FADE 2 BLACK
Black Stories on the Big Screen
Check out our line-up of expertly curated classic and modern Black films. Filmmakers + Industry Professionals are welcome to join us an hour before screenings for an open networking mixer.
FADE 2 BLACK LINE-UP
Sidney Poitier’s “Buck and the Preacher” marks a historic shift in Westerns, featuring Black heroes. The film combines buddy comedy and Black Power politics as Poitier and Belafonte, the wagon master and preacher, unite against white bounty hunters. This revisionist classic challenges Hollywood conventions, reclaiming the Western genre for Black liberation.
Franco Rosso’s “BABYLON,” a 1980 Cannes premiere, remained unreleased in the U.S. due to racial tensions. The film tracks a South London dancehall DJ, portrayed by Brinsley Forde, as he battles racism, xenophobia, and the National Front while chasing his musical dreams. With cinematography akin to “Taxi Driver,” “BABYLON” fuses realism with dancehall’s allure, set against a reggae and lovers rock soundtrack.
Chantel Mitchell, a determined, articulate black high-schooler in Brooklyn, refuses to become “just another girl on the IRT,” striving for medical school and an escape from poverty and street life. However, personal and sexual challenges stand in her path.
In his sixth feature, Spike Lee, still in his mid-thirties, showcased his epic filmmaking prowess. A striking crane shot journeyed through vibrant Harlem, capturing life on the streets, redefining storytelling. Adapting James Baldwin’s script, Lee explored decades in the life of the legendary activist, bridging history with contemporary events like Rodney King and Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990. Amid a sea of clichéd biopics, Lee’s film set itself apart, its impact enduring even thirty years later.
In 1983, Ornette Coleman’s journey from Fort Worth, Texas to global acclaim is portrayed through documentary footage and dramatic scenes. The film highlights his rise from a segregated Texas upbringing to becoming a renowned composer and performer, earning praise from luminaries like William Burroughs, Don Cherry, and Yoko Ono. Directed by Shirley Clarke and produced by Kathelin Hoffman, the innovative film includes early music-video-style footage. “ORNETTE: MADE IN AMERICA” is a crucial piece for understanding the jazz history and creative exchanges of the 60s and 70s in America.
Get tickets to Ornette: Made In America
In 1991, Julie Dash made history with her independent film, the first feature directed by an African-American woman theatrically distributed in the United States. Set in 1902, it follows three generations of Gullah women from the Peazant family on Saint Helena Island, preparing to leave the Southern United States for a fresh start in the North.
Get tickets to Daughters Of The Dusk
In New York City, single mother Claudine (Diahann Carroll) makes a daily trip to work as a suburban maid. Her path crosses with Roop (James Earl Jones), a charismatic garbage collector. They fall in love, but Claudine worries about her six children, and Roop hesitates to embrace fatherhood. Set to the sounds of Curtis Mayfield, their love story unfolds in this simple yet poignant tale.
Get tickets to Claudine
Years after her Indian family’s exile from Uganda, Mina, in her twenties, manages a Mississippi motel. Her passionate romance with Demetrius, a charismatic Black carpet cleaner, tests the prejudices of their traditional families and reveals tensions between the Indian and African American communities in the area.
Get tickets to Mississippi Masala
Sweet Sweetback (Melvin Van Peebles), a black orphan raised in a brothel, becomes part of a sex show there. When the police need a scapegoat for a murder in the black community, Sweetback’s employer betrays him to two white cops. In a desperate act, Sweetback kills the officers, triggering a massive manhunt. Determined to escape to Mexico, he evades both the police and a local chapter of the Hell’s Angels along the way.
Get tickets to Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
The film is a day in the life of a young artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, who needs to raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. He wanders the downtown streets carrying a painting he hopes to sell, encountering friends, whose lives (and performances) we peek into.
Get tickets to Downtown 81