Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival

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Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival is a two-day annual film festival that is founded by African Voices magazine and Long Island’s University Media Arts Department at the Brooklyn Campus. The two-day festival highlights Black women filmmakers and this year’s theme is #IGotYourBack. More than 40 films will be screened throughout the weekend for the public and tastemakers to view.

The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series is a two-day annual film festival founded by African Voices magazine and Long Island University’s Media Arts Dept., Brooklyn Campus.

Established in 1997, Reel Sisters continues to being dedicated to providing opportunities for women of color filmmakers to advance their careers in the film industry. It is also the first Academy Award qualifying film festival dedicated to women of color.

The theme for this year’s festival is #IGotYourBack: A Time for Holding Space & Healing, which showcases films dedicated to looking out for one another made for and by women with over 40 films being screened during the season.
Reel Sisters 22nd Anniversary event will take place from Oct. 19 & 20th, 2019 at Alamo Draft House in Brooklyn.

Here are some of the featured films:

Skin is a feature documentary about exploring through identity the meaning of beauty in all the different shades of black. It is set in present-day Lagos, where Nollywood actress Beverly Naya goes on a journey to learn about contrasting perceptions of beauty. She speaks to school children, traders, artists, beauty entrepreneurs, and sex workers. This narrative is interwoven by poignant personal accounts of individuals who have dealt with the pressure to conform to certain standards of beauty, revealing how colorism continues to shape the face of the entertainment industry in Africa. Beverly concludes her journey with a trip to her hometown exploring her rich cultural heritage with her mother and grandmother.

POCCON stands for P.O.C con (people of color). POCCON is a short documentary film that explores the world of anime conventions through the eyes of POC (people of color) cosplayers. The film will explore some of the issues they face as cosplayers of color. It will follow a few cosplayers as they attend Katsucon, a local anime convention that takes place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland. The cosplayers will give the personal accounts of issues they have faced within the cosplay community.

Black Girls Guide to Fertility
Black Girls Guide to Fertility tackles infertility in a profoundly intimate way that’s both dramatic and comedic without ever feeling rigid. It focuses on Ava, a 37-year-old romance novelist, who faded into obscurity after finding love-and now finds herself on the rise again after self-publishing a diary detailing her fertility woes. Each episode is a recreation of Ava’s diary entry, adding a unique and compelling touch to the everyday struggle of infertility.

And Nothing Happened
Director/Writer/Producer: Naima Ramos Chapman
In the aftermath of an assault, a woman tries to come to terms with the violation, or just get through her day. Director Naima Ramos-Chapman uses an unexpected dose of magical realism to express a poetic response to a loss of dignity.

Paper Boats
Why can’t Rahel bring herself to sign her artwork? The visit of her high school academic triggers memories of why she is haunted by her surname, yet would not consider changing it.

"Paper Boats" (2019) – Trailer from Gonzalo Guajardo on Vimeo.

Brooklyn to Benin
Régine Romain, Haitian-American artist, educator and visual anthropologist, completes a three-year spiritual pilgrimage traveling from Brooklyn, NY, southern United States, Central America, Haiti to Benin, West Africa — the birthplace of Vodou. Her journey crosses the turbulent TransAtlantic Slave Trade history and delves into an ancient cascade of memory, myth and magic.

The HBO documentary THE APOLLO, helmed by Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Roger Ross Williams, chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater. The feature-length film weaves together archival clips of music, comedy and dance performances; behind-the-scenes verité footage of the team that makes the theater run; and interviews with such artists as Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett, Pharrell Williams, Common, Patti LaBelle and Smokey Robinson. While uncovering the rich history of the internationally renowned theater that has influenced American music and culture for 85 years, Williams also examines the current state of race in America, following a new multi-media adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-selling book “Between the World and Me” as it comes together on the theater’s grand stage.
It will take place at LIU at 6pm on October 19th.

The young Iranian woman had not been expecting this kind of examination. She only wanted to renew her driver’s license, but when the officials noticed a scar on her wrist and her tattoo, they began looking at her with suspicion. Suddenly she is trapped, forced to answer personal questions and exposed to insinuations. The camera captures the growing uneasiness with clinical precision.

TATTOO from Dena Rassam on Vimeo.

Ballet After Dark
Ballet After Dark tells the story a young woman who found the strength to survive after an attack. She created an organization that is helping sexual abuse and domestic violence survivors find healing after trauma through dance therapy.

Two Syrian refugee siblings receive official legal documents to permanently join their father in the United States. However, when the plane lands in JFK, they are taken into custody for interrogation by Custom and Border Police.

Wash Day (animated film)
A young black girl spends the day washing, styling, and sometimes fighting with her hair.

Plant the Seed
Directed by Taína Asili, tells the story of a Black farmer’s journey to creating Soul Fire Farm, an organization dedicated to the food justice movement

The Jessicas Are Turning 30
“The Jessicas are turning 30” weaves together six compelling narratives of people who were born Jessica in 1989. The film captures what it’s like to be 30 in America today. For millennial women, the milestone has become aging heavy with expectation.

Today is the last day to catch all of these Black women centering films and lectures. You can still get a pass for today.


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