The Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film, hosted by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, celebrates and promotes the work of Black and independent filmmakers.
The festival consists of seven days of different screenings, which span from Oct. 3 to Nov. 2. According to its Heel Life event page, the films engage with African American history, culture and contemporary issues, in addition to the global Black experience.
Sheriff Drammeh, the senior program manager for the Stone Center, said although it may seem like there are a lot of opportunities for Black filmmakers right now, that is not really the case.
“They still face the same barriers. They still face the same challenges in this instant,” Drammeh said.
According to a report released by UCLA, nine percent of directors and seven percent of writers for the top streaming films of 2022 were Black.
Drammeh said the first iteration of this event began in the '90s in an effort to hear and represent Black filmmakers’ voices.
“It's important because the Black experience is not monolithic,” he said. “Our struggles, our resistance, our histories, are merely similar — and the art — but our general experiences are different.”
First-year Ahmed Abnowf, a work-study student at the Stone Center, said the film festival showcases stories that people rarely ever hear about.
“It's not something we think about day-to-day,” he said. “It's really drawing more niche issues to the forefront, and I think that's important.” Abnowf said these films convey important ideas because if there is injustice in one place, there is injustice everywhere.