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The Smithsonian African American Film Festival, presented by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, has announced the film slate for its inaugural event, taking place Oct. 24–27 in Washington, D.C. Of the over 80 total films that will be screened, 15 are part of the film festival’s competition. The films that are not a part of the competition have been curated, invited or come from the museum’s Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts’ (CAAMA) collection, many of which have been preserved and restored by the museum. Each of the films selected connect to the museum’s inaugural exhibitions “Power of Place, Making a Way Out of No Way” and “Cultural Expressions.”
“These selected films are more than just great entertainment; they are also cultural markers that expand the timeline of African American experiences,” said Rhea L. Combs, supervisory museum curator of photography & film and director of CAAMA. “By screening world premieres next to films that haven’t been shown in decades or have been restored and preserved by the museum, we are honoring our past, our present and our future. This film festival has something for everyone, from feature-length narratives to short experimental films. We look forward to giving our audiences the opportunity to explore cinematic works by some of the brightest emerging and veteran filmmakers.”
The 15 films in the competition portion of the film festival were selected from over 225 film submissions by a panel of 25 industry professionals, including filmmakers, film executives, curators, scholars and Smithsonian leaders. The films will be judged on a set of criteria, including technical merit, relevance to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s collection, storytelling and representation of African American history and culture. A winner will be selected by nine jurors in each of the five categories: Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short and Experimental & Animation.
Additional programs, including the opening and closing night films, will be announced in the coming weeks. The film slate for the inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival is available on the museum’s website.
The Smithsonian African American Film Festival is generously supported by Toyota, AARP, Netflix and Earl W. and Amanda Stafford. Join the online conversation by following #AAFilmFest.
About the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts
The Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA) showcases the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s dynamic image collection through changing exhibitions of still and moving images, publications and public programs. The CAAMA resource center and digital archive foster and support scholarship on the role, meaning and influence of images by and about African Americans and other people of African descent.
About the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed nearly 4.5 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit https://nmaahc.si.edu/, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat—or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.
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