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Blackstar is back! And attendees at this year’s festival will find that, in just one year, it’s already doubled in size to an impressive 75 films.

“Our hope is that BlackStar disrupts stereotypes and creates a visual conversation about the diversity of blackness that carries on long after the credits roll,” says festival founder and artistic director Maori Karmael Holmes.

This year’s features span an array of themes of black life, including reentry after incarceration (Pull of Gravity), mental illness (Home:____), hip hop as a global phenomenon (Hip Hop The New World Order), funeral home/funeral culture (Homegoings), and more. Other highlights include the world premiere of Wangechi Mutu’s The End of Eating Everything, the Philadelphia premiere of Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George – followed by a Q&A with the director and director of cinematography Bradford Young – and David Tosh Gitonga’s Nairobi Half Life. There will also be a special presentation of Victoria Mahoney’s Yelling to the Sky followed by a Q&A with actors Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Yolanda Ross.

The festival will also present a special honor to the Howard University Film Program at the closing event on August 4. Earlier that day Haile Gerima (Sankofa), one of the founders of the Film Program, and his former students, Bradford Young (Mother of George), Loren Lillian (Pariah), and Najma Nurridin (A Lovers Call), along with professor Montré Aza Missouri, will discuss the legacy of the program, the philosophy of their work and the future of Black film.
Nairobi Halflife650
As well, there’s a family programming block:
  • The Divorce Counselor – Mr. and Mrs. Jones seek couples counseling as a formality on the path to filing for divorce. At their first session, they find more than either of them expected.
  • Nairobi Halflife (above)- A young aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming a success in the big city. In pursuit of this and to the chagrin of his brother and parents, he makes his way to Nairobi: the city of opportunity.
  • Aujourd’hui / Tey – It happens sometimes, everyone knew that. How? No one could say exactly how, through experience perhaps. This is a place where Death still sometimes warns that it is coming. It happens the day before, like a certitude that descends upon the bodies and minds of the one who has been chosen, and the people close to him. No doubting it, no fighting it. Today will be Satché’s last day.
  • The Adventures of Teddy P Brains– Boundless exploration is at the heart of this new 3D animated feature length movie. Six year old Teddy P. Brains is given a magical diploma by his parents for successfully graduating kindergarten. With a wave of his scroll, a slick spaceship appears enabling him, his cousin Tempest and his dog D’Artagnan to travel in time and through space. The kids use their minds in imaginative and creative ways to solve fun and exciting missions in the Amazon Rain Forest.

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