Documentary Features

A competitive section for nonfiction feature films directed by persons of African descent or centered on the culture and experiences of persons of African descent. Films in this category are eligible to be nominated to compete for the Jury Award for Best Documentary. The cash prize for this award is $2,500.The following films represent the 2021 official selections in the Documentary Features category:

100 Years From Mississippi


100 Years From Mississippi is a documentary on the life of Mamie Lang Kirkland, a 111-year-old African American woman who experienced and survived racial terrorism, segregation, bigotry and bias, and yet continued to have hope, joy and love of life, full of the certainty that we can do better.

Director: Tarabu Betserai Kirkland | Writer: Tarabu Betserai Kirkland | Producers: Tarabu Betserai Kirkland, Gina Rugolo Judd

Anatomy of Wings

USA | 85 min

Black and white, young and old, a group of women risk their personal identities to build a second family while creating a documentary film across the inequities of their Baltimore city neighborhoods.

Directors: Nikiea Redmond, Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander | Producers: Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander, Nikiea Redmond | Cast: Brittany Backmon, Teshavionna ‘Tazz’ Mitchell, Sheila Butler, Marquise Weems, Brienna Brown, Danisha Harris, Cami McCrief, Tywana Reid, Quandra Jones, Quanisha Carmichael, Cinnamon Triano, Kata Frederick

Big Chief, Black Hawk


A short and intimate look into the life of the youngest Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief in New Orleans and his “tribe” as they navigate the social and environmental issues facing “the culture.”

Director: Jonathan Isaac Jackson | Writer: Jonathan Isaac Jackson | Producer: Paul V. Fishback | Cast: Terrance Williams Jr., Tyrell “Ty” Williams, Simeon “Fatman” Israel Jr., Dow Edwards, Joseph Boudreaux Jr.

Little Satchmo

USA | 61 min | U.S. PREMIERE

Louis Armstrong is iconic — a symbol of musical genius and unparalleled success. Yet he was more than a caricature; in private, he held dearly to what he loved. Perhaps dearest was a child whom he hid from the world: a daughter sworn to a life of secrecy until now.

Director: John Alexander | Writer: John Alexander | Producers: Lea Umberger, JC Guest | Cast: Sharon Preston – Folta

The Neutral Ground

USA | 82 min

The Neutral Ground documents New Orleans’ fight over monuments and America’s troubled romance with the Lost Cause.

Director: CJ Hunt | Writers: CJ Hunt, Jane Geisler, James Hamilton | Producer: Darcy McKinnon

Subjects of Desire


Subjects of Desire is a thought-provoking feature documentary that examines the cultural shift in beauty standards towards embracing Black aesthetics and features.

Director: Jennifer Holness | Writer: Jennifer Holness | Producers: Jennifer Holness, Sudz Sutherland | Cast: Ryann Richardson, Alexandra Germain, Seraiah Nicole, Brittany Lewis, Jully Black, Rachel Dolezal, Dr. Cheryl Thompson, Dr. Carolyn West, Dr. Heather Widdows, India Arie

Unzipped: An Autopsy of American Inequality


An intimate and heartbreaking film about the affordable housing crisis in America told through the prism of one zip code’s struggle with the growing income divide.

Director: Colin K. Gray | Writer: Colin K. Gray | Producers: Megan Raney Aarons, Jamila C. Fairley, Carol Gronner, Colin K. Gray

Why Is We Americans?



A portrait of the iconoclastic poet Amiri Baraka, his family, and their legacy of social activism, poetry, music, art and politics.

Directors: Udi Aloni, Ayana Stafford-Morris | Writer: Udi Aloni | Producers: Udi Aloni, Ayana Stafford-Morris, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Oren Moverman | Cast: Amiri Baraka, Ras Baraka, Amina Baraka, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Amandla Baraka,
Cory Booker, Amiri Baraka Jr., Roxanne Shanté, Maya Angelou