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Newark Black Film Festival Announces 43rd Season Screenings at the Newark Museum, Newark, NJ

The Newark Black Film Festival (NBFF), the longest running festival of its kind in the United States, kicks off its 43rd season on June 28 at the Newark Museum with 13th, Ava DuVernay’s exploration of the history of race, justice and mass incarceration in the U.S., focusing on the nation's prisons that are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.

Youth Cinema, the accompanying summer-long series of free children’s features and short films, debuts on July 3 at The Newark Public Library and July 5 at the Museum.

Since its introduction by the Museum in 1974, the NBFF has provided a forum for emerging writers, directors, producers, performers that highlight the work and history of African Americans and the African Diaspora that reflect the diversity of viewpoints, from documentaries to the avant-garde. Screenings are followed by a Q&A session.

For the 17th consecutive year, the Festival is made possible by Bank of America. The official airline is United Airlines.

Screenings are free, but reservations are strongly suggested. They can be made one week prior to each screening at Museum members at the Patron Level and above who register will be eligible for priority auditorium seating. Walk-ins will be admitting on a first come basis if seating is available.


All screenings begin at 7 pm in the Newark Museum BJ Auditorium, unless otherwise noted.

June 28: 13th 
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of race, justice and mass incarceration in the U.S., focusing on the nation's prisons that are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. 
Opening Reception: 5:30 pm 
Speakers: Khalil Muhammad, Prof. of History, Race and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; and Lawrence Hamm, People Organization for Progress 
Host: Gloria Hopkins Buck

July 5: Queen of Katwe - Family Night in the Museum Garden 
Living in the slum of Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona and her family. Her world changes when she meets a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. 
Enjoy pre-film activities at 7 pm with the Newark Chess Club, a mentorship program that teaches strategic theory and thought, through chess. Screening will follow at 8 pm. 
Speaker and Host: Darryl Scipio, Newark Chess Club

July 12: Steps 
A young attorney left traumatized after an armed robbery becomes an alcoholic, loses everything and spends 14 years on the streets. After he befriends a local pastor, his story shifts to one of redemption and love in this Indie film set in Jersey City. 
Speakers: Eddie Harris, filmmaker/writer; and Penwah, actress/producer/comedian 
Host: Richard Wesley, screenwriter/educator

July 19: Shashamane 
This documentary, set in Shashamane, Ethiopia, tells the story of Africans returning to their homeland, after generations of slavery and oppression, to reclaim their African identity. 
Speakers: Giulia Amati, Producer, Karl Courtenay Phillpotts, President, The Shashamane Settlement Community Development Foundation and Jake Homiak, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives. 
Host: Akil Khalfani, Director of Africana Institute, Essex County College

July 26: Millie & The Lords 
Milagros Baez, a young Puerto Rican woman, has her life changed for the better when she learns about the Young Lords Party who fought for social justice in Spanish Harlem in the 1960s. 
Speakers: Jennica Carmona, writer/director and Jessica Carmona, co-producer and plays the role of Millie 
Host: TBD

August 2: John Lewis: Get in the Way 
A portrayal of John Lewis’ personal journey of courage, disappointments and hard-won triumphs. Over decades, he has inspired others to stand up and seek justice for the marginalized. 
Speaker: Kathleen Dowdey, producer/director 
Host: TBD


Youth Cinema will be held on Mondays at The Newark Public Library at 10:30 am and at the Newark Museum on Wednesdays at 1 pm.

Monday, July 3, The Newark Public Library 
Wednesday July 5, Newark Museum 
Tell Me Who I Am - A princess from Timbuktu and her magical friend take a journey in a time-travel ship into the 21st century. 
George Washington Carver - Learn how Mr. Carver became one of the world’s foremost experts in agriculture and horticulture. 
Adventures in Odyssey: Race to Freedom - With the help of friends, a young boy helps slaves escape through the Underground Railroad.

Monday, July 10, The Newark Public Library 
Wednesday, July 12, Newark Museum 
The Proud Family Movie - A young girl and her family go on vacation, only to be captured by a mad scientist.

Monday, July 17, The Newark Public Library 
Wednesday, July 19, Newark Museum 
Meltrek: Exploring Ancient Africa - Learn history, culture and contributions of various African civilizations. 
Zarafa - In this African fable, a boy and a baby giraffe take a hot air balloon on an adventure from Africa to Europe.

Monday, July 24, The Newark Public Library 
Wednesday, July 26, Newark Museum 
Thugaboo: Sneaker Madness - Adventures of neighborhood kids of different racial cultures. 
Sule and the Case of the Tiny Sparks - A young girl who wants to learn the meaning of a proverb seeks guidance from the proverb detective. 
The Honest-to-Goodness Truth - Libby tries not to lie--she's been taught that it's good to be honest-- sometimes the truth can be hard.

Monday, July 31, The Newark Public Library 
Wednesday, August 2, Newark Museum 
Mrs. Katz and Tush - Lamel, a young African-American boy, and Mrs. Katz, an elderly Jewish woman, develop an unusual friendship through their concern for a cat named Tush. 
You’re Beautiful - 11-year-old Shola truly knows the internal conflict she faces and the pressures of dealing with school. 
White Water - A boy in the Deep South discovers that no matter the fountain, water is water.

Monday, August 7, The Newark Public Library 
Wednesday, August 9, Newark Museum 
Queen of Katwe - Living in the slum of Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona and her family. Her world changes when she meets a missionary who teaches children how to play chess.

For more information, visit the Museum’s web site,; or follow on Twitter at or Facebook at


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