2nd Black American Film Festival at the Carroll Arts Center

2nd Black American Film Festival at the Carroll Arts Center

Free film festival celebrating Black voices and stories



August 30, 2023

Arts Center Contact: 

Rosalyn Thackston, Marketing Coordinator



Festival Contact:

Dr. Erin Watley, Associate Professor at McDaniel College



2nd Black American Film Festival at the Carroll Arts Center

Free film festival celebrating Black voices and stories


The Carroll County Arts Council is excited to present the second Black American Film Festival this fall at the Carroll Arts Center. This free festival is a celebration of Black storytelling with a special focus on stories that provide a dynamic perspective of Black experiences. Curated and hosted by Dr. Erin Watley, Associate Professor in McDaniel College’s Communication & Cinema Department, these four films highlight Black liberation, LGBTQIA+ history, fame, pop culture, and much more. The films will be screened on Thursdays at 7:30pm from September 28 – October 19.


The film schedule is as follows:


Thursday, September 28

“The Woman King”

2022; 2 h 15 m; PG-13 for strong violence, some disturbing material, thematic content, brief language, and partial nudity

This films tells the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life.


Thursday, October 5

“Dark City Beneath the Beat

2020; 1 hr 5 m; NR

A rhythmic and raw documentary, this film defines the soundscape of Baltimore city highlighting local club artists, DJs, dancers, and producers as they are realizing their dreams of globalizing this musical genre. Inspired by an original Baltimore club music soundtrack, the film showcases Baltimore club music as a positive subculture in a city rising above social and economic turmoil to develop a vibrant and close-knit community for the arts through its homegrown sound, Baltimore club music.


Thursday, October 12

“The Watermelon Woman”

1996; 1 h 30 m; NR (language, nudity, and mature thematic material)

Cheryl (Cheryl Dunye) is a video-store clerk and aspiring director whose interest in forgotten Black actresses leads her to investigate an obscure 1930s performer known as the Watermelon Woman, whose story proves to have surprising resonances with Cheryl’s own life as she navigates a new relationship with a white girlfriend.


Thursday, October 19


2022; 2 h 10 m; R for some violence/bloody images and language

Following their father’s shocking death, Hollywood animal wrangler OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) begin observing unexplained phenomena on their vast Southern California ranch that leads them down an obsessive rabbit hole as they plot attempts to capture the mystery on camera. Along with a former child star turned family theme park ringmaster (Steven Yeun) who neighbors the siblings, the pair’s efforts to chase the spectacle soon bring terrifying consequences and unimaginable horror.


Each film features a brief introduction to provide context and a post-screening facilitated discussion with Associate Professor of Communication at McDaniel College, Dr. Erin Watley. Dr. Watley’s teaching and research interests are focused on ways to practice everyday skills that can reduce oppressive systems (racism, sexism, transphobia, classism, fatphobia, etc). Facilitating intercultural dialogue, encouraging difficult conversations, teaching media literacy, and analyzing Black American popular culture are her specialty. "I am very excited to welcome everyone back to this film festival! I hope that it only continues to grow in its second year.” says Watley. “Once again, every screening will be a unique opportunity to learn from both the film and one another. Come join us in this exploration of the modern Black American renaissance and its contributions to our shared community!"


The festival is sponsored by Acts Fairhaven. Admission is free with no tickets required. Get the festival schedule and more information online at CarrollCountyArtsCouncil.org or call the Box Office at 410-848-7272. The Carroll Arts Center is in downtown Westminster, MD at 91 W. Main Street.


"The Woman King"; “Nope”


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