By Troy Carter, Jr.
for The New Orleans Tribune

The  Black Film Festival of New Orleans kicked off on Monday, March 13 and will continue through March 26. The best part? It’s completely free.

Founded in 2018 by Gian Smith, it is the only film festival in the city that caters to the Black audience and creates space for Black filmmakers to showcase their craft. There are 57 films in the festival, and 30 will be screened in person. For those who cannot attend in person, everything is accessible online via

Monday night’s film was Big Chief, Black Hawk, which was featured on PBS on Mardi Gras Day. Community films will be shown on Wednesday. On Friday and Saturday, audiences will be treated with works from out of town filmmakers. New Orleans filmmakers will showcase their films on Sunday.

All upcoming film screening and events will take place at 6 p.m. at the Andre Cailloux Center, 2541 Bayou Rd., except for those scheduled for today (March 15), taking place at 6 p.m. at Café Istanbul, 2732 St. Claude Ave.

This week will also offer audiences entertainment beyond the screen. To create that New Orleans festival feel, there will be live music happening at all of the events, with performaces by  Southern Sweet Heat, Yusa, Max Moran Trio, Waterseed and Jason Neville FunkySoul Band.

Tonight’s screening will also include comedy, hosted by Geneva Joy and featuring Tony Frederick, Shervy, Siamese, AJ, John Reynolds and DC Paul.

A poetry night, hosted by John James and Icon Artist, will take place at Thursday’s screening,  featuring A Scribe Called Quest, Justin Lamb, John Lacarbriere, Synamin Vixen, Naomi Chevelle and Supreme Poet.

“This year with the film festival, we’re trying to have a much broader festival approach,” says BFFNO founder Gian Smith. “We definitely want to capitalize on the fact that spring is festival season in New Orleans.”

Beginning March 20, six days of films shown exclusively online. Two days of filmmaker workshops will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 20 and March 23, at New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC), 4422 S. Carrollton Ave. 

To register or for more information go to

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