Philadelphia’s acclaimed BlackStar Film Festival — often called “the Black Sundance” — is back for its fifth installment from August 4 through August 7 and this year’s theme is Migration, focusing on the African diaspora and movement like the Great Migration of southern black Americans to northern cities like Philadelphia.
BlackStar Festival Fast Facts
- The 2016 BlackStar Film Festival runs August 4-7
- Tickets are on sale now, and range from $6 for BlackStar members to $150 for an all-festival pass
- The festival features more than 60 films, as well as panel discussions, youth programs, an exhibition and awards ceremony
“By Indie Means Necessary” serves as the tagline for BlackStar, and plays on the festival’s dedication to independent cinema in the spirit of late civil rights activist Malcolm X and his iconic “By Any Means Necessary” speech.
Created in 2012, BlackStar celebrates black traditions, black people and black arts by showcasing films from an international repertoire of people of color.
Rooted at venues in University City, BlackStar will screen more than 60 films at two different locations, the International House and Drexel University’s Pearlstein Gallery. Additionally, events, an exhibition and a symposium take place at four other locations, making BlackStar a citywide festival.
Featured films include the North American premiere of Tell Me Sweet Something, a love story based in Johannesburg, screening Thursday at the International House, A Moving Image, a film about gentrification in the London neighborhood of Brixton and 72 Hours: A Brooklyn Love Story directed by Raafi Rivero.
There are locally made films screening as well, like Mil’s Life, a short film about jockey Jamil “Mil” Pratis, an urban cowboy who hails from North Philadelphia.
In addition to film showings, BlackStar will host an exhibit at the Slought Foundation, as well as an awards ceremony at the Kimmel Center. The BlackStar Awards Gala will be hosted by actors Dorian Missick of Zoe Ever After and Annie and Simone Missick, known for her roles in Luke Cage and Ray Donovan. Daughters of the Dust filmmaker Julie Dash is the featured honoree, and will receive the Richard Nichols Luminary Award. Her film reemerged into prominence this year when Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade was seemingly inspired by Dash’s work.
With fans like director Ava DuVernay, the BlackStar Film Festival is a treat for filmmakers and plain ol’ movie lovers.
Tickets and More
Tickets for individual films are on sale now $12 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. For those looking to catch all of the action, full-festival passes, $150, are available online. Individual tickets and festival passes are available online and can also be purchased at the International House box office.
Check out the recap of the 2015 festival below and stay tuned for more information on the fifth annual festival.