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.