Monday, April 26, 2021

THE 2021 HARLEM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL announces line-up for 16th edition (May 6-9)


Opening Night in-person celebration features World Premieres of Tarabu Betserai Kirkland’s 100 Years from Mississippi, and Glenn Osten Anderson’s Coogan’s Way, and the North American premiere of Anne Via McCollough’s Full Circle.

New York, NY (April 23, 2021) – The 2021 Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) today announced official selections for its 16th edition – a hybrid event taking place May 6-9. The film festival will open with an audacious presentation of two triple-header screenings at the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 Theaters (2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd) featuring the world premieres of Tarabu Betserai Kirkland’s 100 Years from Mississippi, and Glenn Osten Anderson’s Coogan’s Way, as well as the North American premiere of Anne Via McCollough’s Full Circle. 

The red carpet in-person event will kick off the film festival’s celebrated showcase of relatively undiscovered international cinematic gems and local New York filmmaking talent and lead into virtual screenings of 71 films and more (31 features, 32 shorts, 2 VR/360 projects, and 6 webisodes) representing over 17 countries. Other feature films making their world premieres include; Avril E. Russell’s All on a Summer’s Day; Shonnese C. L. Coleman’s Radio Theatre for Your Soul, A Docu-Story; and Ílker Savaskurt’s Reflection (Ákis). Making its North American premiere is McArthur Alejandre’s Crossroads (Tagpuan).                                                   

Harlem International Film Festival’s Program Director, Nasri Zacharia, said. “We are thrilled to return to the theater, have a red carpet welcome for our filmmakers, live audiences and Q&As, and experience the magic of film festival discovery in the company of one another the way we did prior to the pandemic. At the same time, we will also utilize the virtual presentations to not just introduce our audiences throughout the state of New York to films from around the world, but also to interact and connect with filmmakers from all over the globe. And, of course, we’ll continue our efforts to truly showcase the filmmakers and the setting of our beloved home neighborhoods of Harlem, Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, which we call the HUB.” 

Opening on Thursday, May 6, the Harlem International Film Festival will return to theaters with a vengeance by presenting two separate triple features. Three of the films are documentaries making their world and North American debuts. Tarabu Betserai Kirkland’s 100 Years from Mississippi, about the return of a proud son and his mother to the state she had narrowly escaped as a child over one hundred years earlier, after the filmmaker discovered that the stories he had accepted as family folklore for decades were actually true. Glenn Osten Anderson’s Coogan’s Way tells the story of the iconic Washington Heights bar and restaurant that welcomed all races, religions, and interests becoming a force for good in the community in the 80s and 90s. Anne Via McCollough’s Full Circle celebrates Helen Hays’ Great Gull Island Project, a 50-year quest to save two species of threatened seabirds, the Roseate and Common Terns. 

The second Opening Night trio features films making their New York premieres including; Voodoo Macbeth, a film project from the University of Southern California Graduate students collective, about the first all black cast (in 1936 Harlem) to perform Shakespeare’s MACBETH, directed by a young and arrogant Orson Welles; Rebecca Heidenberg’s Queens of The Revolution, a Cuban documentary which is a moving portrait of Mejunje, a cultural center in Santa Clara that paved the road for LGBTQ+ rights in that county, highlighting the bravery of people who have fought for their lives and identities for decades; and Celine Parrenas Shimizu’s The Celine Archive, which looks at the remarkable story of Celine Navarro, who was buried alive by her community in 1932. The story exposes issues that still haunt Filipinax American communities today. 

Two international films making their world premieres are Avril E. Russell’s All on a Summer’s Day, a British psychological thriller about a woman whose car breaks down on the infamous Highway of Tears, and Ílker Savaskurt’s Reflection (Ákis), a Turkish tribute to William S. Burroughs about guests in a hotel in Istanbul soon to have an otherworldly experience. Also making its world premiere is Shonnese C. L. Coleman’s Radio Theatre for Your Soul, A Docu-Story, about the making of an internet radio show, featuring the fascinating minds and hearts of storytellers from all genres at the Accelerated Radio Studios in Inglewood, CA. McArthur Alejandre’s drama from the Philippines, Crossroads (Tagpuan) will make it’s North American premiere at the Harlem International Film Festival. The story connects three lonely souls whose chance encounter will change their lives. 

The Harlem International Film Festival will also offer its signature curated presentations of curated Harlem Uptown and local New York produced and themed short films preceding each of the features screening during the Opening Night event.

