DC Black Film Festival returns with virtual slate of movies, Oscar-caliber panels

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the D.C. Black Film Fest (Part 1)

The fifth annual D.C. Black Film Festival returns Thursday through Sunday.

The virtual slate includes over 25 hours of films and free panels with filmmakers.

“When you’re able to see films by and or about people of African descent, it helps you to just understand more,” Founder Kevin Sampson told WTOP. “Last year, we had the killing of George Floyd, so this year a lot of the films in the festival are still addressing police brutality or protests not just in America but in Germany and around the world.”

You can enjoy a free slate of virtual panels with award-winning filmmakers.

“Two-time Academy Award winner Russell Williams and Oscar nominee Marlowe Taylor,” Sampson said. “Russell won for ‘Glory’ and ‘Dances with Wolves,’ then Marlowe was nominated for an Oscar for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah.’ He also worked on ‘Queen & Slim’ and ‘Fear the Walking Dead.’ … Masters in the craft of sound and recording sound.”

Screenwriters can also learn tips straight from Hollywood writers’ rooms.

“We’re going to go inside the writers’ room with Jai Jamison from Virginia [who has] started to write for The CW’s ‘Superman & Lois,'” Sampson said. “Then we’re going to be talking with Emmy Award-winning actress and writer Vanessa Baden Kelly.  … She started out on Netflix’s ‘Ozark’ [and] coming up on HBO’s ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls.'”

Of course, you can also stream this year’s films, including the short film “Family Recipe.”

“‘Family Recipe’ shows a girl baking with her grandfather, and the similarities between the ingredients of what they’re cooking and the people in the family,” Sampson said.

You can also watch the feature-length documentary “Subjects of Desire.”

“‘Subjects of Desire’ explores the cultural shift in North American beauty standards toward embracing Black female aesthetics,” Sampson said.

See the full lineup online.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the D.C. Black Film Fest (Part 2)

Listen to the full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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