Black Folks Make Movies™ (BFMM) is committed to the celebration, appreciation, and examination of Black film and Black film history through images portrayed in motion pictures via education, the promotion of past & current independent filmmakers of color and the preservation of contributions by Black and other artists of color. Through this prism of Black movie history we examine the emergence and impact of Black Americans, the creative reaction to widespread racism during the first half of the 20th century, and the vitality of Black entertainment and culture across the country inclusive of this period and beyond. By revealing the powerful relationship between popular art and ethnic attitudes, BFMM chronicles the creation and expansion of alternative Black representation in the mass media.

The following Programs reflect this commitment.



Black American Cinema (BAC)™, is a showcase of seldom seen Black American made, starring or directed by, classic features and new films from across the country. A monthly focus on classic Black American Cinema traditionally absent from the American film lexicon, BAC™ presents African American films that bring stories with compelling content and a human dimension seldom presented in mainstream cinema. Discussions follow all screenings and are moderated by BFMM Executive Director, Pamela Thomas and/or local scholars, screenwriters and directors.

Such rarely seen films include: Oscar Micheaux's, Within Our Gates considered by many as the answer film to Birth of A Nation - from the Black perspective; Harry Belafonte’s, The World, The Flesh and The Devil; Sidney Poitier’s, No Way Out; Anna Lucasta, featuring Eartha Kitt and Sammy Davis Jr; Amiri Baraka's, Dutchman, featuring Al Freeman, Jr. and many more.

Begun in October 2015, screenings occur monthly in the Meeting Room at both the Clifton Library & St. Bernard Library Branches. Check both branch websites for schedule as well as the BFMM website. *Noted documentary series, HIDDEN COLORS will also screen weekly on Sundays from 1:30-4:30PM exclusively at the Clifton Branch during the month of February, Black History Month.

BAC screenings ended at the end of October resuming under an enhanced format in January, 2017. Check our website for updates.


Over 5 days, each MASTER CLASS segment affords participants the opportunity to view select samples of Black American cinematic history, placing these films and filmmakers in the proper context. By so doing, a greater appreciation of early Black American film is gleaned clarifying the linear, historical perspective critical to the understanding and celebration of this time period of African American cinema. The MASTER CLASS is available collectively as a Visiting Scholar package over a 5 week time frame or the individual five day package.

RACE MOVIE INTENSIVE (The Way We Were): An extension of The FOUNDATION Presentation. A five day mini-race movie film festival, we view and discuss films from the race movie time period: films by Oscar Micheaux, Herb Jeffries, Spencer Williams, and others. Participants will see classics such as Micheaux's, Within Our Gates, considered by many as the answer film to D.W. Griffith's, Birth of A Nation - from the Black perspective.

• THE MONEY MACHINE 1951-1960: This period intensive focuses on the impact of Hollywood – when Hollywood smelled money on the Black screen. Films include, Harry Belafonte’s, The World The Flesh & The Devil, Sidney Poitier, No Way Out, & others.

• BLAXPLOITATION 1961-1970 An analysis of so called Blaxploitation films – was the term ‘Blaxploitation’ a misnomer or not? Films include Melvin Van Peebles classic, Sweet Sweetback’s Badass Song, and of course, Superfly, etc.

• METAMORPH 1971-1990 More Hollywood dominance, Car Wash, Mahogany, Glory, Driving Miss Daisey vs Killer of Sheep, She’s Gotta Have It, Do The Right Thing, and more.

• THE WAY WE ARE-RACE MOVIES REDEUX or CONTEMPORARY BLACK AMERICAN FILM 1991-2000. Screenings & discussions focus on the pendulum swing back to more independent Afro-centric film. Viewings include: Boyz “N the Hood, Daughter’s of the Dust, Hoop Dreams, etc.

• WHO/WHAT WE’VE BECOME – 2001-PRESENT. Screenings: Hotel Rwanda, Training Day, Ray, Django, Pursuit of Happyness, 12 Years A Slave, etc.



African Americans have a rich, deep history in cinema. From filmmaking's inception to the present, we have created, established and nurtured our own unique story through film. The most prolific and life-changing period was 1910 through 1950 - a 40 year time frame that saw the rise and influence of race movies, films made primarily by, for, and about the Black Community from 1910-1950. These films focused on Black American issues, culture, and life – the FOUNDATION of Black American Cinema.

THE FOUNDATION celebrates this history and heritage through the Presentation featuring Pamela A. Thomas, filmmaker, producer and driving force behind award winning, PBS documentary, MIDNIGHT RAMBLE: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies. The BFMM Presentation includes: MIDNIGHT RAMBLE screening; Race Movies discussion; Impact of Black American Cinema on American history; the Black American Image – creation, control, distribution, etc.

Several Options are available for booking the FOUNDATION: the most popular is the 2 day event including the Presentation with a screening the following day of a major race movie, Micheaux's BODY & SOUL or WITHIN OUR GATES. Option two is a FaceTime discussion following an earlier in-class screening of MIDNIGHT RAMBLE. Either way audiences consistently come away energized with a new appreciation of the significant contributions made by Black Americans in the film industry.




FADE2BLACK Film Festival
CELEBRATING Black American Cinema 1910 - PRESENT
October 11-13, 2018

Memorial Hall (Festival Opening), UC's DAAP Auditorium, XAVIER UNIVERSITY Kennedy Auditorium, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, the ESQUIRE Theater (Clifton), the MINI Microcinema (OTR)

For further information about these and other programs, contact Pam Thomas, BFMM: 513.486.5678, email:
Thank You.