Annenberg Center

Film Series

Sisters with Transistors photo, 20/21 Digital Season: Film

With a long history of presenting film starting in the 1970s, we are returning this important art form to our season line-up to broaden our inclusive arts programming while also supporting independent film on campus and in Philadelphia. As part of this initiative, Maori Karmael Holmes, Artistic Director and CEO of BlackStar Film Festival, has been appointed Curator-at-Large for Film. Holmes worked with Christopher Gruits, our Executive & Artistic Director, to develop a series of films that will complement and amplify our season programming across all disciplines. She will also develop ancillary activities such as lectures and discussions, creating opportunities for students to engage with filmmakers and others working in the film industry.

For spring 2021, the film series kicks off in March with KINOWATT, a micro-festival exploring the connections between music, technology and culture. Over three days, a trilogy of screenings will feature electronic music’s female pioneers, the tiny recording studio and immigrant family who forged the reggae sound and how Baltimore’s budding creative community is using club music to re-write the city’s troubled narrative. In April, the series will shift to look at an assortment of captivating films created by Pew fellows, representing some of the most talented filmmakers in the country. And in May, the series concludes by spotlighting the culture and heritage of Puerto Rico through a collaboration with guest curator Marangeli Mejia Rabell, Co-Founder/Partner of AFROTAINO and Director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival. Specific films for May as well as several ancillary activities, such as discussions with filmmakers, will be announced soon.

Spring 2021 Films


Organized by Maori Karmael Holmes & Eugene Lew

"Films about music have been instrumental in helping audiences gain access to the stories of how and why certain recordings are made, and unique performances came to be as well as how movements have emerged. For this micro-festival, we are examining the connection between music, technology and culture. The program will feature three films that cover different music scenes, styles and parts of the globe, but they share one thing in common, a passion for innovation and the artist’s desire to make a mark upon the field."
- Maori Karmael Holmes, Curator-at-Large for Film
Sisters with Transistors photo

Sisters with Transistors*

March 24 @ 5 PM

Learn More & Get Access

*Exclusively available and free for the Penn community and Annenberg Center subscribers
Studio 17 photo

Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes

March 25 @ 5 PM

Learn More & Get Access

Sympathy for the Devil photo

Dark City Beneath The Beat

March 26 @ 5 PM

Learn More & Get Access

Pew Fellows x Annenberg Center

"The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage provides grants to individual Philadelphia-based artists each year. This season, we highlight the work of the film and media arts fellows with a screening of four feature films. In coming seasons, we aim to invite fellows to curate films that inspires them and their work. The fellows represent some of the most daring and talented filmmakers in the country."
- Maori Karmael Holmes, Curator-at-Large for Film
Test Pattern photo

Test Pattern

April 7 @ 7 PM

Learn More & Get Access

Destiny of Lesser Animals photo

Destiny of Lesser Animals

April 14 @ 7 PM

Learn More & Get Access

Strawberry Fields photo

Strawberry Fields

April 21 @ 7 PM

Learn More & Get Access

Colewell photo


April 28 @ 7 PM

Learn More & Get Access

Maori Karmael Holmes, Curator-at-Large for Film

Maori Karmael Holmes photo

Maori is a curator, filmmaker and writer. She founded BlackStar in 2012 and serves as its Artistic Director and CEO. She has organized programs in film at a myriad of organizations including Anthology Film Archives, Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Underground Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. As a director, her works have screened internationally including her feature documentary Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop (2006). She has also directed and produced works for, Visit Philadelphia, and singer-songwriter India.Arie. Her writing has recently appeared in The Believer, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, and How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance. Maori received her MFA in film & media arts from Temple University and her BA in history from American University. She currently serves on the board of American Documentary (POV), the advisory boards of Ulises, Vidiots, and Lightbox Film Center. Maori is a 2019 Soros Equality Fellow and serves as Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Curator-at-Large at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and a Creative Executive with Blackbird.