The Columbus Black International Film Festival Highlights The Films And Stories Of The Black Identity

To an audience culturally starved of Black representation, The Columbus Black International Film Festival is a breath of fresh air.

This weekend the first Columbus Black International Film Festival will debut at the Wexner Center for the Arts. The festival will feature speakers in the field of cinema, premiere original movies and documentaries, and host workshops for those interested in creating novel and imaginative film. They’ll be promoting the work of local and international artists, contributing to the Columbus arts scene, and they will do all these things while simultaneously addressing the concept of Black representation in film, or the lack there of.

Black representation in movies and media has been discussed, dissected, deliberated and argued over- heatedly. It has gone through all the necessary stages of grief but it hasn’t been genuinely confronted, at least not in any productive manner. The Columbus Black International Film Festival (CBIFF) plans to do just that, and it’s echoed quite beautifully in their mission statement:

“The primary objective of the Columbus Black International Film Festival is to showcase Black filmmakers locally, nationally and internationally, while highlighting a spectrum of stories told by people of the African diaspora.”

Starting Friday at 7 p.m., attendees will receive opening remarks from keynote speaker, Mark Cummings Sr. Afterwards, at approximately 7:45 p.m. the festival will debut their first feature film, “Holy Hustle”.

The following Saturday at 9 a.m. will feature documentary film submissions.

Six different stories by six different documentary filmmakers, covering everything from Black military service to the story of Harmony Bessler, a forgotten jazz musician of the 1930s. The featured documentary “King No Crown” debuts afterward. It chronicles the life and moments of local rap legend, Blueprint, during the release of his album by the same name.

“By Any Means Necessary: Make Your Film!” is a film making workshop by Celia C. Peters.

Hosted at the Columbus College of Art and Design that same Saturday, the workshop will go over all the different phases of movie making with no previous experience or understanding in the field required. Submitted films in the category of drama shorts, music films, and home grown shorts will also debut that day starting at 3 p.m. at the Drexel Theatre. Awards will then be issued for each genre including:

  • Best Feature Film
  • Best Short Film
  • Best Homegrown Film
  • Best Music Video
  • Best Documentary Film
  • Best International Film
  • Best Feature Screenplay
  • Best Short Screenplay
  • Best Animated Film

The Columbus Black International Film Festival brings much-needed exposure to a society that seems allergic and fearful of anything depicting the Black experience. Maybe part of the reasoning behind that is shame. To look too closely into the lives and moments of any group of people is to question the cause of the effect, to try and place the why and how of their actions and hardships. And perhaps, sadly, the answers to those queries are too frightening and damning for an entire culture to ever fully embrace. But through film and television, we can at least try. For tickets, information, and scheduling, visit The Columbus Black International Film Festival’s website.