The 2022 Harlem International Film Festival Announces Line-Up For 17th Edition

The 2022 Harlem International Film Festival announced official selections for its 17th edition — a hybrid event taking place May 5–15. The film festival will open with a gala presentation of three films making world premieres at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Malcolm X Blvd.). The films include Jamal Joseph’s A Gorgeous Mosaic, Ano Okero’s An American Street Mural in Harlem, and Myra Lewis’ Love is in the Legend
The red carpet in-person event is the first of three days of in-person screenings at the New York Public Library, followed by Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute (3227 Broadway) on Friday, May 6, and the AMC Magic Johnson Harlem 9 Theaters (2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd) on Saturday, May 7. This year’s film lineup once again celebrates and showcases relatively undiscovered international cinematic gems and local New York filmmaking talent. Hi’s lineup features 60 films (33 features, 27 shorts and music videos), and 5 webisodes. Other feature films making their world premieres are Julianne Fox’s Never Better, and Elias Matar’s What is Buried Must Remain
Harlem International Film Festival’s Program Director, Nasri Zacharia, said. “We are excited to once again have screenings at the New York Public Library and Columbia University, which both hold wonderful memories for this film festival. At the same time, we look forward to sharing so many wonderful films virtually to introduce our audiences throughout the state of New York to films from around the world. And, of course, we’ll continue our efforts to truly showcase the filmmakers and the setting of our beloved home neighborhoods of Harlem, Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, which we call the HUB.” 
Opening on Thursday, May 5 at the New York Public Library, the Harlem International Film Festival will be a trio of films making their world premieres, including Jamal Joseph’s A Gorgeous Mosaic, which looks at former NYC mayor David Dinkins, the first African American to hold that post, and Ano Okera’s. An American Street Mural in Harlem, which focuses on a group of women from Harlem who organized the community to create a Black Lives Matter street mural. in Myra Lewis’ Love is in the Legend explores the communities of NYC’s Paradise Garage, the Harlem Ball scene, and the House of Patricia Field. The House of Field Ball in September 1988 stands as the historic event to bring together the worlds of Seventh Avenue fashion, downtown club culture, and the Harlem Houses. Known as “the Ball that changed it all,” the film highlights the artistry that introduced voguing and Harlem Ball culture to the world, paying homage to those who paved the way.

Friday, May 6 the film festival screens at Columbia University with three featured films. Philip Knowlton’s Clarisatells the story of Clarisa Alayeto, a community activist from the Mott Haven section of the Bronx who set out on a personal mission to improve health care for people in the Bronx. Staying with the health and health care theme, Camille Bradshaw’s Let’s Talk Mental Health in Color is a compilation of episodes from a documentary series of the same name about the effects of socio-political and economic policies, unaddressed and misdiagnosed childhood mental health disruptions in young people of color. Then to end things on an uplifting note, Aminah Salaam’s Swimming Against the Current shines a light on the seniors of the “Harlem Honeys and Bears” Synchronized Swim Team.

Blurring the Color Line: Chinese in the Segregated South

For the third day of in-person screenings, the Harlem International Film Festival returns to the AMC Magic Johnson Harem 9 Theaters. Two features are highlighted, including Crystal Lee Kwok’s Blurring the Color Line: Chinese in the Segregated South, in which Kwok digs into her Grandmother’s past growing up Chinese in Augusta, Georgia’s Black neighborhood during Jim Crow. Cat Brewer’s Sign the Show brings together entertainers, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH) community, and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to discuss accessibility for all at live performances. The Saturday screenings will also include two select shorts programs.
Two films making their world premieres as part of Hi’s virtual offerings are Julianne Fox’s dramedy Never Better about a recent college grad with Cystic Fibrosis living through the pandemic summer of 2020, and Elias Matar’s supernatural drama What is Buried Must Remain. The film follows three young filmmakers who are confronted by angry spirits as they attempt to make a documentary about a French industrialist, accused of murdering his family.
For Film festival passes, tickets, and more information on the Harlem International Film Festival go to

Tammy Reese

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