Friday, September 29, 2017

All Eyes on B’more Black Film Festival as Black Pride Begins

Written by  Kenneth Moore, Jr.
 Todrick Hall – king of the documentary Behind the Curtain, opening BIBFF Todrick Hall – king of the documentary Behind the Curtain, opening BIBFF

International Event Showcases 85 Movies

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” is the advice given by Todrick Hall in the Katherine Fairfax Wright-directed documentary film Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall. The film premieres in Maryland October 4th as the opening feature of the fourth annual Baltimore International Black Film Festival (BIBFF), which is present by Sogaa. This film offers an intimate look into the creative process Todrick undergoes as he tells his life’s story in “Straight Outta Oz,” a theatrical reimaging of the Wizard of Oz.

Forget about clicking red emerald slippers to find your way home. When you see Todrick in his glittery red Timbs, you’ll know for sure that home for everyone is a unique and special place. Our individual journeys of self-discovery and self-acceptance can be influenced by family and friends, but ultimately we all must find our own paths. Todrick teaches this through a humorous, emotional, and honest depiction of how dogged perseverance led to his improbable success as an openly gay black pop vocalist, YouTube sensation, TV personality, and Broadway star.

Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall kicks-off the festival, but there’s so much more in store down the road in the over 85 films this year.

Another highlight is The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, which features never-before-seen footage of the final days of the Stonewall Riot veteran and a trailblazer in the modern gay and transgender rights movement. Twenty-five years after Marsha’s mysterious death, follow one woman’s crusade to solve this cold case and unearth answers to how we lost this beloved resistance leader.

How the club scene provides safe spaces for young black gay and lesbian individuals is central to Dancing in the Dark, a documentary about black and Latino males in New York City.

In Jewel’s Catch One, we see the other side of this phenomenon, when black-owned establishments close after decades of service to the community. The documentary homes in on club owner Jewel Thais-Williams, who for 40 years offered refuge, hope, and healing while building the oldest black-owned disco in America.

No assemblage of films would be complete without some drama, romance, and comedy. In Marz a young rapper must come to terms with himself after a one-night encounter with his best friend, stirring up emotions and feelings he never knew he had.

Civil rights leader and organizer Bayard Rustin’s efforts to secure a future for his young lover at a time when marriage equality was inconceivable is the subject of Bayard and Me.

And, in a beautiful transgender love story, two twentysomethings meet at Burning Man, but forget to exchange contact information. They both post to a “missed connections”-type board in an attempt to find one another.

So come on and “ease on down the road” from October 4th to 9th in a journey with the BIBFF to engage the community and use the power of cinema to spawn “reel unity.”

For more info about all films and show times visit


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