Hayti Heritage Film Festival

Thursday, Feb. 13–Saturday, Feb. 15, $10–$75 

Hayti Heritage Center, Durham 

In its 26th year, Durham’s Southern-focused celebration of Black filmmakers will honor the late director John Singleton with a screening of his radical film Higher Learning.

But there’s also everything from cutting-edge documentaries and fictional shorts to workshops with award-winning actor, producer, and director Obba Babatundé. Here are four screenings and events at this week’s Hayti Heritage Film Festival that we definitely don’t want to miss.

“Identity Doc Shorts” block | Thursday, Feb. 13, 1:30 p.m. 

Wish Ahed, the directorial debut of Durham activists Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt and Desmera Gatewood, documents their journey to Palestine to speak with people affected by the Israeli occupation, adding to the discourse on Black-Palestinian solidarity with hip-hop music by Joshua Gunn. This block also includes Translucent, in which Azzan Quick uses compelling conceptual scenes and verité footage to explore their transitioning identity in the context of their family. 

“Experimental/Afrofuturistic” block Friday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m.

This block includes The Girl and Her Electric Sheep, a revolutionary narrative set in the distant future about a woman who discovers her purpose in protecting Earth, and Bonne Mort, an experimental short co-created by Jade Wilson and Omisade Burney-Scott. It brings to life a challenging story of love, intimacy, and death by documenting Burney-Scott’s journey as a death doula. [Disclosure: Wilson is the INDY’s staff photographer.]

Obba Babatundé’s Acting Master Class Saturday, Feb. 15, 9:30 a.m. 

With a career spanning four decades and dozens of stage productions, TV shows, and films, the multi-talented Obba Babatundé currently plays the role of Shemar Moore’s father on the hit CBS show S.W.A.T. Babatundé will lead an acting master class with filmmaker Mike Rae Anderson. 

Mossville: When Great Trees Fall Saturday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m.

In his award-winning 2019 documentary, director Alexander John Glustrom critically examines how industrial pollution destroyed a historic Black town in Louisiana. The film, which screened at Full Frame last year, has received national acclaim for its exposure of environmental racism and its severe costs for factory-adjacent “fenceline communities.”

“Mossville: When Great Trees Fall” – 2019 Trailer from Fire River Films on Vimeo.