10th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival kicks off in Chicago Oct 13

Black Alphabet, a nonprofit committed to promoting equity awareness on behalf of the Black LGBTQ+ community through the use of media and the arts, announced the 10th Annual Black Alphabet Film Festival (BAFF) will take place from Oct 13 – 15, 2023 in Chicago with the theme ‘Soul & Spirit.’

One of the longest running Black LGBTQ/SGL film festivals in the world, this year’s event includes more than 15 free film screenings, filmmaker discussions, and a Uganda Freedom Celebration fundraiser featuring three films about the LGBTQ+ experience in Uganda, as well as Ugandan entertainment, food, and dancing.

Free film festival screenings run from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, at the Chatham Theater 210 W. 87th St.

Kokomo City, one of the films to be screened at the festival, is the feature directorial debut of two-time Grammy-nominated producer, singer, and songwriter D. Smith. The film showcases a raw depiction of the lives of four black trans sex workers as they confront the dichotomy between the black community and themselves.

On Sunday, October 15, the festival continues with a celebration to honor Uganda Americans who escaped persecution in their home country. The fundraiser and community event will take place at the ETA Creative Arts Foundation 7558 S. South Chicago Ave from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The full-day event includes three film screenings, live discussions, and storytelling about the LGBTQ+ experience in Uganda, the experience of seeking asylum, and the experience of living free from political and social persecution in America. Singer Julie Mutesaira is one of the many entertainers and Ugandan immigrants will join the celebration. Attendees will enjoy Ugandan food, music, and dancing, and are asked to wear red, gold, and black to the event or purchase an event fundraising t-shirt online. 

“In light of Uganda’s recent anti-LGBTQ laws, we are pleased to celebrate the heroic journeys of Ugandan asylum seekers who were forced to flee their own country because of who they love and now call our community home” said Adam McMath, Executive Director, Black Alphabet Film Festival. “The festival’s theme this year, Soul and Spirit, was selected to highlight the ongoing fight for equality in Uganda. We are also honored to recognize our 10th anniversary this year and welcome everyone to join us in celebration of ten years of highlighting the impactful work of members of the LGBTQ+ community in film.” 

The Black Alphabet Film Festival 2023 opens with a 10th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, October 13 (6 to 11 p.m.) at Momentum Coffee 2119 S. State St, featuring the sounds of CallMeJimme, KenChris and Storie Devereaux, as well as a special preview performance by Pearl Troupe Chicago. The opening reception is free and open to the public, and attendees are asked to RSVP online HERE

BAFF was created in 2013 to provide more opportunities for people to see images, hear stories, and relate to unique Black LGBTQ+ experiences absent from the mainstream media. The annual event provides a global platform for members of the SGL/LGBTQ+ community to showcase their films. This year’s festival is made possible by the generous support of event sponsors, which include the AIDS Health Foundation, VIIV, The National Endowment for the Arts, Miller Coors, The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

A full list of festival events and screenings can be found online HERE.

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