The second annual BlackStar Film Festival ended on Sunday August 4, after an even more impressive year! 

Certainly a black film festival that’s very quickly making its mark, not only in Philly, but around the world, with its international lineup of films.

This year’s festival screened 15 feature films and 60 shorts from 17 countries, programmed by a team led by founder and Artistic Director Maori Karmael Holmes.

During the festival’s closing night ceremony, the producing committee announced the winners of its first-ever juried and audience film competitions, the short screenplay prize (with a cash award of $2,500) – all selected by a renowned group of filmmakers, artists, and critics – and honored the Howard University Film Program with the first BlackStar Award, presented to filmmaker Haile Gerima.

The evening ceremony was hosted by producer and radio personality Dyana Williams and featured local notable presenters, poet Ursula Rucker, radio personality/actor QuincyQ-DeezyHarris, radio personality Al Butler, music executive Brandon Pankey, cultural critic Yaba A. Blay, and curator Shantrelle P. Lewis.

The full list of award recipients follows below:

Juried Film Competition Awards

Best Short

The Bluest Note

Dir. Marques Green

Jurors: Montré Aza Missouri, Roberta Marie Munroe, and Michelle Trotter

Presented by:Al Butler

Best Music Video

Dear whoever,

Dir. Temitope Olutunmbi

Jurors: Nzinga Kadalie Kemp, Shawn Peters, and Dyana Williams

Presented by: Ursula Rucker

Best Experimental Film

Reifying Desire

Dir. Jacolby Satterwhite

Jurors: Rich Blint, Simone Leigh, and Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky

Presented by:Yaba Blay

Best Documentary


Dir. Christine Turner

Jurors: Byron Hurt, Louis Massiah, and Michelle Parkerson

Presented by: Shantrelle P. Lewis

Best Feature

Things Never Said

Dir. Charles Murray

Jurors: Nekisa Cooper, Nicole Giles, and Rashaad Ernesto Greene

Presented by: Quincy “Q-Deezy” Harris

Audience Awards

Favorite Short

Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman

Dir. Mickalene Thomas

Presented by: Al Butler

Favorite Music Video

Heir Conditioning

Dir. Roni Nicole

Presented by: Ursula Rucker

Favorite Experimental Film

The End of Eating Everything

Dir. Wangechi Mutu

Presented by: Yaba Blay

Favorite Documentary

Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower

Dir. Roxana Walker-Canton

Presented by: Shantrelle P. Lewis

Favorite Documentary Short


Dir. Sosena Solomon

Presented by: Shantrelle P. Lewis

Favorite Feature

Nairobi Halflife

Dir. David Tosh Gitonga

Presented by: Quincy “Q-Deezy” Harris

Special Awards

Short Screenplay Prize


Written by Radha Blank

Presented by: Brandon Pankey

Judges: Lisa Cortés, Adesuwa McCalla, Dorian Missick, and Tariq “Black Thought” 


BlackStar Award

Howard University Film Program

Accepted by Haile Gerima

Presented by: Maori Karmael Holmes