May 2-7, 2017

Special BFF Installation at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

This video exhibit is featured in the Lower Lobby area on a continuing basis throughout the duration of the festival.

In the early years of cinema, African American filmmakers were limited to creating “race films” targeted for Black audiences in segregated theaters. Despite being poorly funded, these directors strove to create films that rejected the African American stereotypes presented by Hollywood, and to feature subject matter relevant to Black lives at that time. Although largely forgotten, some of these artists are being reconsidered by art historians and scholars. Presented as a looping video installation are works from Oscar Micheaux, Zora Neale Hurston, and Spencer Williams from 1920 through 1946.

Legacy Installation

BFF Legacy Programming Series

The BFF Legacy Series is a run of special programming that pays homage to early barrier breaking pioneers and icons of film

The Flute of Krishna, 1926

  • Vudu Lounge
  • Wednesday, May 4, 3:00-3:30
  • Free Admission

Hamlet, 1921

  • Record (South)
  • Thursday, May 5, 5:00-7:00
  • Free with ticket

The White Raven, 1917

  • Record (South)
  • Thursday, May 5, 7:00-8:00
  • Free with ticket

The Flute of Krishna, 1926

BFF Legacy Programming Series:

This short film, under 10 minutes long, is an early color film made by Eastman Kodak. Martha Graham, famed American modern dancer and choreographer, created this work. “The Flute of Krishna” was performed in front of the camera in Rochester, NY, by professional dancers that were a part of Graham’s dance troupe.

Mike Champlin, of DeBergerac Productions in Rochester, NY, will provide context in his remarks about how this important work came to be made. As an added treat, there will also be a screening of 3-minute color film test featuring some of the earliest color motion picture images known to exist.

Hamlet, 1921

Introduction by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Curatorial Staff member, Ali Demorotski.

Danish silent movie-star, Asta Nielsen formed her own production company to make this film, in which new elements are combined with features and lines familiar from Shakespeare’s version of the legend. The most important of these changes sees Hamlet made into a female character – a princess forced to masquerade as a man by her scheming mother.

This silent film will feature live piano accompaniment by David Drazin. Drazin is the official silent-film pianist at the Chicago School of the Art Institute Film Center. He has provided live piano accompaniment for silent-film screenings from coast to coast.

Film provided by The Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York

The White Raven, 1917

Introduction by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Curatorial Staff member, Ali Demorotski.

Nan Baldwin (Ethel Barrymore) finds herself as a dance hall singer in a Western town after the death of her father, who was swindled by an unscrupulous partner. She’s in misery over her fate and auctions herself off to the highest bidder. The winner is a stranger (William B. Davidson) who realizes she’s not hard and bitter like the other dance hall girls and offers to stake her operatic ambitions for an I.O.U. Nan realizes her dreams of stardom as an opera singer and has her revenge on her father’s tormentor. Her goals accomplished, Nan returns to Alaska and awaits the coming of the stranger to claim her. To her surprise, the young man shows her the I.O.U. and then destroys it. Thus, Nan finds that the payment of herself is the realization of her own desires.

This silent film will feature live piano accompaniment by David Drazin. Drazin is the official silent-film pianist at the Chicago School of the Art Institute Film Center. He has provided live piano accompaniment for silent-film screenings from coast to coast.

Film provided by The Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York

Legacy Films Screening During the Festival