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July 09, 2024

BlackStar Film Festival to feature 96 movies from filmmakers of color

'Dreams in Nightmares,' from Philly's Shatara Michelle Ford, is among the films being screened during the four-day event.

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BlackStar Film Festival 2024 Provided Image/Alma Communications

Nearly 100 movies will be screened at the BlackStar Film Festival, including Shatara Michelle Ford's 'Dreams in Nightmares,' shown above. The festival takes place Aug. 1-4 at the Kimmel Center and other Center City venues.

The 2024 BlackStar Film Festival, known as "Black Sundance" for spotlighting works by Black, Brown and Indigenous filmmakers, will feature 96 movies.

The 13th annual festival takes place Aug. 1-4 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Some screenings will be shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. There will be panel discussions, parties and awards, too. 

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Here are the screening times for four of the most prominent films and series slated to be shown: 

• "Dreams in Nightmares" – Thursday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater
• "Life is Beautiful"– Friday, Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. at the Perelman Theater
• "Dallas, 2019" – Saturday, Aug. 3 at 1:30 p.m. at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
• "The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire" – Sunday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Perelman Theater

"Dreams in Nightmares," by Philly-based filmmaker Shatara Michelle Ford, follows three Black queer femmes in their mid-30s as they take a road trip across the Midwest in search for a friend who has gone off the grid.

"Life is Beautiful," a feature-length documentary by Palestinian filmmaker Mohamed Jabaly, recounts his experience of being stranded in Norway and trying to connected to loved ones in Gaza through video calls. 

"Dallas, 2019," a documentary series by Darius Clark Monroe, chronicles several public servants and their constituents. Episodes 2 to 4 will be shown, with an intermission coming after Episode 3. 

"The Ballad of Suzanne Césaire," follows an actress three months postpartum as she delves into the works of surrealist writer Suzanne Roussi-Césaire.

Screening times for the other movies, which include short and feature-length films, can be found on the BlackStar website.

The festival's events include BlackStar Pitch, in which six filmmakers present their non-fiction projects for an opportunity to win $75,000 in production funds. Panel discussions include "Black on The Internet," "Laugh to Keep from Crying" and "A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde."

"The films, panels, and other programs we've curated this year are urgent, thrilling, and necessary," festival Director Nehad Khader said in a statement. "I look forward to welcoming all of our brilliant filmmakers, panelists, and other guests from around the world to Philadelphia for an enriching, expansive celebration."

Tickets for in-person screenings are $18 each; virtual screening tickets cost $7.50. Virtual passes, which provide access to all virtual screenings, cost $175. All-access passes, which cost $350, provide access to all screenings and events, both in-person and virtually. 

Correction: This article originally stated that there would be 94 films at the festival. The above story has been corrected.

BlackStar Film Festival 2024

Aug. 1-4
Ticket and pass prices vary
Kimmel Center, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Suzanne Roberts Theatre