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The 2016 installment of the BlackStar Film Festival, which took place August 4-7, 2016 in Philadelphia, has announced the winners of the festival awards.

“This year’s festival was incredible as we hosted both of my filmmaking heroes—Haile Gerima and Julie Dash,” says founder Maori Karmael Holmes. “So many of our new initiatives, including the first-ever filmmaker symposium, moving the awards to Saturday at the Kimmel Center and partnering with Scribe to present the Great Migration: A City Transformed, helped to amplify an amazing lineup of films and workshops. I’m in awe of the number of folks who participated and shared their gifts with us and the support of our audience and partners.”

This year’s festival, with the theme of Migration, featured 64 films in competition from five continents. Juried awards were presented at the Awards Gala at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in a ceremony hosted by actors Dorian Missick and Simone Missick, along with musical performances by Saul Williams, Blitz the Ambassador, Laurin Talese and Oshun.

Audience favorite awards are determined by audience member ballots.

The Member Award is given to Philadelphia-based filmmakers and voted on by BlackStar’s members.

2016 award winners include:


· Richard Nichols Luminary Award: Julie Dash

· Best Youth Film: “Praey” by Kyleel Rolle and Isabella Tan

· Best Documentary Feature: “Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema from UCLA” by Zeinabu irene Davis

· Best Narrative Feature: “Tell Me Sweet Something” by Akin Omotoso

· Best Short Documentary: “Two Cities” by Darius Clark Monroe

· Best Short Narrative: “Macarrao” by Iyabo Kwayana and “Univitellin” by Terence Nance

· Best Experimental Work: “Everybody Dies!” by Frances Bodomo

· Special Recognition Screenplay: “How to Tell You’re a Douchebag” by Tahir Jetter

· Special Recognition Narrative: “A Moving Image” by Shola Amoo

· Special Recognition Documentary: “Mil’s Life” by Zach Hauptman


· Favorite Experimental Film: “Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death” by Arthur Jafa

· Favorite Documentary Feature: “Free Cece!” by Jacqueline Gares and “Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema from UCLA” by Zeinabu irene Davis

· Favorite Narrative Feature: “9 Rides” by Matthew A. Cherry

· Favorite Documentary Short: “Holding History: The Collections of Charles L. Blockson” by Cheraine Stanford

· Favorite Narrative Short: “The Jump” by Jamal Hodge

· Favorite Youth Film: “Praey” by Kyleel Rolle and Isabella Tan

· Member Award: “See Me on the Beat” by Philip Asbury

For more information on the 2016 festival and its programs, visit or