The 16th Harlem International Film Festival 2021 opens in person at the AMC Magic Johnson Theatre on Thursday, May 6, 2021 and continues virtually through harlemfilmfestival.org on Friday-Sunday, May 7-9, 2021.
We love the year’s theme “From Harlem to Hong Kong & Back Again.” When communities embrace each other, we are strong.
This year’s Harlem International Film Festival more important than ever. The stories a community tells, tell a lot about the community. This moment of great social change is such an interesting time for Black voices. We must all be the change.
The Next Big Thing
The COVID-19 Pandemic put us all in a pressure cooker for the last year, but the next big cultural thing is stewing somewhere in New York City among its communities of color. As the pressure lets up, creativity will blossom.
It’s going to be the Roaring 20s again. That’s what happened after the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920. We don’t know what new thing will be, but you might see some hints of it at the Festival.
Harlem International Film Festival 2021 Tickets
Get tickets at harlemfilmfestival.org
Opening night is premiere night at the AMC Magic Johnson Theatre on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Screenings include the world premiere of Tarabu Betserai Kirkland’s “100 Years From Mississippi“, the world premiere of Glenn Osten Anderson’s “Coogan’s Way,” and the North American premiere of Anne Via McCollough’s “Full Circle.”
“100 Years From Mississippi” is a hard film to watch because it’s an honest telling of one family’s experience of the sadistic violence of the Jim Crow South. There is no joy in seeing how “Southern trees bear strange fruit,” but we cannot turn away. The story must be seen. As the family matriarch and centenarian Mamie Lang Kirkland says, “I’m not frightened anymore.” That’s the power of telling your story.
We’re excited about “Voodoo MacBeth” which tells a story of the first all black cast to perform Shakespeare’s “MacBeth” directed by Orson Welles in 1936 Harlem. It’s USC film school student work, so we are looking a bit into the future, but it’s great to see Black visions of universal themes.
Opening Night Tickets (eventive.org). From $17
The Festival’s film categories include Documentary Features, Narrative Features, World Cinema and Upper Manhattan. The opening night films are available for streaming and there are both live and on demand streams too. The live streams offer some filmmaker Q&As.
McArthur C. Alejandre’s “Crossroads (Tagpuan)” caught our eye. “Crossroads” is code for Elegua, the West and Central African orisha who opens the road to the divine, and can change the course of your life in a second. It’s about an Asian couple in New York. How cool is that!
Streaming Tickets (eventive.org). From $4.99. Streams are only available in New York.
See you at the Harlem International Film Festival 2021!