“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” -Audre Lorde
One of the objectives of the festival is to promote and present outstanding film by and/or featuring Black women, regardless of country of origin. The festival started as a grassroots festival, however, the mission and brand of the festival have outgrown and surpassed all expectations. This is in part because of the outstanding programming and non-stereotypical films. The festival has remained focused on shattering stereotypes of Black women in film and re-framing the cinematic eye to expect more in how Black women are portrayed.
Call for Films
When the festival is planning a series of screenings, the festival, or a contest, a “Call for Films” is released to the online and offline media, through the festival’s e-newsletter, and through other means like mailings, postcards, etc. The “Call for Films” process is only used for the review process. Films are not reviewed until the day after the deadline of the “Call for Films,” so please make sure that your film is view-able or burned to a disc that is playable in any Region 1 DVD player or NTSC Blu-Ray or U.S.A.-based Blu-Ray player.
Sign-up for the festival’s e-newsletter for announcements for “Calls for Film”!
The festival has year-round programs outside of the “official” festival season.
ASTRONOMMO is a smaller festival devoted to speculative fiction that is directed by or features a Black woman character. Calls for film are sent out for ASTRONOMMO. ASTRONOMMO is currently a one-day festival which may expand. There is no film submission fee.
THE BLACK LAUREL FILM SERIES
The Black Laurel Film Series is curated and there is no call for films. Films are negotiated through distributors and meet the festival’s same requirements, i.e., be directed by and/or featuring a Black female character –regardless of country of origin. the BLFS screens films every four months. Public Performance Rights are negotiated directly with the distribution company, not the filmmaker.
THE BLACK LAUREL FILM FUND
The festival will be sponsoring a new paradigm in filmmaking support: The Black Laurel Film Fund. After more than 15 years of presenting and producing film festivals, the festival’s founder and programmer Adrienne M. Anderson created the Black Laurel Film Fund to provide selected filmmakers with assistance in marketing their films to additional film festivals. The fund does not directly provide funding to filmmakers or distributors, but provides a comprehensive packet for submission to film festivals, including paying for submission fees and DVD duplication.
Through a monitored process, filmmakers are hand-selected by the fund. The filmmaker receives exposure to the festival’s audience and collaborators, an opportunity to engage with potential funders, a one-year distribution deal (through the fund), audience screenings, fundraisers, a premiere or special screening through the festival, etc.
The fund has a pre-branded film festival template for marketing materials to which the filmmaker agrees.Payments are made directly to other festivals and no money is exchanged between the fund and the filmmaker. The fund is meant to alleviate a large part of the filmmakers budget: Marketing and Advertising.
If a filmmaker does not receive a distribution deal 90 days after the last submission to a film festival, then they have the option to have their film made available for distribution in U.S. territories, available for download on multiple streaming services like iTunes, Amazon, etc., and/or online streaming via The Laurel Channel. The filmmaker receives 55% of download profits. 45% of profits go directly back into the fund.
The festival does not accept unsolicited requests to participate in the fund. Announcements are sent out.
Black Laurel Distribution (“BLD”) offers a non-exclusive distribution opportunity to emerging and established filmmakers with feature length films that are less than 2 years old (that is, the film must be completed in the current or the last year).
BLD also own BLD Classics, distribution of classic films featuring Black women.
- Film must be feature length (50 minutes or longer)
- Filmmaker must own the rights to the film
- The film cannot be under another distribution agreement/deal
- The film must have been completed within the last two years, that is, in the current or last year
- Filmmaker must be able to provide their film in digital format for conversion to Blu-ray, DVD, and/or online streaming
- Filmmaker must be able to provide a professional two-minute movie trailer
- Filmmaker must be able to provide hi-resolution images from film for marketing purposes and a comprehensive list of actors and crew
As with the Black Laurel Film Fund, the BLD has its own marketing templates, staff, and distribution mailing list.
The festival often collaborates and partners with other film groups and film organizations to present theatrical screenings or to host a special or sneak preview screening of an upcoming film. The festival has partnered with FRAMELINE, AfroSurreal, Strand Releasing, Monterey Media and others to bring audiences new and exciting films from the U.S. and around the world.
Special screenings are negotiated with filmmakers directly and with distributors.
Visit the FAQs page first. If your question isn’t answered there, then please feel free to submit your inquiry below.