Black Lives, Black Voices

Black Lives, Black Voices, a micro-festival of four current films by Black filmmakers exploring issues of racial justice and Black identity. The films in the series include The Inheritance, Test Pattern, Our Right To Gaze and The Lady Who Swings the Band. We hope to add one or two additional films as they become available. Three of the films are playing this week; the fourth, The Inheritance, opens on March 12th. The festival is underwritten in part by a grant from the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Zone.

TEST PATTERN: Part psychological thriller, part realist drama, this exhilarating debut feature from Shatara Michelle Ford, offers a Black woman’s perspective on institutional racism and misogyny, inequitable healthcare, and issues of sex and consent. You can watch Test Pattern and read more about it right here

OUR RIGHT TO GAZE: In this collection of six shorts, filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back. From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary. You can watch Our Right to Gaze right here, right now

MARY LOU WILLIAMS: THE LADY WHO SWINGS THE BAND: Mary Lou Williams was ahead of her time, a genius. Her musical career began in the 1920s; in an era when jazz was the nation’s popular music, she was one of its greatest innovators. As both a pianist and composer, she was a wellspring of daring and creativity who helped shape the sound of 20th century America. And like the dynamic, turbulent nation in which she lived, Williams seemed to re-define herself with every passing decade. From child prodigy to “Boogie-Woogie Queen” to groundbreaking composer to mentoring some of the greatest musicians of all time, Mary Lou Williams never ceased to astound those who heard her play. You can watch “Mary Lou Williams” or read more about it right here

THE INHERITANCE: After nearly a decade exploring different facets of the African diaspora — and his own place within it — Ephraim Asili makes his feature-length debut with The Inheritance, an astonishing ensemble work set almost entirely within a West Philadelphia house where a community of young, Black artists and activists form a collective. A scripted drama of characters attempting to work towards political consensus — based partly on Asili’s own experiences in a Black liberationist group — weaves with a documentary recollection of the Philadelphia liberation group MOVE, the victim of a notorious police bombing in 1985. Ceaselessly finding commonalties between politics, humor, and philosophy, with Black authors and radicals at its edges, The Inheritance is a remarkable film about the world as we know it. The Inheritance opens March 12th. Read more