Additional highlights also include; Kelly Walker’s My Fiona, about a woman drawn into an intimate – and potentially catastrophic - relationship with the widowed mother of her best friend following her suicide; and Joseph E. Austin II’s Sundays in July, which follows the love story that develops when a woman meets a man after she returns to New York from L.A. 

For Film festival passes, tickets, and more information on the Harlem International Film Festival go to

 2021 Harlem International Film Festival official selections


Opening Night Triple Features Selections

100 Years From Mississippi                                               World Premiere

Director: Tarabu Betserai Kirkland

Country: US, Running Time: 59 min

Mamie Lang Kirkland was seven years old when she fled Ellisville, Mississippi in 1915 with her mother and siblings as her father and his friend, John Hartfield, escaped an approaching lynch mob. John Hartfield returned to Mississippi in 1919 and was killed in one of the most horrific lynchings of the era. Mamie’s son, Tarabu, had grown up hearing stories of John Hartfield but didn’t know if his mother’s stories were fact or folklore until one day in 2015. Tarabu discovered an article describing Hartfield’s murder before a crowd of 10,000 spectators. For over 100 years Mamie vowed never to return to Mississippi. Yet with Tarabu’s remarkable find, he urges his mother to finally confront her childhood trauma by returning to Ellisville.


The Celine Archive                                                               New York Premiere

Director: Celine Parrenas Shimizu

Country: US, Running Time: 69 min

Adulteress, traitor, heroine, or prey? In 1932, Celine Navarro was buried alive by her community in Northern California. The filmmaker, a grieving mother, with a long-term commitment to exploring race, gender and immigration, digs up Celine Navarro’s story, exposing silences that haunt Filipinax American communities today, along with Celine Navarro’s family, community members and scholars who know different details about this largely untold event in American history.


Coogan’s Way                                                                       World Premiere

Director: Glenn Osten Anderson

Country: US, Running Time: 67 min

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, NYC’s Washington Heights neighborhood was considered the epicenter of America’s crack cocaine epidemic. Amid gang wars, street riots, and growing tensions between citizens and police – the community needed a safe space, a political hub, a cultural center, and a home-away-from-home. Coogan’s Way is the story of how a small bar and restaurant that welcomed all races, religions, and interests became a force for good in the community. And how decades later, when the owners were faced with the challenges of a rapidly changing NYC real estate market, their diverse and dynamic clientele fought for this beloved institution.


Full Circle                                                                              North American Premiere               

Director: Anne Via McCollough

Country: US, Running Time: 86 min

This stunning documentary celebrates one woman’s triumph in conservation, the Great Gull Island Project, Helen Hays’ 50-year quest to save two species of threatened seabirds. During her long term study, she vastly increased the numbers of nesting Roseate and Common Terns on a small, uninhabited island in Long Island Sound. As well as revealing the nesting season of the terns up close the film highlights the myriad of volunteers inspired by Hays over the decades; her extensive collaboration with scientists in Argentina, Brazil and the Azores; and also her remarkable & heartwarming connection with a small fishing village on the north coast of Brazil.


Queens of The Revolution                                                  New York Premiere                    

Director: Rebecca Heidenberg

Country: Cuba, Running Time: 78 min

This moving portrait of Mejunje, a cultural center in Santa Clara that paved the road for LGBTQ+ rights in Cuba, highlights the bravery of people who have fought for their lives and identities for decades. Meandering through the streets of Santa Clara, into the homes of drag performers and on to the stage, the film tells the story of Mejunje through a chorus of voices.


Voodoo Macbeth                                                                  New York Premiere

Director: University of Southern California Graduate students collective

Country: US, Running Time: 108 min.

In 1936 Harlem, the first all black cast to perform Shakespeare’s MACBETH, directed by a young and arrogant Orson Welles, battles to make it to opening night.




All on a Summer’s Day                                                        World Premiere

Director: Avril E. Russell

Country: UK, Running Time: 74 min

On the way to a final gig before she joins the rat race, Nicky’s car breaks down on a quiet country lane off a motorway locally known as the Highway of Tears.  When a Samaritan stops to offer help, she is unsure whether to trust him in this homage to British 70s psychological thrillers.


Cecily and Lydia at the Waypoint                     

Director: Juliette Strangio

Country: US, Running Time: 74 min

On a lush, but lonely earth, Cecily walks. Alone in her house, Lydia waits. One balmy afternoon, the two women finally meet.


