From the Bronx to the Bahamas, audiences are traveling far and wide to celebrate the voices of the African diaspora at the 4th Annual Afrikana Independent Film Festival kicking off Thursday, September 12 and running through Sunday, September 15.
“It’s important for people to understand the power of black storytelling. Human narratives of laughter, unity, heartache, and empowerment uncover our common stake in this world,” said Enjoli Moon, founder of the Afrikana Film Festival.
Moon says that the festival’s goal is to bring together communities to uncover black and brown stories told through the lens of filmmakers from across the world. With close to 40 films and a host of parties and panels over the 4 days, Afrikana will again bring global Black culture to the streets of Richmond for the 4th year in a row.
The four-day festival begins Thursday, September 12 with an opening night reception and screening at The Valentine. The evening begins at 7 pm with a live performance by Calvin Presents followed by a sneak-peek at snippets from the highly anticipated film Harriet and an Afrikana x Angry Black Female panel discussion.
On Friday, September 13, the Institute for Contemporary Art will host the VA premiere of The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion by Academy award-winning filmmakers, Lisa Cortes and Farrah X. A story of the icons who shifted the culture and created some of the most legendary looks in hip-hop. Screening followed by a Hip Hop and Fashion panel discussion with celebrity stylist and designer Misa Hylton, fashion designer April Walker, fashion pioneer and designer Dapper Dan, Lisa Cortes and Farah X.
On Saturday, September 15, there will be an encore screening of The Central Park Five documentary by Ken Burns, David McMahon, and Sarah Burns. This film, originally released in 2012, takes a deep dive into the Central Park Five case that inspired the critically acclaimed Netflix series, When They See Us by director Ava DuVernay. The screening will be followed by moderated discussion with Central Park Five exoneree, Raymond Santana.
This year’s festival also marks a significant week not only for the Richmond community, but for the nation as a whole. “Exactly 400 years ago, a ship arrived in Virginia bearing human cargo. This is an important moment of reflection in our country, and through Afrikana we want to honor the resilient and perseverant spirit of our ancestors and pay homage to their journey through the festival,” said Moon.
Afrikana continues with a dynamic blend of events that celebrate film, global Black culture. There will be free youth programming provided in partnership with Art 180 from 1-4 pm (suggested age: 11 years+). On Saturday, the event will feature a Shorts Showcase with over 30 short films presented at a host of galleries throughout the Richmond Arts District to include Candela, 1708, Elegba Folklore Society, ADA and the Black History Museum. And there will be an Encore screening of When I Get Home, a film by Solange Knowles, on Saturday, September 14th at Candela Gallery.
The festival is made possible through the support of Culture Works, Virginia Film Office, Virginia Humanities, Optima Health, The Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Croaker’s Spot Restaurants, and the Richmond creative community. To learn more about the Afrikana Independent Film Festival, visit www.afrikanafilmfestival.org.