’s got familial ties to Philly, will chat with a selection of the future Spike Lees and Ava DuVernays who made them. Rap fans win big too, with BlackStar’s “Planet Rock: Hip-Hop Shorts” block early Saturday and two key Philly premieres: Friday night’s Til Infinity: Souls of Mischief revisits the seminal Bay Area crew’s mindblowing 1993 debut LP with a bevy of emcees and aficionados, and Sunday’s closer is Time Is Illmatic, the acclaimed documentary focusing on Nas’ landmark 1994 album, one that marked the arrival of one of rap’s most vital voices. Saturday night’s They Die By Dawn, is a story about black bounty hunters in the Wild West, featuring Erykah Badu, Bokeem Woodbine, Giancarlo Esposito and guaranteed heat-bringer Michael K. Williams; a Q&A with director Jeymes Samuel and Williams follows. Stick around afterward to watch Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose in Half of a Yellow Sun, the Biyi Bandele-directed drama based on the 2006 novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. // KENNEDY ALLEN

Thurs., July 31 though Sun. Aug 3. Various times and locations. Free-$125. blackstarfest.org
 

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EVENT DETAILS

WHEN
Friday, August 01, 2014
Recurring: ONCE

TIME & PRICE
- Price: Unknown

WHERE
Various locations, Philadelphia, PA
One time only on 08/01/2014. .

FOR MORE INFO
Various locations

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