African American Film Festival at the Kravis Center

The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach will host a weekend-long showcase of films exploring the ideas of beauty during the Eighteenth Annual African American Film Festival: Inventing Beauty. Curated by author and film scholar Dr. Terri Francis and moderated by nationally renowned filmmakers and local community leaders, the event will take place February 15-18 in the Rinker Playhouse.

Francis and her guests will take audiences on a cinematic journey through the social, historical, and personal dynamics of how society learns and questions what and who they find beautiful through the lenses of ground-breaking and gorgeous African American films. The films in Inventing Beauty invite reflection on notions of beauty.

The festival lineup includes:

A still from Black Barbie 1
A still from Black Barbie: A Documentary

Black Barbie: A Documentary (2023)

February 15, 7 p.m.

Moderated by director Lagueria Davis, researcher Imani Warren, and Francis, this revelatory film focuses on the little-known history of the African American designers at Mattel who imagined and created the iconic Black Barbie doll. The evening includes opening reception with refreshments. Tickets start at $25.

Losing Ground (1982) and An Ecstatic Experience (2015)

February 16, 7 p.m.

Moderated by artist Ja’Tovia Gary and Francis, Kathleen Collins’ feature film focuses on the tensions between freedom and fidelity, and abstraction and representation. In her experimental short film, An Ecstatic Experience, Gary explores themes of beauty, resistance, and freedom. Tickets start at $15.

Bright Road (1953) and Seventh Grade (2014)

February 17, 2 p.m.

Moderated by director Stefani Saintonge, professor Tiffany Gilbert, and Francis the charming adaptation of Bright Road stars Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte as a caring teacher and a thoughtful school principal who mentor a troubled but gifted student. Stefanie Saintonge’s short film about friendship in the tumultuous tween years, Seventh Grade, follows. Tickets start at $15.

Island in the Sun (1957)

February 17, 7 p.m.

Moderated by Gilbert and Francis, the film stars James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, and Joan Collins and explores the politics of beauty, family, and interracial relationships in a Caribbean society. Tickets start at $15.

Ruby Bridges (1998)

February 18, 2 p.m.

French director Euzahn Palcy’s docu-drama presents the heroic and beautiful portrayal of a little girl’s courage as an instrument of historical transformation in American society. Tickets start at $15.

A still from When Angels Speak of Love
A still from When Angels Speak of Love

Daughters of the Dust (1991) and When Angels Speak of Love (2021)

February 18, 6:30 p.m.

Moderated by filmmaker and community organizer Helen Peña, filmmaker Julie Dash, and
Francis, Daughters of the Dust portrays the conflict of tradition and change for a close-knit Gullah family on the cusp of migration north and is credited with inspiring some of the beautiful imagery in Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Peña’s poignant portrait of a grieving woman, When Angels Speak of Love, evokes mythical mermaids and political realities. Tickets start at $15.

Tickets for Black Barbie are $25 and include the film festival’s opening night reception. Tickets for the remaining films are $15, or $70 for the entire series, and can be purchased online at kravis.org or by calling (561) 832-7469 or (800) 572-8471.

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