Philly’s BlackStar Festival is back for its eighth year.
The festival, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, Aug. 1-4, showcases the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora from around the world. This year’s festival is composed of more than 100 screenings, panels, or other events related to films from 28 countries, to be held at venues across the city, including World Cafe Live and the Annenberg Center.
More information can be found at www.blackstarfest.org. Tickets range from $12 for single events to a $225 all-access festival pass, and are on sale until Wednesday, July 31.
Overwhelmed by the options? We’ve narrowed them down.
Earlier this year, genre-defying Solange released her fourth studio album, When I Get Home, with a visual component. BlackStar festival attendees will get to see the director’s cut of the film a day before it’s released to the masses on Monday.
“Solange is intentional about making every experience unique," said Jonathan Proctor, an editor on the project. “This is the cut that took the most time. It’s the most nuanced."
Proctor said the director’s cut of When I Get Home will have unseen footage as well as scenes that have been “reevaluated to make the film better and more precise.”
6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St.
Love music documentaries?
The Roots are working on a documentary series that focuses on hip-hop songs that have helped to shape American culture. The series features commentary by artists and collaborators discussing such songs as Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Run-DMC’s “Rock Box,” and Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First.”
7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, Annenberg Center
It’s been 30 years since Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing first graced the silver screen.
To commemorate that anniversary, filmmaker Spike Lee and activist Tarana Burke, who originated the #MeToo movement, will discuss the the use of radical storytelling to center social justice and foster narrative change. If activism is your passion, bring a notepad. Both Burke and Lee are known for dropping gems during conversations like these.
2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, Annenberg Center
The Apollo Theater is the subject of this new documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, who hails from Easton, Pa. Some of the finest musicians have braved the Apollo’s notoriously opinionated audience, and Williams’ documentary explores the history nestled in the halls of Harlem’s famed stage. Intertwined in that history is the state of race in America.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, Annenberg Center
Before you check out what BlackStar has to offer for the day, get your wellness on.
Each morning, before screenings or panels, yoga instructor Jean-Jacques Gabriel will lead a yoga class focused on centering, self-care, and embodied celebration. Many people of color feel uncomfortable in traditional yoga settings, but Gabriel’s sessions will help you start the day fresh and focused.