Blackbird Film Festival on campus May 19-22

Blackbird Film Festival on campus May 19-22


The Blackbird Film Festival returns to the SUNY Cortland campus and community of Cortland May 19-22.

The eighth annual festival, which is free to attend, will screen 136 films across 13 thematic blocks. The festival includes 71 films by women writers or directors, 32 by Black, Indigenous and People of Color writers or directors and 30 by LGBTQ+ writers or directors.

Filmmakers from around the world submitted a total of 1,196 films to the Blackbird jury. The festival is directed by Samuel Avery, an associate professor of communications and media studies at SUNY Cortland, and its staff includes many young alumni and interns.

Most screening blocks are held at the Old Main Brown Auditorium, although the festival also hosts additional VIP events at downtown locations such as BRU64, Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House and the Hollywood Restaurant.

A full schedule of events is available online.

“We’re excited to be back,” said Avery. “We’ve been off campus since 2020 and it feels like it’s been ages since we hosted this festival in Brown (Auditorium). So we are excited and also a bit scared.”

Thematic blocks for the 2022 festival are:

  • In Loving Memory: Movies about the grieving process and how we all find ways to remember those we loved.
  • Lyrical, Satirical, Political: A mix of musicals, poems and satires commenting on the status of the world’s many problems.
  • Brother’s Keeper: A collection of short films featuring characters who, in one way or another, are held accountable for their siblings.
  • Rhythm and Vibe: A music video screening party will premiere for the festival on Friday May 20th at 8pm at BRU64 on Main St. in Cortland.
  • Friday Night Feels: A Series of Dramatic and Emotional Short Films.
  • Material World: Poetic documentaries, animations and sci-fi thrillers about the things that make up our world.
  • Micro Madness: A block of more than 20 films, all under three minutes long.

This is Not a War Story, a feature-length drama film directed by Talia Lugacy and executive produced by Rosario Dawson, opens Sunday, May 15 at 4 p.m. at the Center for the Arts in Homer. The film examines the lives of combat veterans in New York City whose anti-war art, poetry and papermaking bring them together despite the challenges they face in healing from this trauma.

A detailed film guide with trailers, running times, production and cast information is available online.

SUNY Cortland alumni and student interns with connections to this year’s event include: Cloe King, Social Media Director; Mitch Ensman, director of events operations; and Shannon Delaney, Andy Fauvelle, Nolan Harpp, Amanda Lerch, Alyssa Marley, Madison Napoli, and Owen Parseghian.

“These are all-star pre-COVID interns,” Avery said, noting that the students helped transform the 2020 and 2021 festival into a drive-in, outdoor event at Greek Peak Mountain Resort. “Blackbird would never have survived (the COVID-19 pandemic) if it weren’t for the courage of these former interns.”

In addition to the film screenings, Blackbird will host several other community events throughout the weekend, including a Paint and Sip, a panel discussion on independent film distribution and an awards ceremony. Some of these events require tickets and fees. More information is available online.

Find out more about Blackbird Film Festival 2022 at

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