BlackStar Film Fest Features Treasure and Other LGBTQ Offerings

A scene from "Treasure" by dream hampton.

A scene from “Treasure” by dream hampton.

Shelley “Treasure” Hilliard was a 19-year-old transgender woman of color who was brutally killed. The murder was not tried as a hate crime.

Hilliard’s tale is captured in dream hampton’s gripping documentary Treasure, part of this year’s BlackStar Film Festival. The festival’s founder and artistic director, Maori Karmael Holmes, couldn’t be happier to include the work in the comprehensive celebration of black film.

“The film is done really well,” said Holmes. “We’re so happy to be the Philly premiere. Our theme this year is ‘Social Justice,’ and we couldn’t think of a better intersectional film. From issues of low income to Black Lives Matter, the film is absolutely intersectional.”

This is the fourth year of the festival which strives to bring a number of films to Philly that don’t normally come to the city.

“It’s been a great reaction,” Holmes said. “It’s filling a void that was really apparent. Things weren’t making it into over venues.”

Treasure isn’t the only LGBTQ film that is a part of the festival this year: There’s a whole list, which we will provide below, that might be of  interest to G Philly readers. Holmes also noted that a number of the film directors this year “are queer.”

The festival runs July 30th through August 2nd. For tickets and more information, visit their website.

Other LGBTQ Offerings:


Dir. Angel Kristi Williams

Program: Lessons Earned

Alex, excited to have befriended the popular girl at school, will do anything to stay in her good graces. When her new friend wants to play house, Alex innocently plays along and develops feelings she doesn’t understand.

Only For Forever

Dir. Nia Imani

Program: XOXO

Marlee, a hipster thief who desperately needs money to get out of the city, snatches a lonely model’s purse.But instead of running with the money, Marlee finds that her victim, Nora, is her soul mate. Now she must decide if love overcomes all obstacles, and if it is enough for forever.

ya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!

Dir. seyi adebanjo

Program: Black Magic

“I am from this place but not of it. I am of this place but not from it.” I am a Queer Gender-Non-Conforming Nigerian who returns home to speak directly with my ancestors, connect with Òrìṣà (African God/dess) tradition, and follow a trail back to the powerful legacy of my great grandmother, Chief Moloran Ìyá Ọlọ́ya. This personal and political documentary skillfully investigates the heritage of command, mythology, gender fluidity, and womyn’s power in indigenous Yorùbá spirituality.


Dir. Alfonso Johnson

Program: Great Expectations

Tough tells the poignant story of an estranged father and son who reconnect after 11 years when they discover they’re now living in the same apartment complex.

Vow of Silence

Dir. Be Steadwell

Program: XOXO

Jade, a heartbroken composer, takes a vow of silence to win back the heart of Isis, her true love. In her struggle to reconnect with Isis, she meets Jaxson — an outgoing musician. Through music, magic and silence Jade finds her voice in the place she least expects.