There’s a new film festival in town, and it aims to be the first of its kind in the City of Brotherly Love.
Radical Imaginings comes from educator turned producer Tamara Della Anderson and the Gumbo Lab, an organization that Anderson started in 2020 with the purpose of putting the spotlight on Black female, trans, queer, and femme creatives. Kicking off next month, this new 10-minute film festival will somewhat mirror the Lab’s goal— featuring youth and adult filmmakers sharing stories about Black joy, community activism, COVID-19, and historical satire from across the country.
For those tuning in, Radical Imaginings will kick off with its in-person screening on Friday, Aug. 12 at The Proscenium Theatre (302 S. Hicks St.) at 7:30 p.m., and then a virtual screening will follow on Monday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m.
The films, each 10 minutes in length, span a variety of categories—from a localized look at the events that occurred on May 31, 2020 to the residents of 52nd Street in response to unrest over the murder of George Floyd, to a documentary mirroring what the world has looked like for the past 2 year due to COVID from New York City.
“As we attempt to realize a new normal, it is imperative that all of us consider what it means to radically imagine. What does it mean to live and exist during these tumultuous times? And how do we chart a path towards a better future, together? This is why Radical Imaginings is so important and why these intergenerational stories need to be seen and experienced,” explains Anderson in a statement. “When the pandemic hit, life for artists changed overnight. Theaters and studios closed and work came to a halt. Theater spaces are being challenged and demand is high for diversity and equity conversations to move toward actual policy changes — ones that no longer marginalize, harass, or demean Black or female bodies.”
As said before, Anderson first set out on this journey two years ago with the Gumbo Lab, and one of the initial endeavors of the organization was The Solo Project. The event featured streamed performances from three performing artists in collaboration with the independent female-forward producer Juniper Productions, whom the Lab has continued to work with. But Anderson paved the way for the new collaboration herself having credits in directing (a short titled “Dating Chronicles”), receiving a nomination for the Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress for her stage work, and also being on hit shows on NBC, Netflix and Starz—just to name a few accolades.
Anderson then decided to give back on her success by offering others the chance to have their voices heard and their creativity nurtured.
“What Gumbo Lab does is offer acts of love – it’s the love that finances, because the artist needs it. It’s the kind of love that fights for artistic integrity for Black and Indigenous and other people of color who identify as women to really tell their story the way they want to tell their story and ultimately it is the kind of love that feeds us, it says to the Black creative your story matters, your story needs to be seen, your story is part of the ingredients that creates that perfect gumbo,” says Marquis D. Gibson, former director of The Solo Project in a statement.
Andersen added: “Gumbo Lab is the way for us to be seen, heard, and celebrated. It is the nourishing community we never thought we needed.”
Some of the featured filmmakers for the Radical Imaginings film festival includes Mecca Patterson-Guridy from Philadelphia, Carla Stillwell from Chicago, students from POPPYN (the award-winning social justice media program for high school students in Philadelphia), Vida Landron from New York, Chanel Hurt from New Mexico, and Amelia Carter from Philadelphia.
Winners of Best in Radical Imaginings and Best in Creativity and Originality will be announced on Aug. 12 and 15 during the screening.