New film festival featuring the work of Black Detroiters set to launch at Ella Fitzgerald Park

What’s happening: A new film festival featuring the work of two Detroit-based directors is scheduled to take place this Saturday, July 16, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Ella Fitzgerald Park. Noir Cinema Film Festival will show the short films of Zachary Cunningham and Danielle Eliska, as well as select shorts that the directors have curated, and include a Q&A session with the directors. The festival is free and open to the public, and it’s encouraged that festival-goers bring picnic blankets or lawn chairs to sit comfortably in the park.

What it is: Noir Cinema Film Festival is organized by Asia Hamilton, founder and executive director of the Norwest Gallery of Art in Grandmont Rosedale. The festival is “dedicated to recognizing Black talent and showcasing quality films by and about people of African descent,” as the event description reads, and is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) and the School of Architecture & Community Development (SACD) at University of Detroit Mercy, as well as the Live6 Alliance, join Norwest Gallery of Art as partners in producing the event.

[Read “Why Grandmont Rosedale’s stretch of Grand River is a favorite destination for city’s entrepreneurs” as part of our Street View series on Detroit’s commercial corridors.]

Why it’s important: “It’s important to celebrate our local filmmakers, period,” Asia Hamilton says. “We’re so used to mainstream movies that we forget that there are other people out here trying to do it, too. So it’s important to tap into what our local filmmakers are making — and especially Black filmmakers. It’s already a small group of people making films here, and it’s an especially smaller group of people of color doing it.”

[Read “Remix the Six: Signs of a reinvigorated West McNichols (Six Mile) starting to show” as part of our Street View series on Detroit’s commercial corridors.]

The filmmakers: Hamilton discovered Zachary Cunningham while they were both presenting at an event and was immediately struck by his work, she says. “I saw his reel and knew that I wanted to do something with him.”

Danielle Eliska is a participant of Hamilton’s Womxnhouse Detroit residency program, an inclusive artists residency created to support BIPOC women and non-binary artists and curators. “I wanted to provide her the opportunity to show her films,” Hamilton says. “But she’s also a dope filmmaker.”

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.