Hi-ARTS, New York’s premier urban art incubator, will launch the inaugural Outdoor Film Festival on July 6. As part of the New York Festival, the three-day film event, which runs through July 8, is presented in partnership with 1809 Resident Watch at George Washington Houses with support from the Maysles Documentary Center.
The outdoor film festival consists of a series of interactive workshops and film screenings taking place in open spaces and nature in East Harlem. With a thematic focal point each day, the festival centers on intergenerational healing as it relates to Black and BIPOC communities living in Harlem and throughout New York City. The festival will take place at both the exterior gardens of George Washington Houses, a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing estate, and at Artspace in El Barrio, home of Hi-ARTS.
“The Outdoor Film Festival is not only an opportunity to showcase the incredible artists of Hi-ARTS, but also welcomes our audiences, artists and immediate neighbors into a shared space while centering the topics of healing and We are committed to providing experiences that reflect and engage our communities, especially in times of turmoil, trauma and uncertainty,” said Aaron L. McKinney, Executive Director of Hi-ARTS.
The outdoor film festival will kick off Wednesday, July 6 in the Pacific Caribbean Garden of the George Washington Homes (East 99th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) with Taking Root ‘n’ Talking Roots, and will include a series of two interactive workshops directed by Hakim Pitts, artist and associate producer of the award-winning BlackStar Film Festival documentary In Our Mothers’ Gardens starring Tarana Burke.
These small-group workshops, centered on community gardening and discussion, will involve Pitts leading participants through meditation and group discussion on individual and family histories with the goal of equipping participants with tools to foster intergenerational healing. . These small-group workshops run from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET and require registration at www.hi-artsnyc.org, with priority given to residents of George Washington Houses.
The festival continues Thursday, July 7 from 7-9:30 p.m. ET with The Gardens We Tend. The event will feature the sharing of two films in the making: GODSPEED: A Story from the Black Future by Celia C. Peters and I DIGRESS: The Intimate Insights of a Childhood Weirdo by Sauda Aziza Jackson and April Sweeney.
The evening includes two short films by former students of the Hi-ARTS residency: (construct)Clearing by Tanika I. Williams and What does PURPLE sound like? by Sydnie L. Mosley Dances (SLMDances). The Gardens We’re Trending will take place on the Community Circle Stage platform at George Washington Houses. Registration is encouraged, with priority given to residents of George Washington Houses.
An Afrofuturist sci-fi feature set in the near future, GODSPEED features a brilliant editor struggling with terrifying psychological symptoms, who refuses to believe the revelation that she’s not human – and that the only cure that will save her is in another world.
I DIGRESS: The Intimate Insights of a Childhood Weirdo is a four-episode transmedia performance memoir exploring the weight of legacy and the remembrance of memories and material things once lost in time. The film weaves together 15 personal stories from Jackson’s childhood with the media and memories that defined his past.
(Building) Clearing is a meditation on silent care, intention, intergenerational movement and work. The film seeks to understand how we carry and repeat family patterns of silence and separation. The work speaks to the experience of migration – moving from country to country, across countries, across cities – and seeks to present the pain around the unspoken suffering experienced when separated from one another. a carer and his charge.
What does PURPLE look like? captures the radical joy of one place – New York’s public housing communities – through the stories of residents spanning decades to uncover strategies for resilience, amplify cultural traditions, and shift public discourse and politics.
Williams and SLMDances are alumni of Hi-ARTS CRITICAL BREAKS and SKY LAB. The CRITICAL BREAKS residency offers an intensive development process, a rehearsal space and a public offering (performance, experience or exhibition) of their choice to artists in a pivotal phase of creating new work. The SKY LAB is a program that supports socially engaged artists who center the community in the development and research of their work, including practitioners who create outside of the studio or traditional theater.
The festival will end on Friday, July 8 with a screening of In Our Mothers’ Gardens on the lawn of Artspace PS109 in El Barrio. Movie Night Under the Stars at Hi-ARTS will begin at 7 p.m. with a community circle and pre-screening discussion around themes from the film In Our Mothers’ Gardens. The critically acclaimed new documentary features black women around the world as they uncover their mothers’ stories to redefine holistic lives grounded in radical self-care and healing.
The move to the movies is an extension of the mission of the East Harlem-based non-profit organization, which has held the Hip-Hop Theater Festival since 2000 in cities across the United States, including Washington DC, where it is still product.