BlackStar Projects And Comcast’s Xfinity Join Forces To Launch First-Ever Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab

EXCLUSIVE: BlackStar Projects, and Xfinity, announced the participants of the inaugural class of their new Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab.

The year-long fellowship supports Black, Brown and Indigenous emerging and mid-career artists and filmmakers in the Greater Philadelphia area by providing access to equipment, funding, and mentorship. BlackStar will act as an executive producer on the short films created during the Lab, providing feedback and advice, while Xfinity will provide a major portion of the funding for production. The BlackStar Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab is presented by Xfinity with additional support from All Ages Productions, Independence Public Media Foundation, Kickstarter, Vimeo, and Wyncote Foundation.

“At Xfinity, we strive to facilitate the discovery of diverse emerging content creators like the filmmakers in this lab and provide a platform for them to showcase their talent,” said Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. “We’re thrilled to work with the BlackStar team to further our company-wide mission of investing in and showcasing authentic culture driven stories.”

Each film will premiere at the next BlackStar Film Festival in August 2022 and be featured on the Black Experience on Xfinity Channel. Additionally, shortlisted candidates who did not receive a fellowship this cycle will receive one-on-one consultation from industry representatives courtesy of Kickstarter.

“I am really impressed by the sheer diversity and boldness of this year’s applications.” said Maori Karmael Holmes, Artistic Director and CEO of BlackStar, “Our finalists represent just a fraction of the incredible talent in our city, and we are thrilled to be able to support their vision for new work in this way.”

BlackStar Projects also revealed the recipient of the inaugural Music in Cinema Fellowship, supported by Pop Culture Collaborative. The one year Music in Cinema Fellowship embeds one musician in BlackStar’s year-round work to design activities intended to bring more Black, Brown, and Indigenous musicians into the world of filmmaking. The inaugural fellow is David “lil’dave” Adams, who will serve as the composer of this year’s Filmmaker Lab projects.

Here are the 2021 Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab fellows and their projects:

Bettina Escauriza
Tonight, We Eat Flowers
The film centers on a person who sells hold music to companies, employing magical realism and the absurd to disrupt expectations. 

Jasmine Lynea
The Love Machine
Is a hybrid film set in 2036 North Philadelphia in a predominantly Black neighborhood, and focuses on cultivating a new perspective on love. 

Julian Turner
The Big Three
This film short will engage a conversation surrounding Black representation and artistic ownership through a musical setting. 

Xenia Matthew
The movie will utilize surrealism, animation and multimedia elements to further the ongoing conversation on the colonization of Black women’s bodies in art and material culture.

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