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Black Alphabet’s 7th Annual Film Festival Honors Transgender Awareness Week

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

Black Alphabet Film Festival returns for its 7th year, showcasing films that highlight and explore the Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) and Same Gender Loving (SGL) experience.

This year, the Festival will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2019 and Sunday, November 10, 2019 at the Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts on the University of Chicago campus.

“We are excited to once again bring Black Alphabet back to an area where many people in our community reside. It was intentional for us to have the film festival around the same time as Transgender Awareness Week so that we can properly honor black trans people,” Black Alphabet NFP’s President Adam L. McMath said.

Saturday’s schedule will begin at 11:00 am with a free reception and photo opportunity, followed by the screening of the web series, King Ester, and a post screening talk-back with the director, actors, and members of the community.

King Ester, tells the story of Ester, a trans woman struggling to find her path in New Orleans during the week before Hurricane Katrina. In the face of an evacuation order, she is forced to make a choice that will impact her future forever. Will she get out on time?

Written and directed by Dui Jarrod (Brooklyn. Blue. Sky. on, this short form scripted series explores the intersection of race, class, and gender in a uniquely NOLA context. Starring Janet Hubert (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Angelica Ross (Pose, Her Story), and introducing Rowin Amone as Ester.

Sunday’s schedule will begin at 11:00 am with select short films and documentaries throughout the afternoon, including Outdooring, the story of a young Ghanaian man who attends his nephew’s baptism with a plan to keep his deep secret hidden from his family, Tender, a documentary about the epidemic of trans homelessness in the Bay Area, and ending with the international feature film, Rafiki, the story of romance that grows between two young women, Kena and Ziki, amidst family and political pressures around LGBT rights in Kenya. Refreshments will be provided during the breaks.

“Due to generous sponsorship, there is no cost for festival tickets this year,” says Ray Harrell, Vice President of the organization. “Our primary goal is to provide a safe space, accessible to all members of the Black LGBT+ community and allies, regardless of ability to pay, to have open and honest discussions about issues that uniquely and disproportionately impact this community.”

Tickets are now available on the Black Alphabet website ( Separate tickets must be selected for each day.

Established in 2013 and named precisely due to the many letters used to create LGBTQ/SGL inclusivity, Black Alphabet (BA) is a non-profit Chicago-based collective with a mission of implementing quality, arts-based programming that provides education and resources which promote wellness.

Since the festival's inaugural year, BAFF has featured scores of feature films, shorts, web series, and documentaries which speak to the pervasive social conditions that impact the Black LGBT+ community.

While Black Alphabet has secured generous sponsorships from the Chicago Department of Public Health, AIDS Foundation Chicago, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation for this year’s festival, continued donor support is critical to realize the organization's 2020 goal of having monthly arts-based programming which fulfills the vision and mission of promoting wellness in the Black LGBT+ community.

Sponsorship levels are available year-round directly on the website (, or generous donors may simply click the Donate link at the bottom of each web page to make a donation of any size.

Black Alphabet always appreciates any assistance with planning. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up at

To keep up with the latest about Black Alphabet, feel free to visit and/or post on the Facebook (, Twitter (,and Instagram ( pages. Join the mailing list on the newly revamped website at


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