The Denton Black Film Festival, which showcases cinematic storytelling that highlights the Black experience through film, music, dance, technology and the visual arts, is back for its eighth consecutive year.
Because of COVID, the DBFF will take place virtually starting Jan. 27 with showings thru Feb. 6, giving attendees the opportunity to experience the festival wherever they have Wi-Fi.
The event has built up an international following that brings attendees and filmmakers from around the world to North Texas to enjoy and experience hidden gems of Black cinema, spoken word and other arts. This year, the Denton Black Film Festival will tell numerous Black stories through 100 independent films that made it through a competitive selection process.
Festival directors Harry and Linda Eaddy describe themselves as film lovers, not filmmakers. They say it was important for them to provide a platform for new and undiscovered films that told Black stories and to showcase the Black filmmakers who created them.
The Denton Black Film Festival has seen rapid growth and interest among film lovers. Its debut in 2015 had over 800 attendees and the 2020 festival brought out almost 9,000 people. The organizers hardly stop planning after securing over 100 films to show.
“My belief is that we were looking at being a next-generation film festival," Harry Eaddy says. "We believe we are more of a multidisciplinary platform. We have art, music, film of course, spoken word, comedy, dance, original music contest and workshops as well.”
Another change to the event this year is that the the Denton Black Film Festival has added seminars and demonstrations focused on technology. Jeff Nelson, founder of Cinchapi Inc. and Blavity Inc., will be a keynote speaker. Blavity is a diversified digital media company that builds platforms to inform, entertain and engage communities of color. Harry Eaddy worked in the technology industry for over 30 years and says he regularly noticed a lack of Black tech professionals in the industry.
“We want to share Black culture and we want to build community.” – Linda Eaddy
“You do not really see a lot of technology that is demonstrated to our community,” he says. “So in my years, I rarely saw a person that looked like me. So the inspiration for us was to bring technology companies to the community to talk about their offerings so that people would really be aware of what technological advancements are out there."
Since this will be a virtual festival, DBFF will not have a tech expo like they had originally planned, but they will still have a number of virtual speaking sessions that will focus on topics such as trademarks and patents to show young creatives how to protect their products or inventions.
The Eaddys say they expect the tech experience from this year will transition into the tech expo that will be a part of the 2023 festival.
This year's film schedule will feature varied genres: drama, comedy, animation, documentaries, kids movies and sci-fi. Most of the submissions come from other states and countries, and Linda Eaddy says she often encourages North Texas students and adults to submit their films and art for an opportunity to have it shown or displayed at the festival. Some filmmakers who have showcased their films at the Denton Black Film Festival, she says, have gone on to get distribution deals with streamers Netflix and Amazon.
“We want to share Black culture, and we want to build community,” Linda Eaddy says. “We started out as an audience-led festival in terms of thinking what is it that people want to see, how we can connect and support filmmakers and get them an audience for their film.”
Tickets for the Denton Black Film Festival are available online at dentonbff.com.