‘Blerd’ Alert: Cap City Black Film Fest Talks Marvel, Shows Foreign & Youth Films

Ever since its debut in 2013, the Capital City Black Film Festival has been offering Austinites unique perspectives on film, as well as African American culture.

Festival-goers should expect an involved experience where attendees and filmmakers mingle freely. The festival will also feature a number of feature-length movies, short films, and panels.

“The quality of the films has been increasing every year. I am so proud, especially of the the feature films. Many are from Texas and some are from Nigeria. I can’t point out one in particular, they all deserve recognition,” says festival founder Winston G. Williams.

The quality of the films has been increasing every year.

The festival is also doing its part to nurture a love of film in Black youth. The winners of the Black Media Council’s youth film festival will be announced during the festival. Their films and videos will be showcased, and a panel will be held about filmmaking for youth and young adults, as well.

“For people involved in film who want to have access to industry professionals, they will be right here in Austin,” Williams adds.

Capital City Black Film Festival Founder Winston G. Williams, right, leads a panel discussion during last year's festival. Photo by Amaz1n
Capital City Black Film Festival Founder Winston G. Williams, right, leads a panel discussion during last year’s festival. Photo by Amaz1n

From romantic comedies, like Confused By Love, to dramas that deal with real-world issues, like Institutionalized, the variety of films at the Capital City Black Film Festival helps fill the growing hunger in the Black community for better representation in the film industry. The festival will also feature a panel, Black (Panther) Power, about the upcoming Marvel superhero movie The Black Panther, which features a predominantly Black cast.

“It will be a great discussion on how this movie will impact the industry.” Winston explains. “This whole nerd ‘blerd’ [Black nerd] community is bigger than anyone knows. These are people who love Marvel comics. So, we will have a big conversation where we look at the industry objectively and look at how to build on it,” says Williams, who is a graduate of the University of Texas and Leadership Austin, a program that focuses on social issues and diversity, while developing and connecting community leaders.

In conceiving the Capital City Black Film Festival, Williams saw an opportunity in Austin to put both his university and community experience to use.

“My brother who was a filmmaker put me in front of a camera in 2013 and 14 for an independent film, and we traveled around the country and went to different film festivals,” Williams says. “I checked to see if Austin had one and it didn’t.”

“I have been in Austin for 35 years and many companies said they were not able to get Black talent because of cultural aspects, which was another big reason for the festival,” he adds.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now, and the festival begins on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m., with the opening night celebration at 7 p.m., The festival continues through Saturday, Aug. 27.

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