Crossroads (Tagpuan)                                                        North American Premiere

Director: McArthur Alejandre

Country: Philippines, Running Time: 107 min

In a world where people wander the globe for survival and no place can any longer be called home, three rootless lonely souls try to connect. Allan is a rich businessman who hides his empty life in the guise of success. One night he has a chance encounter with Tanya, a sexy and mysterious Filipino-Chinese woman in Hongkong.  It will change his life forever.



Director: Slavek Horak

Country: Czech Republic, Running Time: 102 min

Inspired by the life of Vaclav Havel, prominent Czech playwright and dissident turned president.  The film focuses on Havel’s transformation from successful, then banned, playwright of the late 1960s into human rights organizer during the 70s leading to his presidency in the late 80s. The drama revolves around a self-doubting intellectual torn between his passions and his self-imposed duties to the greater good while struggling to prove his worth to himself.


Kalel, 15

Director: Jun Robles Lana

Country: Philippines, Running Time: 105 min

Kalel knows a thing or two about secrets.  His mother has an ongoing affair with a married man.  His sister had an abortion at a young age and he is the son of a priest. Insecure about his past, he searches for love and validation from complete strangers he meets online, but his own secret is becoming unbearable to hide.


Lust Life Love

Directors: Stephanie Sellars, Benjamin Feuer

Country: US, Running Time: 100 min

When a bisexual, polyamorous sex blogger falls madly in love with a monogamous man, she comes face to face with the frightening truth about herself.


My Fiona                                                                                New York State Premiere

Director: Kelly Walker

Country: US, Running Time: 86 min

Following the suicide of her best friend, Jane finds purpose in helping her friend's wife with their child. In doing so, she becomes inadvertently drawn into an intimate relationship bound by grief that's potentially catastrophic to the healing for all those involved.


Reflection (Ákis)                                                                         World Premiere

Director: Ílker Savaskurt

Country: Turkey, Running Time: 108 min

A hotel in a remote, but popular area of Istanbul, finds new guests arriving in search of rest and relaxation after their travels.  But the attendant checking them into their rooms has something more in store for the night in this strangely otherworld Turkish tribute to William S. Burroughs.


Sundays In July                                                                            NY Premiere

Director: Joseph E. Austin II

County: US, Running Time: 85 min

When fiercely independent Monika moves back to New York from Los Angeles determined to make it this time completely on her own, the last thing she ever expected was to meet Trent with an open heart and open arms.  An intimate look at two lovers navigating the minefield of their egos, fears and flaws to dive into the most foreign and uncharted territory – true love.               


The American King                                                                            

Director: Adah Obekpa

County: US, Running Time: 75 min

In the year 2020, a mysterious High Priestess arrives in the United States to fulfill a 400-year-old Prophecy: to choose an American to become King of an ancient African kingdom, one who would rebuild this ancient kingdom into a global superpower again.



Director: Sevgi Hirschhäuser

County: Turkey, Running Time: 106 min

Toprak is the dramatic story of a simple family in rural Turkey dealing with poverty, family traditions, and religious heritage. Since the death of his parents, the teenage Burak has lived with his uncle Cemil and grandmother in a remote Turkish village. The small family unit has been trying to make a living by selling fruits. While the religious Cemil is satisfied to live his life in poverty, Burak struggles to leave for the city and attend university. When grandmother falls sick, both Burak and Cemil have to make tough decisions that will change their lives forever.




Almost Naked                                                                                                                      

Director: Liang Mai

County: China, Running Time: 63 min

A Chinese artist finds his voice when he discovers photography, and learns that his ultimate subject is himself. The result is a series of naked self-portraits made over many years and the creation of a body of work that not only challenges his own boundaries but also the cultural norms of both East and West.



Director: Liz Ortiz

County: US, Running Time: 76 min

This is what happens when a casting director who has spoken up for over 20 years about disability inclusion to no avail, and a performer with a disability whose talents were under-utilized due to typecasting, join forces to make a documentary.


Breathtaking: K2 - The World’s Most Dangerous Mountain                   

Director: Adrian Ballinger

Country: US, Running Time: 46 min

“K2 is a savage mountain that tries to kill you.” That is how climber George Bell described the infamous peak after the first American expedition in 1953–forever giving the mountain its nickname–The Savage Mountain. Sixty-six years later, Eddie Bauer mountain guides Adrian Ballinger and Carla Perez aim to summit the 8611-meter peak and join a community of explorers fewer in number than those who have been to outer space. Even more incredible, they both will attempt the feat without the use of supplemental oxygen. Every step of the way the team faces hazardous conditions, terrifying setbacks, and crushing misfortunes.


