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Afrikan Poetry Theatre’s Black History Month Film Festival

Saturday, Feb 17, 2024 at 4:00 pm

Total running time: 120 mins.

Hosted by Vernon “Smij” Williams (Afrikan Poetry Theatre)  

Join us for MoMI community partner The Afrikan Poetry Theatre’s annual film festival in honor of Black History Month. The Afrikan Poetry Theatre is a cultural organization that has brought educational programs and workshops to southeast Queens for decades. This program celebrates the achievements of local Black directors, writers, and producers. This festival event, featuring a selection of vibrant new films, will include a 45-minute short film program with a discussion followed by a screening of the musical documentary Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between.    

Free with RSVP.

Selections include:

Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between 
Dir. Claire Jeffreys. 2023, 70 mins. A portrait of one of music’s most under-the-radar performers, this musical documentary explores the challenges and triumphs of the Brooklyn-born biracial singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys’s fifty-year career. Jeffreys’s songs melded Dylanesque folk, reggae, and the doo-wop sounds of his Brooklyn childhood. An enigmatic performer since his start in Greenwich Village clubs, Jeffreys never achieved the success predicted for him. The film asks why and explores his commitment to writing about race in America, more relevant than ever. 

Dir. Averi Israel. 2022, 4 mins. With Chloe Harper-Smith, Shantel Moses, Mattie Vasquez. Sequin is a narrative short about the wisdom of children and seeing beauty in our everyday interactions. The film depicts a grandmother and her granddaughter, Nya, sitting on a bench and waiting for a bus. Nya plays with her doll then notices Kyiv, who is gender-nonconforming; has beautiful, lavender-colored hair, very similar to Nya’s doll; and wears a fabulous birthday outfit. Nya tries to get Kyiv’s attention but fails repeatedly until finally, Kyiv takes notice and a friendship begins.  

Joekeim Chemist (Mic’d) [pictured above]
Dir. Karen Tamanji Stein & Craig Williams. 2023, 11 mins. With Anthony S. Weston, Jr., Natalie Shields, Saiku Branch, Vernon Williams. Produced by The Afrikan Poetry Theatre, this short film follows Joekeim, a disgruntled chemist who thinks he has hit paydirt when he concocts a pill that allows him to hear people’s conversations after they ingest it. Unfortunately, his concoction works too well, and he is let in on a secret that he didn’t want to know. With his heart broken, he comes up with a sinister plan to use his pill for revenge. 

Dir. Crystal Z Campbell. 2019, 3 mins. Featuring a performance by Angela Davis Johnson, this experimental video is a sound film of refusal––a woman wears bygone forms of currency on the tips of her hair while preserving the greatest currency for herself.

The Bond 
Dir. Jahmil Eady. 2022, 16 mins. The Bond follows Aria, a pregnant and incarcerated woman who fights for her most precious connection against a system designed to isolate her.  

Invisible Man 
Dir. Ravi Vietro. 2020, 11 mins. Produced by Ghetto Film School, this thrilling narrative short follows Isaiah, a young Black painter who works as a security guard at the fictional New York Museum. After meeting the new exhibiting artist, Isaiah starts to question her vision.