The Jamaican film “Sprinter” has received the award for the Favorite Narrative Feature: at the 2019 BlackStar Film Fest in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The film, directed by Storm Saulter, who also wrote the screenplay. It tells the story of a Jamaican teenager who must contend with an unstable father and an unruly brother at home pins his hopes on using excellent performance in track and field sports as a way to become reunited with his mother, who has lived illegally in the United States for more than ten years. The film was originally released in June of 2018. “Sprinter” was produced by Producers: Robert A. Maylor, Clarence Hammond, and Jamal M. Watson. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were its executive producers.
The prestigious BlackStar Film Festival was held in various locations throughout Philadelphia from August 1 through August 4, 2019. This was the eight staging of the festival. The annual festival celebrates the visual and storytelling traditions of the African Diaspora and other communities of color throughout the world. It showcases films by “black, brown, and indigenous people” from around the globe. The festival provides a “highly visible platform for independent Black filmmakers and films about Black people from around the world.” It showcases works that defy established genres and that are crafted for a diverse audience of filmgoers who welcome new perspectives on life. To be included in the festival, films must be directed by an individual of African descent or who otherwise identifies ad Black. It must also feature people of African descent or tell a story about the Black experience.
Speaking of the 2019 entries, Nahad Khader, program director at BlackStar, stated that all of the films had “truly captivated the audience.”