Chasing Childhood                                                                                     

Director: Eden Wurmfeld, Margaret Munzer Loeb

Country: US, Running Time: 85 min

Overprotected and over-directed, American children are wilting under the weight of well-meaning parents. In the pursuit of keeping them safe and creating an impressive resumé of extracurricular activities to wow admissions boards, over-parenting smothers children across socioeconomic classes and leads to anxiety and depression. Chasing Childhood follows education professionals and reformed helicopter parents who seek and offer solutions for developing more confident, independent young people while restoring some joy and freedom to childhood.


Madan Sara                                                                                       

Director: Etant Dupain

Country: Haiti, Running Time: 51 min

The women known as Madan Sara in Haiti work tirelessly to buy, distribute, and sell food and other essentials in markets throughout the country.  Despite the obstacles faced by the women working in a sector that lacks investment, infrastructure and state assistance, the Madan Sara continue to be one of the most critical parts of the Haitian economy and society. This is the story of these indefatigable women who work at the margins to make Haiti’s economy run.


Negra                                                                                        Harlem Premiere             

Director: Medhin Tewolde Serrano

Country: Mexico, Running Time: 72 min

When the film’s director was seven years old she remembers the first time she was referred to as “negra” (black). At first she looked around, not realizing the person was even referring to her. “That day I understood I was black, and the laughter it caused among the people nearby made me think being a black person wasn’t that great.” The film is an honest examination of inhabiting Mexico as a black woman. It tells the story of five afro-descendant women from southern Mexico, exposing racism, resistance and processes of self-acceptance, strategies for transcending stereotypes, and the celebration of their identity.


Radio Theatre for Your Soul, A Docu-Story                         World Premiere                         

Director: Shonnese C. L. Coleman

Country: US, Running Time: 100 min

Radio Theatre for Your Soul, A Docu-Story reveals the making of an internet radio show, featuring the fascinating minds and hearts of storytellers from all genres, including music and poetry. Creator, Producer & Host, Shonnese C. L. Coleman, inspired by the benefits and healing properties of storytelling, weaves a journey of wellness as she celebrates over 100 Broadcasts at the Accelerated Radio Studios in Inglewood, CA. Providing a platform, a global stage, and a supportive environment for people from all walks of life, with a passion to share their stories, their adventures and indeed their soul.    



Director: Allegra Pacheco

Country: Japan, Costa Rica, Running Time: 79 min

A salaryman in Japan is a white-collar worker that devotes his life to his employer. Salarymen’s relentless work ethic helped build the country into the global superpower it is today. It’s 3 am, the last trains have left and the loud hustle and bustle of Tokyo has turned quiet. Costa Rican artist Allegra Pacheco walks through the neon city to find it littered with drunk men in suits sleeping on the street. Some are curled up on sidewalks, others rest their heads on briefcases used as pillows. Only to her foreign eyes this every-day scene seems off, as if she were the only witness to a massacre.  Her artistic practice takes her into a deep exploration that follows the lives of the men and women that work to live, or live to work?


Sky Blossom: Diaries of The Next Greatest Generation                        

Director: Richard Lui

Country: US, Running Time: 88 min

As young as eleven years old, they are taking care of parents and grandparents who are battling sickness. We call them Care Heroes. And there are five million of them in America.


Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks For Me                                       

Director: Abby Ginzberg

Country: US, Running Time: 82 min

The inspirational story of Representative Barbara Lee, a steadfast voice for human rights, peace and equality in the U.S. Congress who cut her teeth as a volunteer for the Black Panther Party and was the lone voice in opposition to the broad authorization of military force after the September 11th attacks. In 2001, she issued a prescient warning in the House of Representatives: “Let us not become the evil we deplore,” and she continues that clarion call today. 


Vinyl Nation                                                                                                    

Directors: Kevin Smokler, Christopher Boone

Country: US, Running Time: 92 min

A deep dig into the crates of the vinyl record resurgence to discover what an old technology says about our relationship to music and each other during a divided time in America.


