Black History Month Virtual Film Festival

Black History Month Virtual Film Festival

Is 2016 the Best Year Ever for Black Cinema? • EBONY

Image via Ebony Magazine

Celebrate Black History Month by watching a selection from our virtual film festival. Film has the power to transport us into captivating worlds right from home. Whether you subscribe to every streaming platform or none of them, there’s something great on our list for you:

L.W. Tyree Library & Learning Commons

  • I Am Not Your Negro (2017): Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book, this visual essay explores racism through the stories of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. (also available on Netflix).
  • What Happened, Miss Simone? (2016): A documentary about the life and legend Nina Simone, an American singer, pianist, and civil rights activist labeled the High Priestess of Soul (also available on Netflix).
  • Selma (2015): Covers the three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.
  • Freedom Summer: Mississippi. 1964. (2014): Organizers from Mississippi and across the U.S. unite in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation’s most segregated states, even in the face of intimidation, physical violence, and death.
  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011): The Black Power Mixtape mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the US drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Gaining access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver among them, the filmmakers captured them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews.
  • Freedom Riders (2011): In 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives for traveling together on buses and trains in the Deep South. Stanley Nelson offers the first film about this courageous band of civil-rights activists.

Netflix

  • Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (2020): An African American washerwoman rises from poverty to build a beauty empire and become the first female self-made millionaire. Based on a true story.
  • Becoming (2020): Join former first lady Michelle Obama in an intimate documentary looking at her life, hopes and connection with others as she tours with “Becoming.”
  • When They See Us (2019): Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they’re falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park. Based on the true story.
  • Moonlight (2016): In this acclaimed coming-of-age drama, a young man who grows up poor, Black and gay in a rough Miami neighborhood tries to find his place in the world.
  • Loving (2016): A young couple’s interracial marriage in 1958 sparks a case that leads to the Supreme Court. Based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving.

Hulu

  • Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019): This artful and intimate meditation on legendary storyteller Toni Morrison examines her life, her work and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.
  • The Apollo (2019): The unique history and legacy of New York City’s landmark Apollo Theater is explored in this documentary.
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)  : Based on the novel by James Baldwin, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a soulful drama about a young couple fighting for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream.
  • Detroit (2017): A period crime drama film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal. Based on the Algiers Motel incident during Detroit’s 1967 12th Street Riot, the film’s release commemorated the 50th anniversary of the event.

Prime

  • One Night in Miami…(2021): One Night in Miami is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.
  • Sylvie’s Love (2020): When a young woman meets an aspiring saxophonist in her father’s record shop in 1950s Harlem, their love ignites a sweeping romance that transcends changing times, geography, and professional success.
  • The Hate U Give (2018): Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.
  • Fences (2016): Nineteen-fifties Pittsburgh is the setting for this adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Denzel Washington, who also directed, stars as Troy Maxson, a former Negro Leagues baseball star scraping out a middle-class life as a garbageman.

Disney+

  • Black Panther (2018): Black Panther earned a historic $1.3 Billion in the box offices! The first black title character for an Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Black Panther is a well-known hero among Marvel comic book fans.
  • Queen Of Katwe (2016): Lupita Nyong’o Stars in this film, taking place in a village called Katwe in Uganda. Phiona is a 10-year-old girl who struggles with her small family in poverty when her life is changed by her introduction to the game of chess.
  • Hidden Figures (2016): The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.
  • The Princess And The Frog (2009): The story of Princess Tiana, Disney’s first African-American Princess! The Princess and the Frog (2009) brought a historical moment with its debut.
  • Remember the Titans (2000): The story of a Virginia high school in 1971 that is forced to integrate by the school board, merging an all-black football team with an all-white one. The championed team must overcome the trials of segregation and generational racism to maintain it’s victorious reputation.
  • Ruby Bridges (1998): The real-life story of the brave 6-year-old girl who is chosen to help integrate an all-white school in New Orleans. 

HBO Max

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017): Based on the best-selling nonfiction book of the same name, the film chronicles Deborah Lacks’ search, aided by journalist Rebecca Skloot, to learn about the mother she never knew and understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs.
  • Confirmation (2016): Confirmation takes a look behind the curtain of Washington politics, depicting the explosive 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings where Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment. The hearings brought the country to a standstill and became a pivotal moment in American culture, proving it only takes one voice to change history.
  • Bessie (2015): Queen Latifah stars as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith. The film focuses on Smith’s transformation from a struggling young singer into “The Empress of the Blues,” who became one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s and is an enduring icon today.
  • Amistad (1997): The year was 1839. Aboard the Spanish galleon Amistad, a crew of Spanish sailors were slaughtered in a revolt by their cargo–53 African slaves. Branded as murderers, the slaves were captured and faced with a new threat to what they had murdered for: their freedom.