We remain committed to sharing contemporary and repertory work from Black filmmakers from around the world and bringing attention to films that might have been overlooked. Our Black Creatives/Black Stories highlights films currently available in our virtual cinema and serves as a space to amplify Black voices, to share their stories and lived experiences.
We’ve also been updating our working list of other films to watch, along with valuable ways to engage in anti-racism learning and support local initiatives in our community.
The Inheritance (US, 2021)
Run Time: 102 min. Rating: Not rated
After nearly a decade exploring different facets of the African diaspora — and his own place within it — Ephraim Asili makes his feature-length debut with The Inheritance, an astonishing ensemble work set almost entirely within a West Philadelphia house where a community of young, Black artists and activists form a collective. A scripted drama of characters attempting to work towards political consensus — based partly on Asili’s own experiences in a Black liberationist group — weaves with a documentary recollection of the Philadelphia liberation group MOVE, the victim of a notorious police bombing in 1985. Ceaselessly finding commonalities between politics, humor, and philosophy, with Black authors and radicals at its edges, The Inheritance is a remarkable film about the world as we know it.
Test Pattern (US, 2021)
Run Time: 82 min. Rating: Not rated
Part psychological horror, part realist drama, this exhilarating debut feature from Shatara Michelle Ford is set against the backdrop of national discussions around inequitable health care and policing, the #metoo movement, and race in America. Test Pattern follows an interracial couple whose relationship is put to the test after a Black woman is sexually assaulted and her white boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital in search of a rape kit. Their story reveals the systemic injustices and social conditioning women face when navigating sex and consent within the American patriarchy. Winner of top prizes at the BlackStar and New Orleans Film Festivals, this gripping social thriller offers a unique exploration of institutional racism and sexism from a Black female point of view. Content warning: This film includes a depiction of sexual assault.
Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities (US, 2021)
Run Time: 82 min. Rating: Not rated
In this collection of six shorts, filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back. From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary.
Featured shorts (in order) are Love in Submission, A Hollywood Party, Nowhere, The Black Banshee, Auntie Zariyah & Pandemic Chronicles.
We were very excited to host a q&a with three of the filmmakers moderated by Endia Beal.
Endia Beal is a Winston-Salem based artist, curator and author. Beal’s work merges fine art with social injustice. She uses photography to reveal the often overlooked and unappreciated experiences unique to people of color. Visit endiabeal.com and follow her on Instagram @endiabeal
Kyla Sylvers biggest goal in entertainment is to tell stories that matter to her and that both entertain as well as change lives and luckily, by default, all of her work allows her to do that. She also wants to help put black women at the forefront of more narratives as she believes there are so many stories that have yet to be told with them front and center. Visit iamkylasylvers.com and follow her on Instagram @ksylvers
Ya’ke Smith is an associate professor in the University of Texas at Austin’s Radio-Television-Film department and University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication’s first Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He is a social justice filmmaker, father, and husband. For nearly two decades, the San Antonio native has been making films that grapple with race and social change. Follow him on Instagram @yake80
Lande Yoosuf is Co-founder and Partnerships Director of Black Film Space, where she works to contribute to increased control, ownership and media management for content creators of African descent across all cinematic formats and content platforms. She has an affinity for telling stories that explore media influence, sociology, gender/race relations, pop culture and self image themes. Visit onescribemedia.com/black-film-space and follow her on Instagram @landeyoosuf
Nationtime (US, 1973)
Run Time: 80 min. Rating: Not rated
Fully restored in 4K and available in its originally-intended length for the first time in decades! Nationtime is the long-lost film that William Greaves made about the National Black Political Convention of 1972, when 10,000 black politicians, activists and artists went to Gary, Indiana, to forge a national unity platform in advance of the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions. The delegates included a wide array of political thinkers – Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, Pan-Africanist Amiri Baraka, PUSH founder Jesse Jackson, elected officials Ron Dellums, Charles Diggs, Walter Fauntroy, Richard Hatcher, Carl McCall, plus key women in the fight for racial equality — Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, Fannie Lou Hamer and Queen Mother Moore (who was arguing for reparations). Entertainers Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Isaac Hayes and Richard Roundtree lent their star quality and entertained the crowds. Sidney Poitier & Harry Belafonte narrate the film.
The Watermelon Woman (US, 1996)
Run Time: 90 min. Rating: Not Rated
Re-released for its 20th anniversary in a pristine 2K HD restoration, The Watermelon Woman is the story of Cheryl (Cheryl Dunye), a twenty-something black lesbian struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s black film actress popularly known as “The Watermelon Woman.” While uncovering the meaning of Fae Richards’ life, Cheryl experiences a total upheaval in her personal life. Her love affair with Diana (Guinevere Turner, Go Fish), a beautiful white woman, and her interactions with the gay and black communities, are subject to the comic yet biting criticism of her best friend Tamara (Valerie Walker). Meanwhile, each answer Cheryl discovers about the Watermelon Woman evokes a flurry of new questions about herself and her future.
River City Drumbeat (2020)
For 30 years, the indefatigable Nardie White has offered a path to empowerment for African-American youth in Louisville, KY through his River City Drum Corps. White has dedicated his life to teaching communities about their Pan-African roots, but with retirement approaching, he must train his successor. Set against the backdrop of the American South and featuring glorious drum battles, this uplifting film is a timely reminder of the incredible change one person can create.