Yer Old Faither                                                                                             

Director: Heather Croall

Country: Australia, Running Time: 85 min

A letter to my father. An elegy for a man, a town and a dream. Set in the industrial town of Whyalla, this is an intimate portrait of John Croall, a Glaswegian immigrant to Australia, and the father of Heather Croall. John Croall delivered three generations of babies and planted thousands of trees in the town. He was also a great letter writer, and this very personal documentary uses these letters as its point of departure. Heather Croall films with her father as a way of coping with his approaching death and reflecting on the close, and often very funny, relationship between them. This opens up an exploration that transcends individual grief and loss, to encompass the broader issues raised by a man’s life.


Youth V. Gov                                                

Director: Christi Cooper

Country: US, Running Time: 110 min

This is the story of America’s youngest citizens taking on the world’s most powerful government.  Twenty-one courageous youth lead a groundbreaking lawsuit against the U.S. government, asserting it has willfully acted over six decades to create our climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.  If these young people are successful, they will not only make history, they’ll change the future.




 The Drop Shot                                                                                                  

Director: Daniel Peddle

Country: US, Running Time: 9 min

A Harlem based first generation African-American young man discovers his passion in life -- fishing! We learn his favorite techniques and life story as he shares how he came to the sport.


East Harlem True Story                                                                         

Director: Toni Menage

Country: US, Running Time: 20 min

A girl from Wilson Houses in East Harlem who has been blessed to have 35 plus years and counting in the music industry; all while battling things with her personal life. The musical journey of Toni Menage since she was 14 years old. This doc focuses on an inside look to what it's like being in the business while working with the greats and legends we still hear and love today, by maintaining her true identity and lifestyle.


First Move                                                                                         

Director: Arielle Edelman

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min

First Move is a short film about four girls-- Milana, Subi, Anjyu and Jairin-- who are teammates on an elementary school chess team. The film follows them from their classroom in Washington Heights, Manhattan, to the country's largest scholastic chess tournament in Nashville, Tennessee. Through the eyes of these girls we witness the quirky, lovable, and sometimes over-the-top subculture of children's chess.


Single Use

Director: Jody Sperling

Country: US, Running Time: 9 min

A Covid-era dance short by renowned choreographer Jody Sperling, Single Use is a meditation on the nature of disposability and resuscitation. Sperling dons an outfit fashioned from over 150 reclaimed plastic bags to romp and roll down an abandoned stretch of Broadway. Skittering and careening across the asphalt, she transforms into blossoming organic forms.


Target Is Hiring                                                                                     

Director: Joel Vargas

Country: US, Running Time: 17 min

While dancing in the subway on the eve of starting her first job, a Harlem teen suspects that her love for dance and her new responsibilities will inevitably collide. The film is a rumination on childhood and dreams deferred, collaborating with young women Litefeet and Harlem Shake dancers.



Director: Henry Arroyo

Country: US, Running Time: 4 min

A young man is harassed by an undercover cop on his way to buy tea.


The Walk Home                                                                                                 

Director: Kendra Brown

Country: US, Running Time: 8 min

As his daughter gets older, a father must come to terms with letting her walk home alone after school.



 A Storybook Ending                                                                       

Director: Lanre Olabisi

Country: US, Running Time: 18 min

A Storybook Ending is a dark comedy about a Black man who accidentally kills an undercover White police officer in self-defense. The subsequent cover-up sets off a chain reaction of deceit, blackmail, and murder.


Anthony Crawford: The Man the South Forgot                    

Director: Carol Devoe

Country: US, Running Time: 27 min

A young African American woman journeys to her ancestors’ historically racist South Carolina hometown to fight to memorialize her great-great grandfather Anthony Crawford.



Director: Allies Sluiter

Country: US, Running Time: 17 min

When fugitive Ayaan encounters a man on a rural beach, she must decide whether to trust him, or journey on alone.



Director: Cole Swanson

Country: US, Running Time: 20 min

A young Black father must learn to navigate parenthood after his girlfriend mysteriously abandons him and their five-year-old daughter.


Birth of A Union                                                                             

Director: Josh Karan

Country: US, Running Time: 20 min

Despite being full time employees of the State of North Carolina, wages of many workers have been so low, that they have qualified for Federal food stamps. The film chronicles the historic and heroic effort to organize low wage workers in North Carolina, where it is actually illegal for any State agency to agree to a Union contract.


Come F*Ck My Robot                                                                                                

Director: Mercedes Bryce Morgan

Country: US, Running Time: 12 min

A short film based on a real Craigslist post.



