BlackStar Feminists: 10 Films Amplifying the Experiences of Women of Color

From August 2 to 5, 81 films by social justice-oriented filmmakers screened in Philadelphia as part of the BlackStar Film Festival.

Founder Maori Holmes launched the festival after she began looking up films with Black directors that hadn’t played in her city. “[I] was shocked at how many there were,” she said. “That first year we had 40 films.” The festival, now in its seventh year, has grown to include panels, workshops and conversations to expand awareness of specifically Black experiences and experiences related to communities of color.

For those behind-the-scenes, conquering the rigorous selection process can be a gateway to a rare level of success—not only for politically-minded creatives, but for Black creatives as well. “We have definitely been on the vanguard with an artist, emerging or established, screening at our festival,”  told Ms., “and then their career blowing up shortly afterward.”

Many of the films that screened at BlackStar this year had a distinctly feminist bent—spanning topics and the experiences of women of color around the world. We hope they blow up, too.


Cori Bratby-Rudd is an eclectic writer from the Bay Area. She graduated Cum Laude from UCLA’s Gender Studies department, and is a current MFA Candidate in Creative Writing at Cal Arts. Cori enjoys incorporating themes of emotional healing and social justice into her works. She is currently living in the Los Angeles area and has been published in Ms. Magazine, The Gordian Review, Califragile, among many others. She recently won the Editorial Choice Award for her research paper in Audeamus Academic Journal and was nominated as one of Lambda Literary's 2018 Emerging Writers. Her writing also appears on her website: