This free online film festival imagines a variety of black futures

Speculative fiction is about the future, along with technological advances and the infinite possibilities of extraterrestrial life. But it often tells the same kind of themes as mainstream fiction: past and present stories built around the power of conquest, betrayal, revolution, and relationships. Recent movements in science fiction literature, led by new executives of increasingly diverse writers, offer new ways to tell these stories by leveraging the traditions of different cultures.Afrofuturism, Marvel’s popular movement Black panther And Beyonce Black is the king, Inspired by African diaspora culture, it tells these familiar stories.

Free online film festival Afrofuturism: Revisualization of Blackness Serves as an introduction and invitation to the genre. Curated by black futurist and filmmaker Celia C. Burns, the film collection includes 10 afro-futureist films from the United States, Nigeria, Martinique and Trinidad Tobago, two feature films and eight. Includes a short film.

Photo: All Arts

The films selected for the festival are very different in genre and media, and show the range of works that fall under the Afrofuturism movement. In an introductory video of the festival called “Afrofuturism 101” Burns describes the movement as “a platform for blacks to achieve their own liberation by exploring a self-determined future through many aspects of expression.” The film follows this treatise and shows both the near and distant future envisioned by an independent black filmmaker. The collection may seem disorganized at first glance, but all the films apply black gaze to science fiction, making it a unique piece that couldn’t find an audience other than the Afrofuturism movement. I am.

Movie Afrofuturism: Revisualization of Blackness We will talk about familiar stories in established genres. Uniqueness derives from the filmmaker’s point of view and the inclusion of cultural details that are still underestimated throughout science fiction.

As one editor says, including African diaspora culture enriches storytelling and suggests the future of science fiction as a whole. polygon In an interview. “In science fiction and fantasy, we’re used to dealing with metaphors. That’s what people really love. They love to see what they grew up with in remixes and rehashes. And new As soon as we add voice, culture, and new perspectives, people may find that what they’re tired of is original, “says Nivia Evans, editor of Orbit / Redhook.

The highlight of the festival is Battle Dream ChronicleA feature-length animated film by Alan Vidal, a writer and director from Martinique, Caribbean. The film was made in 2100 on a deadly polluted planet, and the world was colonized by the country of Mortemonde.The country uses a video game called Battle dream, To enslave what it defeated. Syanna Meridian, a young slave of Martinishan, has to play the game every day to cultivate XP for the leader of Mortemonde and offer 3000 XP a month or face death. One day, Synna discovered Firebird. Battle dream It is a weapon strong enough to destroy the empire, and you need to decide whether to stand up or use the weapon to buy her freedom.

Two black girls in red boots, gloves, bikini wings and halos hover in front of a blue stone wall and wield golden weapons in the Battle Dream Chronicle.

Battle Dream Chronicle
Image: All art

First-ever full-length animated film from Martinique, with French and English subtitles, Battle Dream Chronicle It’s a breathtaking animation wonder, and at the same time it’s real and digitized. The plot tells the story of conquest and revolution, a popular topic in science fiction, but also retains the history of Martinique, an island in the Caribbean Sea of ​​France and a former colony with a history of slave riots. In the movie, this power struggle is played through a video game where the colonists have special abilities and cheat codes to keep them winning. In-game weapons and abilities are inspired by multiple cultures, including Creole, Egyptian, and Greek mythology. Many characters have a realistic struggle to decide between obedience and revolution, taking into account the fate of family and friends.

The short film that launched the film festival, soulShows a more earthly and familiar vision of Afrofuturism. In the Malakai movie, a girl named Kai faces a deteriorating health condition for her grandmother Hatty, a cosmologist facing Alzheimer’s disease. The film uses both sunlight and starlight as a metaphor for the human psyche to show how Hatty’s transition to the afterlife and how it affects Kai and his mother, Cinea, played by Tabisa Brown. I am. He also presents a realistic and sympathetic portrayal of Alzheimer’s disease through Johan Beckles’ performance. This includes scenes interacting with Kai and Sinea, as well as self-recorded memorandums.

Another notable disadvantage is Sight, Director Janine Talbot. The film follows Naji Bloom, a woman living in a technologically advanced future in which humanity relies on the spirit for guidance in African folklore traditions. During the crisis, Bloom was announced as a new seer of her tribe, a candidate to become a leader in communicating with the spirit. She doesn’t believe in spirits or intangibles at first, but she has to come into contact with spirits and intangibles, decide whether to become a seer, and make sacrifices that indicate her degree of faith. .. The short story provides a good example of a successful, rapid world-building for good costume and set design, along with a story that acts as a neat parable about the sacrifices that faith requires.

A black man sits behind a control panel with multiple holographic light displays in the tomb

Photo: All Arts

The second feature film at the festival, TombIs an elegant story of space exploration and artificial intelligence by Trinidad director Nick Attin, depicting the 2025 multinational deep space mission. The film’s first act is slowly paced and focused on the logistics of a special AI Assistant test designed. For an expedition. When the trip begins, the film follows Commander Nelson Obatara. Nelson Obatara has to go off course to rescue fellow astronauts and friends. The low-budget film is taken over by a fascinating performance by Khan Samuel as Commander Obatara and Conrad Paris as MILO, a surprisingly human-like AI. The conversation between Obatara and MILO provides an interesting study of the immense potential of artificial intelligence.

Other films at the festival include alien exploration shorts Star thief, H. Director Leslie Foster II. AbandonedAlien invasion shorts featuring Emmy Award-winning Sterling K. Brown.And Hello rain, Directed by Nigerian director CJ “Fiery” Obasis, Neddy Okorafor’s short story “Hello Moto”. These films show the immeasurable abilities of the Afrofuturism movement and the black imagination, suggesting a wealth of films that have not been endorsed beyond the independent film market. Many of these great shorts wouldn’t have been available to the general public without this highly accessible online festival. Afrofuturism: Revisualization of Blackness The free festival not only depicts the future potential of the world and its technology, but could be talked about in the future if international filmmakers and POC filmmakers get more financial support. It also suggests some compelling story types.

All movies Afrofuturism: Revisualization of Blackness It will be available online for free until the end of 2021 while also broadcasting on the All Arts TV channel.