BlackStar is thinking of all those suffering as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, including the independent filmmakers, visual artists, and arts organizations that have been severely impacted by the current economic uncertainty. The desire to be in community IRL has never been stronger and we hope that we’ll be able to see your faces in the coming months.
But more than anything, as folks in our community and globally are dealing with economic insecurity, illness, and death at this time, we want to offer light and hope where possible, including good news, resources, and shoutouts. For our collective safety, we have made the decision to reschedule all our in-person programming through May 30.
At present, we remain committed to holding our annual festival in Philadelphia this summer, providing a platform for Black, Brown, and Indigenous filmmakers to showcase their work. We'll keep you updated if anything changes and thank you as always for being a part of this community.
w/ Jenn Nkiru
Amidst this moment of collective isolation, we reached out to BlackStar alumni and others in our community to share what they’re up to. They came back with links to their work, what they’re watching, reading, and listening to, as well as other thoughts on navigating the times. Our first response comes from Jenn Nkiru, who was most recently at BSFF19 with her film BLACK TO TECHNO. See Jenn's picks on Instagram, and follow along as we continue to post responses throughout the month. Share your own picks using #BlackStarWYD!
Shorts to Watch with Kids and Teens
If you're looking for something to do with kids and teens while staying indoors, we've got just the thing! We've put together a list of some stellar short films from previous BlackStar Film Festivals — including Miasia: The Nature of Experience (pictured here) — that are available to stream right now. These picks include a wide array of genres and are appropriate for differing age groups. Check out the full list on our blog.
Every Friday BlackStar Advisory Board Member, Dr. Yaba Blay, a producer and scholar, compiles various clips and images found across the Internet and shares them via her Instagram Stories, in a series titled #JudgementFreeZone. We find ourselves looking forward to it every week. Follow Yaba on Instagram @fiyawata and tune in this Friday.
The final deadline to submit to the BlackStar Film Festival 2020 is coming up! Submit your film by April 13, 2020.
BlackStar is growing! We're thrilled to announce the hiring of five full-time, year-round staff members, the receipt of two substantial grants from the Surdna Foundation and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the welcoming of a new Board of Directors. Read more about these exciting developments in our latest press release and check out our staff bios on the website.
COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant for Women 40+
Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) has introduced an emergency relief grant program to support artists impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. The program will distribute $250,000 in grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a direct result of the crisis. As with AWAW’s annual award, the program is open to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 in the United States and territories, and aims to address the unique challenges faced by artists in middle age or older, particularly at this critical time. Learn more and apply here.
ITVS Short-Form Open Call
ITVS has relaunched its call for short-form series and films, accepting applications on a rolling basis all year round. This marks the first ITVS funding initiative to feature a rolling application window in order to expand opportunities for filmmakers. Short-Form Open Call offers development and co-production funding to help content creators complete their short nonfiction film or series for distribution on public media's web-based platforms. Learn more and apply here.
Rapid Response Grants for Indie Doc Community
American Documentary, the nonprofit organization behind POV Docs, has re-opened their Artist Emergency Fund for the independent documentary community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how you can receive up to $500 in a rapid response grant to assist with basic needs, including food, immediate health care, and insurance premiums. Apply here.
The March on Washington Film Festival Student and Emerging Shorts Competitions
Now in it's 5th year, the MoWFF is continuing its Competition for Emerging and Student filmmakers to submit short form content, both narrative and documentary, which focuses on civil rights movements, the civil rights era and social justice issues. Learn more and apply by the Early Bird Deadline of April 24.
Rough Cut Retreat
A Catapult Film Fund & True/False Film Fest collaboration, Rough Cut Retreat unites nonfiction filmmakers and mentors in a creative, supportive, and engaged atmosphere. The retreat acts as a focus group for filmmakers to diagnose what is and isn’t working in their film. True/False and Catapult are committed to bringing the thoughtful critiques and camaraderie of past retreats to the 2020 event, whether this year’s gathering takes place in-person or relies on some blend of in-person and online interactions. Learn more and apply here.
Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia (UPDATE)
Good Pitch Local has postponed all of its 2020 events as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new dates for the Philadelphia event are yet to be determined but the application remains open. Learn more and apply here.
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The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global communities of color, showcasing films by Black, Brown and Indigenous people from around the world. Support our voices--by indie means necessary.