Firelight Media is proud to sponsor this year’s BlackStar Film Festival, which will feature premiere screenings by five Firelight-supported filmmakers.
BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global Indigenous communities, showcasing films by Black, Brown, and Indigenous artists from around the world. This year’s festival will take place August 3–7, and will include screenings, panel discussions, and other special events in Philadelphia and online.
Firelight Media is proud to be a festival sponsor again this year, and to support premiere screenings of films by five Firelight-supported filmmakers: Hazel Gurland-Pooler, Byron Hurt, Jasmín Mara López, Kevin Shaw, and Nadia Shihab. Firelight Media leadership will also be present at the festival: Firelight Media President Marcia Smith will be featured in a virtual panel discussion; Monika Navarro, senior director of artist programs, will serve as a coach for the BlackStar Pitch competition; and Chloë Walters-Wallace, director of regional initiatives, will serve as a judge for the BlackStar Pitch.
This year, Firelight Media will also be hosting a Beyond Resilience Cool Down at BlackStar. On Thursday, August 4 from 12–3pm in Annenberg Plaza, join the Firelight Family for drinks, treats, and beats — full details below.
Read on for more information about film screenings by Firelight-supported filmmakers as well as appearances by Firelight Media staff.
Wednesday, August 3: World Premiere of ‘Storming Caesars Palace,’ dir. Hazel Gurland-Pooler
On Wednesday, August 3 at 8:30pm ET, catch the World Premiere of Documentary Lab alum Hazel Gurland-Pooler’s documentary Storming Caesars Palace. The film uplifts the story of Las Vegas activist Ruby Duncan and a band of ordinary mothers who launched one of the most extraordinary — yet forgotten — feminist, anti-poverty movements in U.S. history, providing a blueprint today for an equitable future. The film will also be available to stream virtually beginning Thursday, August 4 at 10am ET.
Storming Caesars Palace - BlackStar Projects
This film uplifts the story of Las Vegas activist Ruby Duncan and a band of ordinary mothers who launched..
Wednesday, August 3: Philadelphia Premiere of ‘Let the Little Light Shine,’ dir. Kevin Shaw
On Wednesday, August 3 beginning at 2pm ET, Documentary Lab alum Kevin Shaw’s documentary Let the Little Light Shine will be available to stream virtually. When a thriving, top-ranked Chicago African American elementary school is threatened to be closed and replaced by a new high school that favors the community’s wealthier residents, parents, students and educators fight for the elementary school’s survival.
Let the Little Light Shine - BlackStar Projects
When a thriving, top-ranked Chicago African American elementary school is threatened to be closed and replaced by a new…
Thursday, August 4: Firelight Media Beyond Resilience Cool Down
On Thursday, August 4 from 12–3pm in Annenberg Plaza, join Firelight Media for a Beyond Resilience Cool Down event at BlackStar Film Festival! Firelight Media’s Interim Documentary Lab Director Sabaah Folayan and Documentary Lab alum Sian-Pierre Regis are hosting a Beyond Resilience pop-up where the filmmaking community can enjoy frozen delights from our ice cream truck, create moments in our photo booth, wind down with a cold drink, and turn up with a DJ set by BB Basura.
Friday, August 5: East Coast Premiere of ‘Silent Beauty,’ dir. Jasmín Mara López
On Friday, August 5 at 5pm ET, Documentary Lab alum Jasmín Mara López’s documentary Silent Beauty will screen at the Montgomery Theater. Silent Beauty is a lyrical and sensitive autobiographical exploration of the filmmaker’s family history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence. The film will be available to stream in the virtual cinema beginning at 6pm ET on August 5.
Silent Beauty - BlackStar Projects
Silent Beauty is a lyrical and sensitive autobiographical exploration of the filmmaker‘s family history with child…
Friday, August 5: East Coast Premiere of ‘Echolocation,’ dir. Nadia Shihab
On Friday, August 5 at 8:30pm at the Zellerbach Theater catch Documentary Lab alum Nadia Shihab’s documentary short film Echolocation via the Shorts: Locomote program. Assembled through field recordings, voice messages, and photographs, the film is a layered experiment exploring existence in the aftermath of change. The film will also be able to stream in the virtual cinema beginning August 5 at 8pm ET.
Shorts: Locomote - BlackStar Projects
Moving under one's own power. Presented by Firelight Media, MediaJustice, and Temple University School of Theater, Film…
Saturday, August 6: Philadelphia Premiere of ‘Hazing,’ dir. Byron Hurt
On Saturday, August 6 at 8:30pm ET, Documentary Lab alum and William Greaves Research & Development Fund grantee Byron Hurt’s documentary Hazing will screen at the Zellerbach Theater. In Hazing, Hurt lifts the veil on a variety of underground hazing rituals that are abusive and sometimes deadly. The film will also be available to stream in the virtual cinema beginning at 8pm ET on August 6.
HAZING - BlackStar Projects
Director Byron Hurt lifts the veil on a variety of underground hazing rituals that are abusive, and sometimes deadly.
Sunday, August 7: ‘Loss, Grief, Legacy’ Virtual Panel feat. Marcia Smith
On Sunday, August 7 at 5pm ET, Firelight Media President Marcia Smith will be featured on the virtual panel ‘Loss, Grief, Legacy,’ alongside Arthur Jafa, dream hampton, Lynneé Denise, and moderator alexis pauline gumbs. The panel will give us an opportunity to hold space for the recent transitions of Greg Tate, bell hooks, Michelle Materre, Gary Smalls, and Lewis Erskine among so many others.
Panel: Loss, Grief, Legacy - BlackStar Projects
Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can just change shape. This chorus of kindred spirits reminds us that grief…
BlackStar will also host its fourth annual BlackStar Pitch competition, through which filmmakers will pitch their short non-fiction projects in front of a virtual audience and a panel of judges to receive feedback and have an opportunity to receive an artist grant from OneFifty, a Warner Bros. Discovery brand. Monika Navarro, senior director of artist programs, will serve as a coach for the BlackStar Pitch, and Chloë Walters-Wallace, director of regional initiatives, will serve as a judge.
BlackStar Pitch - BlackStar Projects
Pitch your short non-fiction project for the chance to win an artist grant, industry mentorship, and more.