Director: Cherrye J. Davis

Country: US, Running Time: 6 min

In a COVID impacted New York City, X, a black woman jogger, has a few things to consider before going outside for a run.


Good Morning! This Is Lana...                                                                     

Director: Sergio M. Vaccaro

Country: US, Running Time: 17 min

The truth behind a cheery wake-up caller's life in the 1970s South begins unraveling with each call she makes. Shot on 16mm Kodak film, over the course of 3 days, in Brooklyn, NY by a local NYC cast and crew.



Director: Marie Jamora

Country: US, Running Time: 17 min

In 1995 Las Vegas, a homesick cover band singer writes an original song to connect with her daughter who is growing up in the Philippines without her.


Her Mother’s Daugher                                                                                 

Director: Alejandra Cadena-Perez

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min

Her Mother’s Daughter is an emotional portrait of a volatile and challenging mother-daughter relationship, explored through dance and motion. Mother and daughter live together, yet lead separate lives, each in their own isolated world. In these separate lives, each finds a degree of satisfaction and contentment, in strikingly parallel ways. However, when brought together, echoes of past pain and loss haunt the pair and expose their vulnerability, leading to cycles of conflict, fear and even violence.



Director: Deepak Reddy

Country: India, Running Time: 17 min

The visually innovative short film follows a young man as he muses on the nature of love, recounting his three relationships…in reverse. He reminisces about them not from start to finish, but the other way around, taking the audience on a journey that looks forward to the happy beginnings. Manasanamaha chooses to put less focus on negative outcomes that sometime happen as opposed to the happy times that are experienced during the course of our romantic relationships.



Director: Sekou Luke

Country: US, Running Time: 18 min

Merlina the Queen’ah is an ancient afrofuturistic ghetto wizard who sits on the intergalactic planetary counsel of Photon Light. A celestial being in this world but not of it. She brings interstellar messages from the cosmos to wake the sleeping giant earthlings aka “grasshoppahs” to activate their full potential in order to defeat nefarious motives of “energy bandits”.


Silent Tears of the Midwives                                              

Director:  Jan Becker

Countries: Australia/Tanzania, Running Time: 22 min

Jan and Chase Becker, a mother and daughter duo of midwives, travel to Tanzania with the goal of bringing their knowledge and skills to a community in Dar es Salaam. While their desire to help comes with several challenges, their partnership with the local women offers a unique opportunity to build a clinic and an understanding of the global community through a new lens.



Director:  Gabri Christa

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min

A mother tries to find a moment to herself, but constantly worries about her black son's safety and keeps hearing his call/voice.


Summer in Hindsight                                                                                  

Director:  Khitam Jabr

Country: US, Running Time: 54 min

A journey by a young musician navigating a pandemic in the United States of America during the summer of 2020.


The Next Stop                                                                                                   

Director: Jonathan Pearson

Country: UK, Running Time: 6 min

The Next Stop is the story of Rochelle Roy, AKA ‘Mo The Dancer’, and her journey through the male-dominated world of New York street dance. Growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, Mo has always been surrounded by, and had a connection to dance.


Vivi’s Vision                                                                                           

Director: Leona Krahn

Country: US, Running Time: 43 min

Vivi embarks on writing and producing her first play for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival after being selected in the lottery process. It's a lot of work for her for a play she won't get to see. Vivi is completely blind, having lost all her sight in her early twenties. Her play is based on the Harlem Renaissance novel Passing by Nella Larsen which tells the dramatic story of a mixed race woman who passes for white, married to a bigoted husband who doesn't know her true identity until he makes the startling discovery - with fatal results.


Why Doctors Write: Finding Humanity in Medicine            

Director: Ken Browne

Country: US, Running Time: 35 min

A growing national movement in medicine uses writing as a way to provide support for clinicians and improve communication and care for patients. This documentary goes in search of the clinicians that are passionately leading this work in New York, Boston, and Palo Alto. Images of doctors in the film at the frontlines of COVID-19 are stark reminders of the voices and skills of these essential workers.



 A Grenfell Story                                                                               

Director: Hameed Adigun

Country: UK, Running Time: 3 min

This animation was created independently by Ronu Creative and inspired by George The Poet and Benbrick’s award-winning Podcast. The idea was to create a short and engaging animation that would tell the story of the Grenfell tower episode (Episode 3) in the best way possible.


