Afrikana Film Festival was launched in 2015 with the goal of showcasing cinematic works of people of color from around the world. The festival is the brainchild of Enjoli Moon, who felt that representation was a need in the film industry.

“We are a festival dedicated to showcasing global black narratives,” she told Travel Noire during an interview. “We want to elevate, celebrate, and further validate black stories, black voices, and black lives.”

Moon added that Afrikana is more than people hopping around from film-to-film.  

“We like to use cinema as a catalyst for conversation,” she said. “None of our film events happen in a silo or vacuum where you watch the film and then you walk out of the room. We always create space for our audience as well as people from the film to engage with one another, and hopefully walk out with a broadened perspective on life and on characters and on people.”

Afrikana Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Enjoli Moon

And while the festival brings together communities to uncover Black and brown stories told through the lens of filmmakers from around the world, Moon said the festival is for everyone.

“What we know to be true about mainstream media is that we get a very limited scope of black-lived experience within the US and abroad. What film festivals allow you to do and what we work really hard to do at Afrikana is to give a broadened sense of what day to day life is like for different people. Through that, the sense of humanity is heightened, there’s a level of connection and a level of empathy.”

How The Film Festival Is Planning Around COVID-19

The coronavirus health crisis has Moon thinking of alternatives for this year’s festival, which will take place on Sept. 17th through Sept. 20th.

“Whether it be some sort of hybrid between in-person or and virtual, it ends up looking like we really hope that we can stick that weekend.”

In the meantime, the organizers have set up a fundraiser where people can donate to support its initiatives during the health crisis and are connecting with film-enthusiasts through its Movies & Mimosas: A Virtual Family Brunch event.

The next Movies & Mimosas event will take place on May 17. Tickets are free, but RSVP is mandatory through Instagram or Facebook.