Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities [Online]

View this program online from
Feb. 11 - Mar. 14, 2021


Not only will I stare, I want my look to change reality” — bell hooks

In this collection of six shorts, filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back. From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary.

** Introduction by Dr. Racquel Gates (Associate Prof. of Cinema and Media Studies, CSI CUNY), plus a post screening Q&A with most of the filmmakers, also available at the bottom of this page!! **


Content Advisory:

  • The Pandemic Chronicles includes nudity and mature content
  • Nowhere includes sexual situations and relationship abuse
  • The Black Banshee includes police violence

Love in Submission by Antu Yacob & Lande Yoosuf

Worlds collide when two different Muslim women meet each other for the first time through a mutual third party.

“My work explores identity, migration, the complexities of love, and the multi-layered experiences of women of the African diaspora.” – Antu Yacob

A Hollywood Party by Toryn Seabrooks

An aspiring TV host encounters her lifelong idol at a Hollywood party but is soon mortified by the superstar.

“I’d describe my cinematic style as seriously absurd and colorfully dark.” – Toryn Seabrooks

Nowhere by Lin Que Ayoung

A middle-aged Latina flees her controlling husband for a night of unadulterated freedom.

“My artistic influences include Hitchcock, Kubrick, Wong Kar-wai, Park Chan-wook, Chloé Zhao, and Ava DuVernay.” – Lin Que Ayoung

The Black Banshee by Kyla Sylvers

Convinced by her friends and boyfriend to enjoy a night out after losing her job, Yvie begins to question her own mind when the visions she’s been having start to have dangerous consequences.

“My work focuses on genre-bending narratives that center black women, with elements of history sprinkled throughout.” – Kyle Sylvers

Auntie Zariyah by Zora Bikangaga

Zach crashes with an auntie he’s never met before and soon finds out that Auntie Zariyah is a 12-year-old influencer.

“Some central themes in my work are family, grief, and the search for connection.” – Zora Bikangaga

Pandemic Chronicles by Ya’Ke Smith

A three-part anthology series about love, loss, and grief during quarantine.

“My style is high art told through a socially-conscious lens.” – Ya’Ke Smith

Curator's statement:

The “Paradox of Expectation” … it’s the idea that wanting to rid yourself of expectations is a paradox – literally the expectation of no expectation. In these six films from emerging Black filmmakers, what the protagonists experience as the world they woke up to is not the one from which they’re now appearing. Are they lying to themselves about who they are, or is the truth just not what they expect, but what they deserve?

Curtis Caesar John, The Luminal Theater

Post-Screening Q&A

About Our Right to Gaze

Full Spectrum Features (Chicago), Northwest Film Forum (Seattle), The Luminal Theater (NYC), and Circle Collective (NYC) seek to champion Our Right to Gaze as a means of addressing systemic inequity within the film industry, through the disruption of existing film distribution models and attitudes towards artist services and support. The program is also designed to support the participating filmmakers first and foremost – structured so that they receive adequate compensation for their work, have the option to participate in a mentorship cohort, and have the collective support of the cross-country coalition of media partners. Through a mission-driven desire to highlight unseen voices and present a program that steps outside of impersonal plug-and-play virtual distribution models, the collection will rely on the film exhibition and distribution expertise of the participating organizations to engage a broad constituency of exhibitors and mentors via grassroots outreach, personal relationships, and direct conversation with the artists.

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

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