Dentonite's Guide to the 2019 Denton Black Film Festival

The Denton Black Film Festival is back this year for its fifth run. From Jan. 23-27, the festival will showcase Black cinema, spoken word, music, social justice panels and more. Proceeds from the annual festival fund scholarships for African-American students in Denton through the the Denton African-American Scholarship Foundation.

Among the highlights of the festival, there will be 63 film screenings that cover racial identity, mental health, implicit bias, human trafficking and other topics, two art exhibitions, two live music events, comedy and more.

Linda Eaddy is director of film submissions for the festival and said that the film selection process includes a diverse team of people within and outside of the film industry. Each year, these people take into consideration whether potential films relate to any special themes the festival will cover.

“In the interest of inclusion and diversity in telling “our” stories, we want to celebrate and encourage women and especially women of color to be a part of the filmmaking industry - in front and especially behind the camera,” Eaddy said. “While we present a ‘Black’ film festival, it is an inclusive festival meant for everyone. It is a chance to celebrate and highlight the ‘Black Experience,’ which is varied and diverse within itself.”

Frederick Nichelson, director of music, says he’s excited for this year’s expanded music offerings.

“Year five at DBFF is full of growth and excitement,” Nichelson said. “We are primarily a film festival but have upped our music offerings each year. We try and use as many local artists as possible. Artists can contact us through the website at”

Nichelson shared an interesting tidbit about the festival, saying the open mic and poetry slam night is one of their best kept secrets.

“This event has been a winner since year two and has grown every year,” he said. “We bring out world-class poets who compete for cash prizes. We still have some open spots for this year’s competition.”

Visit the DBFF website for more information and check out the highlights of the festival below.


Thursday Jan. 24 - 6:30 and 7 p.m. - Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Imitation of Life directed by Douglas Sirk - Legendary actress Juanita Moore will be highlighted for her nomination for Best Supporting Actress by the Academy Awards for her role. The movie, which dealt with issues of race and class, also featured such female greats as Mahalia Jackson, Lana Turner, Sandra Dee and Susan Kohner. Whether you’ve seen the movie a hundred times or whether this will be the first time for you, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see this piece on the big screen.

Friday Jan. 25 - 8 p.m. - Campus Theater

16 Bars directed by Sam Bathrick - 16 Bars is a feature length music documentary that offers a rare glimpse at the human stories — and songs — that are locked away in our nation’s jails and prisons. The film follows a unique rehabilitation effort in a Virginia jail that invites inmates to write and record original music. In the jail’s makeshift recording studio, four men collaborate on an album with a Grammy-winning recording artist, Todd “Speech” Thomas, from the iconic activist hip-hop group Arrested Development.

Saturday Jan. 26 - 1 p.m. - Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

1 Angry Black Man directed by Menelek Lumumba - Mike Anderson is a senior at the quintessential New-England liberal arts school, Frost College. And Mike is eight weeks away from graduation. On this particular day he has his African-American Literature class with his favorite professor. But today, Mike is feeling sadness. He’s feeling isolated. He’s feeling Angry. Taking place in real time, “1 Angry Black Man,” provides a voyeuristic view of the difficult conversations young people engage in. As they navigate the society in which they live, the students draw from the intellect of master writers such as James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson and Ta-Nehisi Coates.


Friday, Jan. 25 - 9 p.m. - Patterson-Appleton Arts Center

Poetry Slam Contest - Professionals in the biz show off their poetry prowess — giving you the chance to hear from some of the greatest spoken voices in our community. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. It costs $25 to enter the competition; the first place prize is $500 and the second place prize is $250.

Saturday Jan. 26 - 9 p.m. - Dan’s Silver Leaf

“A Smooth Groove Jam” with Fingerprints - Music Jam with Fingerprints and Friends! Join the Denton Black Film Festival for a special Saturday-night jam session. Hear live music from the Fingerprints featuring Shelley Carrol, Brad Leali, and Ardina Lockhart, along with special guest DJ Frances Jaye from Neo Soul Cafe.

Sunday Jan. 27 - 6 p.m. - UNT Murchison Performing Arts Center

An evening with Kirk Whalum, with special guest the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band - See Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum in a unique concert with the acclaimed University of North Texas’ One O’Clock Lab Band. This unique performance featuring jazz greats will be the closing event for the 2019 festival.


Friday, Jan. 25 - 1-2 p.m. - UNT on the Square

Mental Health Panel - Join in this community discussion of mental health in the Black community as they highlight Director James Curry’s film, Masterjam.

Saturday, Jan 26 - 1:30-3:15 p.m. - Black Box Performing Arts Center

Human Trafficking Panel - In conjunction with the film, The Broken Rose, screenwriters Tyrone Dangerfield, and William Uschold, and community guest, Chong Kim, will lead a conversation on the prevailing injustice of human trafficking in the nation Saturday.

Saturday, Jan. 26 - 5-8 p.m. - Patterson-Appleton Arts Center

Women, Wine and Wisdom Panel - Come join in an inclusive discussion on the role of the female creative in the film industry. Following a cocktail hour, Amy Adrion, Director of the film “Half the Picture,” will be joining a panel discussion with fellow female industry professionals on the evolving filmmaking landscape for female leadership. Free and open to the community, but must RSVP.

Header image courtesy of Denton Black Film Festival.

Header design by Kylie Phillips.