(NEWARK, NJ) -- The Newark Museum of Art continues its legacy to present films that heighten the historic importance of the Black experience in the United States with the 46th Newark Black Film Festival, which takes place July 12-17. The festival features twelve films and present six awards—Long Narrative Award, Short Narrative Award, Long Documentary Award, Short Documentary Award, Experimental Award, and Best Film Award.
With a focus on younger films and filmmakers, this year’s selection process included the input of three new members: director Ayana Stafford-Morris and The Newarkive co-founders, Yvonne Michelle Shirley, and LeRon Lee. It pays particular attention to intimate stories about cultural and oppressive social structures as experienced by resilient individuals and portrayed through the lens of Black filmmakers from the United States, and beyond.
Tuesday, July 12, 7:00pm–9:30pm Faya Dayi. Long Documentary | Directed by Jessica Beshir. (120 min). Not rated. A spiritual journey into the rituals of khat, a leaf that Sufi Muslims have chewed for centuries for religious meditations, and Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Panelists to be announced.
Wednesday, July 13, 7:00pm–900pm - The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Long Documentary | Directed by Johanna Hamilton and Yoruba Richen. (96 min). Not rated. The unexpected story of Rosa Parks and her life beyond the historic bus boycott, revealing the intent behind her activism, her radical politics and her courage.
Thursday, July 14, 7:00pm–10:30pm - Beba + Opening Party. Long Documentary | Directed by Rebeca Huntt. (79 min). R. A young NYC born and bred Afro-Latina stares down historical, societal, and generational trauma with unflinching courage. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Panelists to be announced. After the film and panel, join us at a special reception to kick off the Newark Black Film Festival 2022, featuring DJ Wallah. Light food will be provided, with drinks available for purchase.
Friday, July 15, 7:00pm–9:30pm - Ludi. Long Narrative | Directed by Edson Jean. (80 min). Not rated. Ludi, a hardworking and exhausted nurse, battles co-workers, clients and one impatient bus driver to learn her self-worth as she chases the American Dream in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Panelists to be announced.
Saturday, July 16, 2:00pm–4:00pm - Big Chief Black Hawk. Long Documentary | Directed by Jonathan Isaac Jackson. (53 min). Not rated. An exploration into effects of gentrification, COVID -19, and other issues The Culture faces in New Orleans, through the eyes of the youngest Black Masking Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief in the city. The films will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Panelists to be announced.
Saturday, July 16, 4:30pm–6:30pm - Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. Long Documentary | Directed by Leslie Harris. (92 min). R. A spirited Brooklyn teenager copes with the challenges of life, sustained by her fierce desire to go to college and become a doctor. Join us for this throwback screening of an underrated classic on its 30th anniversary. Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director, Leslie Harris.
Saturday, July 16, 7:30pm–9:30pm - Hazing. Long Documentary | Directed by Byron Hurt. (104 min). Not rated. The culture of hazing is explored through interviews with the family members of deceased young people, as well as survivors, to reveal the underbelly of groups that haze.The film will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director, Byron Hurt.
Sunday, July 17, 3:30pm–5:30pm - Shorts. Five unique short films shown back-to-back. Short Documentary | Clarisa (2022). Directed by Philip Knowlton. (16 min). Not rated. A community activist sets out on a mission to improve the health outcomes of the people of the Bronx.Short Narrative | Fuego (2021). Directed by Christine Rodriguez. (15 min). Not rated. Lonely, isolated and disconnected from his roots, Manolo is an Afro-Cuban man who has reached a low point in his life. But he finds new hope after a chance meeting in the community center where he works. Short Narrative | The Spirit God Gave Us (2021). Directed by Michael Donte Jemison. (20 min). Not rated. Two young Black men volunteer as ushers for their Baptist church and begin their journey towards love, connection and spirituality. Short Experimental | And the People Could Fly (2019). Directed by Roni Nicole. (13 min). Not rated. Forced from the comfort of her mother’s 84’ Bonneville, Nena ventures into the home of a gentrifying heroin dealer and discovers her power to truly awaken and transmute. Short Experimental | Souls (2020). Directed by Malakai. (15 min). Not rated. Through an Afro-Futurist lens, we see life through the eyes of a child who has turned her own vision into a reality. Screenings will be followed by a Q&A with Clarisa Alayeto, subject and producer of Clarisa, and Michael Donte Jemison, director of The Spirit God Gave Us.
Sunday, July 17, 6:00pm–10:00pm - After Party (21+). Celebrate all things Black and film, by immersing yourself in a night of Blaxploitation-inspired glitz and glamour. Strut the red carpet in your 1970’s look and take in live musical performances, a DJ set by Stonie Blue and much more! Vibes After Dark is powering this event, bringing cinema to the dance floor. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Includes access to the NBFF Awards Ceremony, which takes place 6:00pm-7:00pm in the Auditorium and includes a live music performance by Lenny Harold. Space in the Auditorium is limited, and access will be given on a first come, first served basis.
Since 1974, the Newark Black Film Festival has presented the work of young, independent, Black filmmakers, showcasing early films by the likes of Spike Lee, Ayoka Chenzira, and Warrington and Reginald Hudlin. Other luminaries that have participated in the festival over the years include James Earl Jones, Danny Glover, Pam Grier, Donald Bogle, Richard Wesley, Euzhan Palcy, Ava DuVernay and S. Epatha Merkerson.
Selection Committee for Festival and Awards: Dale E. Colston, Patricia Faison, Jeff Friday, LeRoy Henderson, LeRon Lee, Millicent Matthews, Lisa Payne, Mary Sue Price, Yvonne Michelle Shirley, Ayana Stafford-Morris, Richard Wesley (Chair)
Click here for more information or to purchase tickets for the festival.
The Newark Museum of Art is located at 49 Washington Street in Newark, New Jersey. It is the state’s largest museum, holding fine collections of American art, decorative arts, contemporary art, and arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the ancient world. Its extensive collections of American art include works by Hiram Powers, Thomas Cole, John Singer Sargent, Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Church, Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Joseph Stella, and Tony Smith.
Founding Director John Cotton Dana believed that museums were established to promote the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of the arts and sciences. Together with a group of public officials, prominent businessmen and local collectors, he established the Museum in 1909 at the Newark Public Library. He provided the intellectual leadership that made it one of the most progressive cultural institutions in the country.
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