In honor of Black History Month, the Nickelodeon Theatre welcomes the return of its annual film series, "Black Stories." The series aims to showcase the black experience through a collection of films that focus on a specific theme.
Whereas last year's films centered around the black experience of those in cities, this year's series is called "Black Stories: Rural Voices" and centers around the black experience of those who reside in the American southeast with genres ranging from horror to documentary.
"Over the past couple of years, the Nickelodeon has also made a concerted and institutional effort to expand Black and inclusive programming through various series hosted at the Nick and via strategic selections of independent Black films that are not part of standard Art House programming," Nickelodeon programming coordinator Omme-Salma Rahemtullah said in a press release. "By responding to the needs of our diverse city and utilizing film as an educational and community tool, we are able to slowly redefine what first-run art house programming can be.”
According to the press release, this year's curators include "Indie Grits Rural Fellows, local artists, and educators." Each of the four films in the series will be followed by a discussion panel.
The first film in the lineup, "Beasts of the Southern Wild,” follows six-year-old Hushpuppy as she attempts to save her bayou community from extinction. "Wilmington on Fire" is a documentary that delves deep into the little-known Wilmington massacre of 1898. "The People Under the Stairs" is a Wes Craven horror film with an underlying message about gentrification. The final screening in the series, titled “Afrofuturists,” is a collection of seven short films that explores a cultural movement within the black community that combines African traditions and technology.
“It is our intention, with each of the films in 'Black Stories: Rural Voices,' to participate in the redefining of Blackness," Nickelodeon theatre manager Torres Perkins said in a press release.
"We are sharing an insightful view of Blackness across its ever-expanding spectrum while challenging the truth and relevance of its current societal perception," he said. "There is an evolution of what it means to be Black and in order to understand it we must look back and reflect.”
“Black Stories: Rural Voices” will run from Feb. 6 to Feb. 27.