Deep-Fried Fingers                                                                                     

Director: Daniel Greenway

Country: UK, Running Time: 5 min

Deep-Fried Fingers reverses the meat-eating relationship between humans and animals.


Gon, The Little Fox                                                                                     

Director: Takeshi Yashiro

Country: Japan, Running Time: 28 min

When Gon, a playful orphaned fox, finds that young Hyoju has lost his mother, he tries to comfort him and make amends for his own earlier mischiefs by secretly bringing small gifts to the boy every day. But Hyoju doesn’t realize who is behind the anonymous gifts, and the two are headed for a heartbreaking climax.


Izzy’s Demons                                                                                       

Director: Greg Garay

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min

Izzy is a person who struggles with the decision to reconnect with an old friend. As she gives into her jealousy for her friend’s success, she makes a decision that her subconscious does not let her get away with so easy. Her relationship with this person is splayed in front of her and she realizes that something isn’t adding up. Memories start taking a turn for the worse and she realizes why they aren’t talking to each other.


The Winter                                                                                                    

Director: Xin Li

Country: Australia, Running Time: 5 min

Walking in a snowy forest, a peasant sees an unusual deer and goes to follow it.



A Virtual Reality Introduction to The Abyssinian Baptist Church   

Director: Chuck Cummings

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min

A VR glimpse of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church.



Director: Brian Andrews

Country: US, Running Time: 7 min

Hominidae depicts an ecosystem of X-ray visibility. Creatures have evolved in surprising ways, where humans, birds, spiders and frogs share unique anatomies. This experience follows an Arachnid Hominid, an intelligent creature with human and spider physiology, as she struggles to raise her young in a hostile environment. The story is told in five vignettes, from the birth of the children to the death of the mother in the teeth of her prey.





All in 3: A Fikowski & Vellner Documentary                            

Director: S.J. Finlay

Country: Canada, Running Time: 21 min

It was a disappointing 2019 for our favorite Canadian Crossfit athletes, Brent Fikowski and Pat Vellner, due to a new structure of progressive and brutal cuts at the 2019 CrossFit Games period. The good news is our heroes have roared back with incredible performances in the 2020 Crossfit Open––led by Pat Vellner’s epic 1st place finish worldwide. Can these two rivals-turned-buddies carry their newfound momentum into 2020 and find redemption at the Games to bring the Maple Leaf back to the podium quest.  Will they be joined by a new mysterious character to represent the equally impressive women Crossfit athletes?


Khaki is Not Leather                                 

Director: Ray Smiling

Country: US, Running Time: 15 min

Six stories of human loneliness. Connection. Sex. Quarantine. And all the weird shit ya lil FBI agent sees when you go to them naked people sites and use FaceTime in ways Steve Jobs never intended.



Director: Daniel Gaymon

Country: US, Running Time: 16 min

Adventure and drama can still be had in a Pandemic. With Broadway shut down and a virus on the loose, neighbors and besties, Sharrod and Joey rely on each other to stay afloat in the “new normal”. Ironically, they both end up in Interracial dating situations with an old flame and a newly discovered neighbor. 



Director:  Maurice Porcher

Country: US, Running Time: 32 min

Moe The Mōs creatively follows the transformation of Miami Photographer Rayna DaSant, as she is activated by the racially motivated deaths of several unarmed Black people in 2020.



Director: Thomas Goggans

Country: US, Running Time: 72 min

Can God heal us from life-altering wrongs committed against us? How do we confidently release the past and find the strength to embrace the future? This is a modern-day Cinderella story about an aspiring artist's unwillingness to confront her painful history and the journey she takes to encounter what she was least expecting, but undoubtedly needed most.


Virtual Colleagues                                            

Director: Vanessa Awong Eya’a

Country: UK, Running Time: 14 min

June, a Nigerian CEO of a solar company based in Accra, Ghana, thrives on face-to-face contact, but when the pandemic hits, she struggles to unite her dysfunctional pan-African team via Zoom calls and other daunting new technology, in order to save the company from bankruptcy.


Celebrating the art of cinema in the home of the Harlem Renaissance, The Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) inspires and entertains by honoring dynamic films by anyone about anything under the sun. Conceived from the belief that we all have unique experiences and perspectives to share, the Festival actively seeks and exhibits fresh work. Hi is committed to exemplifying the eminence that Harlem represents and is dedicated to bringing attention to the finest filmmakers from Harlem and across the globe.

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