A new black film fesitval is born in Philly, for all our readers in that part of the USA (and I know there are many of you); and I must say that, despite this being its first year, looking over the list of films in its lineup, I'm impressed by the selection.

Several titles we've covered here on S&A (most I haven't seen yet) like Soul Food Junkies, Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992, United States of Hoodoo, Brooklyn Boheme, a 20-minute preview of Middle Of Nowhere (ahead of its October opening), and more. 

We'll go through the lineup and highlight any titles that grab our attention. In the meantime, feel free to check out the entire list of films HERE.

The 1st annual BlackStar Film Festival will take place from August 2-5, 2012, at the International House of Philadelphia in University City. Depending on my schedule, I actually might make the relatively short trip from NYC, even just for a day.

Details from the press release below, and a trailer (which has a few faces I instantly recognized) for the festival underneath:

Philadelphia – The 1st annual BlackStar Film Festival, Philadelphia’s only celebration highlighting film makers from the African Diaspora will take place Aug. 2-5, 2012 at the International House of Philadelphia in University City. The BlackStar Film Festival, which will include more than 40 films from across the globe, is the brainchild of filmmaker and curator Maori Karmael Holmes. In 2005 Holmes directed Scene Not Heard, a documentary exploring the struggles of women in Philadelphia hip-hop. Since then she’s worked on numerous films and arts projects with mainstream and independent artists including heading up the Black Lily Film & Music Festival from 2006-2010.

“I’ve attended a lot of film festivals and it’s been my experience that some of the most moving independent films go unnoticed by their intended audience—hometown folks, communities of color, etc.” says Holmes. “Films shape how we view ourselves and often the mainstream images most people have access to don’t accurately reflect our actual world.”

In addition to film screenings, the festival will include workshops, panel discussions, and a marketplace in the lobby outside of the main theater featuring several pop-up shops offering handcrafted goods, clothing and music.

"Philadelphia is an under-recognized source of artistic talent. Our goal with the festival is to highlight local filmmakers, offer an opportunity for networking among creatives, and also offer audiences a multicultural alternative to mainstream cinema,” says Holmes.

For full details on this year's festival, please visit