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Seen is a journal from BlackStar Film Festival focused on Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities globally, and is published twice each calendar year.

Issue 003 | Fall 2021

Highlights: A profile of photographer Texas Isaiah, penned by the award-winning writer, Jessica Lynne; a studio visit with acclaimed artist Arthur Jafa; and a poetic reflection on the process and the politics of image-making by filmmaker Nuotama Bodomo. Guest edited by Darol Olu Kae.

Cover image from Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground (2021), directed by Sophia Nahli Allison.

Cover designed by Caroline Washington and Leo Brooks.

BlackStar Projects, producer of the BlackStar Film Festival, is proud to announce the launch of the third issue of Seen, its twice-annual journal of film and visual culture made for and about Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities globally.

“Collectively, the pieces in Seen, issue 003, orbit around Bodomo’s questions, gathering up accumulative power, and extending her thoughts into new directions and terrain,” writes Kae in his introduction to the issue. “The participating artists, writers, and filmmakers offer a multitude of critical practices and approaches that help think beyond the restrictions of film and visual culture as it is presently defined.”

Highlights from the third issue of Seen include Jessica Lynne‘s profile of photographer Texas Isaiah; an interview with filmmakers Sophia Nahli Alison and Merawi Gerima on the power of Black filmmaking collectives in Los Angeles, conducted by Dr. Philana Payton; an essay on Christopher Kahunahana’s first full-length feature film by cultural critic and historian Jeff Chang; two interviews with Moroccan filmmaker Ahmed Bouanani from the early 1970s, translated by Omar Berrada; Jonathan Ali’s exploration of the possibilities of Caribbean cinema through a conversation with Maya Cozier about her debut fiction film; DJ Lynnée Denise’s review of Sacha Jenkins’s documentary Bitchin’: the Sound and Fury of Rick James; and a conversation between Amir George and filmmaker Miko Revereza.

This exciting moment for Seen also marks the appointment of Dessane Lopez Cassell to the role of Editor-in-Chief. Cassell, who guest-edited Issue 002, has been a longtime BlackStar Film Festival program committee member, last serving on the experimental committee in 2021. Most recently, she worked as the reviews editor at Hyperallergic. A curator and former museum worker, Cassell has organized curatorial projects and screenings at the Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, among others.

“Learning, thinking, and growing with the BlackStar team has been a true professional pleasure over the last few years and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to join them full-time. I look forward to continuing to champion artists and cultural critics of color as we grow Seen’s vision and reach, starting with the brilliant work put forward in issue 003,” Cassell noted.
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