The BlackStar Film Festival named its award winners from this year’s lineup on Monday (August 9).
This year marked the 10th annual edition of the festival, which celebrates Black Brown and Indigenous film and video artists from the African diaspora and of global communities of color.
Writing With Fire led the way for unscripted content, winning the Best Feature Documentary award. The film profiles India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women, and the journalists breaking traditions while covering India’s biggest stories.
Festival attendees also voted for Writing With Fire as the Audience Award winner for Best Feature Documentary, along with BABYBANGZ for Best Short Documentary.
Short films featured at BlackStar were eligible for the Vimeo Staff Pick Award, which included a US$2,500 cash prize. The award went to Dear Philadelphia, directed by Renee Osubu, which is about three fathers in North Philadelphia talking about their lives, communities and families. The short is available for free on Vimeo.
The third annual BlackStar Pitch offered filmmakers of color the chance to propose short nonfiction projects to a panel of funders, distributors and producers. The winners this year were Claudia Owusu and Ife Oluwamuyide, who will now receive an artist grant and mentorship from WarnerMedia OneFifty. An honorable mention prize of $2,500 from POV and IF/Then, along with mentorship from IF/Then staff and two hours of impact campaign planning support from Working Films was awarded to Beeta Baghoolizadeh and Shane Nassiri.
Around 80 films were included in BlackStar’s lineup this year, including 19 world premieres, representing 27 countries. BlackStar was also selected this year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualify festival for short documentary and short narrative films, making the winners of these awards at BlackStar eligible for entrance to the Academy Awards.