Please note that on Thursday, June 20, NMOA will open to the public from 12‑5pm as our staff participates in an appreciation and wellness event. Regular business hours will resume on Friday, June 21. Thank you for your understanding!

2023 Newark Black Film Festival

Danny Glover, Gloria Hopkins Buck | Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, August 2, 2000 

Reel Black Since 1974!

The Newark Black Film Festival, the longest-running Black film festival in the country, celebrates films that appreciate the historic significance of the Black experience in the United States. The Festival features late-night parties, live panel discussions, and exclusive screenings of films created in the last three years.

Since 1974, NBFF has presented the work of young, independent Black filmmakers, showcasing early films by the likes of Spike Lee, Ayoka Chenzira, Warrington Hudlin, Reginald Hudlin, Barry Jenkins, and Ava DuVernay. Past participants include luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Danny Glover, Pam Grier, Donald Bogle, Richard Wesley, Euzhan Palcy, and S. Epatha Merkerson.

2023 Paul Robeson Award Winners

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Executive Orderdirected by Lázaro Ramos. (103 min). Not rated

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We Were Meant To, directed by Tari Wariebi (28 min). Not rated

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Kokomo City, directed by D. Smith. (73 min). Not rated

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Burning Rubber, directed by Chris Fequiere (8 min). Not rated

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Ernest Dickerson, director of Juice

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We Were Meant To, directed by Tari Wariebi (28 min). Not rated

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Tuesday, July 11, 2023 ‑ Screening "They Cloned Tyrone" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Opening Reception | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Screening "Executive Order" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Screening "Executive Order" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Screening "Executive Order" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Screening "Executive Order" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Screening "Executive Order" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ‑ Screening "Executive Order" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Saturday, July 15, 2023 ‑ Screening "Juice" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Saturday, July 15, 2023 ‑ Screening "Juice" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Saturday, July 15, 2023 ‑ Screening "Juice" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Saturday, July 15, 2023 ‑ Screening "Juice" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Saturday, July 15, 2023 ‑ Screening "Juice" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Newark Black Film Festival ‑ Saturday, July 15, 2023 ‑ Screening "Juice" | Photo by Emmanuel Ogbonnaya

Screenings + Events

The 49th Newark Black Film Festival took place July 12-16, 2023.

Selection Committee

Monisha Bernard
Curatorial Assistant, The Newark Museum of Art

Reggie Blanding
Head of James Brown African American Room, Newark Public Library

Dale E. Colston, Esq.
Interim Assistant Director for Special Collections, Newark Public Library

Patricia Faison
NBFF Coordinator Emeritus

LeRoy Henderson
Visual Artist/Photographer/Arts Educator

LeRon Lee
Filmmaker 

Yvonne Michelle Shirley
Filmmaker, Director of Community Media Center at Express Newark

Ayana Stafford-Morris
Filmmaker

Richard Wesley
NBFF Chair/Associate Professor, NYU Tisch, Screenwriter

History

Since its introduction, the NBFF has provided a forum for writers, directors, producers, performers, and film patrons who enjoy African American and African Diaspora cinema. The goal of the Festival is to present programs that reflect the full diversity of the black experience both past and present, and encompass a wide range of forums and formulas from documentary to the avant-garde. Since its inception, NBFF has screened over 800 films to an audience of almost 180,000 adults and youth, including the work of young, independent, Black filmmakers, such as Spike Lee, Ayoka Chenzira, Warrington Hudlin, and Reginald Hudlin. Past participants include luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Danny Glover, Pam Grier, Donald Bogle, Richard Wesley, Euzhan Palcy, Ava DuVernay and S. Epatha Merkerson.

The NBFF started in 1974 with a touring black film festival that was put together by filmmaker Oliver Franklin who worked at the Annenberg Center for Communication, Art & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. The late Gus Henningburg, who was then the Executive Director of the Greater Newark Urban Coalition, learned about the festival and proposed it to The Newark Museum of Art.

In 1976 when the touring festival was no longer available, the Museum decided to produce the Newark Black Film Festival and established a selection committee, whose volunteer members represented important institutions in the community.

‘‘When we introduced the festival, few black filmmakers were successful in bringing their projects to the screen and those that made it, didn’t stay long,’’ said NBFF Chair Gloria Hopkins Buck, a charter member of the Festival. ‘’The founders were sensitive to the need for creative expression, and we did our best to make it happen. Challenges still exist but the quality of work and their artistic accomplishments on a global scale are changing the landscape.’’

‘’NBFF is a Festival unique for its longevity and the endearment in which it is held by patrons of more than a generation,’’ said Rutgers professor and historian Dr. Clement Price, also a charter member. ‘’ “It is also civic ritual that has witnessed the emergence of black film as a genre important to understanding multiple narratives about the human spirit.’’

Warrington Hudlin, President, Black Filmmaker Foundation said, ‘’The NBFF came into existence to fill the void left by movie theaters that were fleeing Newark and other inner cities throughout the United States. The real beneficiaries soon became the newly minted generation of young African American filmmakers who were graduating from film schools with films under their arms and looking for a place to screen them. And even today, if a filmmaker wants to put his or her film to a litmus test for authenticity, I say ‘screen it in Newark.’’’

Archive

The Newark Museum of Art's Newark Black Film Festival is made possible by

Columbia Bank

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey

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