I am throwing it back on this Thursday to discuss the Annual Heritage Film Festival that occurred at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC over a three-day span in February. This year's festival was the center's 23rd annual and showed films relating to the themes: Blaxploitation; Social Justice and Our Legacy; Afrofuturism and Science Fiction; and Community.
I learned about the festival through Sherri Holmes of Triangle Friends of African American Arts (TFAAA) while mixing and mingling at the Triangle Art Works' 3rd Annual SMASH event. The main reason she specifically shared information about the festival with me was because it 1) wasn't very highly publicized, and 2) would be showing the premiere screening of Living Colors- the Durham Civil Rights History Mural Project Documentary. Last week, the filmmaker, Rodrigo Dorfman, announced that the documentary can now also be streamed online; so if interested, please watch it here on Vimeo!
Almost 20 long and short films were shown and I watched every last one of them (some from home and some [bolded on list] at Hayti)! These films included:
I was at Wine and Design on both the first and second evenings of the festival, but I made it over on the second night for the last film showing, Mosaic; which chronicles the modern life of a hardworking Black, female lawyer and her family. In addition, I caught the end of 13th before Mosaic began, but I wasn't planning to see any of it as I had previously watched it at a community screening... it's a very powerful film. The next day, I returned to check out the DCRHM Project documentary and hear [and also found myself participating in] the post-film discussion. I stuck around afterwards and saw several short films that day before heading to a listening party a friend of mine was hosting for visual and spoken word artists.
Prior to attending the festival, since I knew that I'd miss most of the showtimes, I watched the other films online or reserved them from the library to view. Two of my favorites were Foxy Brown and Super Fly, both I learned were connected to sequels. I viewed them both twice, once straight through as a regular movie and then again using the commentary feature. It was great to learn so much about the films from commentators. I look forward to seeing what will be playing at next year's film festival and encourage you to keep an eye out for it as well as check out the films listed in this post!
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