Explore the history of hip-hop and The Apollo at BlackStar Film Festival
The eighth annual BlackStar Film Festival returns to Philadelphia next month, showcasing the work of black, brown, and indigenous filmmakers from around the world. This year the festival will celebrate over 100 films, representing over 20 countries. The full lineup has just been announced for the festival, which runs August 1 through August 4 and will screen films at various locations throughout the city.
Film topics cover a range of history, politics, and current events, and films exploring music’s impact on culture are also in the mix. You’ll be able to catch a sneak preview of the new documentary series Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, from executive producers Questlove, Black Thought, Shawn Gee, and Alex Gibney. Each episode of the series focuses on a specific song that was instrumental in shaping American culture, and talks to the artist as they “deconstruct their composition, revisit the impact the song had on them personally, and dissect the socio-economic and cultural conditions that inspired the landmark work and gave voice to a generation.”
The Apollo, a documentary feature from director Roger Ross Williams, will make its Philadelphia premiere at the festival. Chronicling the 85-year history of the landmark Apollo Theater in New York City, the film examines the current state of race in America while exploring the theater’s influence American music and culture. Artists including Patti LaBelle, Pharrell Williams, and Smokey Robinson are interviewed throughout.
The full schedule of events is forthcoming, but find more information on the festival at blackstarfest.org.