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OSF and Stellar collaborate on Black Lives Black Words film project for 2022

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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced a new initiative in partnership with Black Lives Black Words and Stellar, a streaming platform, to present “Films for the People,” premiering Aug. 12.

Supported by the Black Seed Fund, the films celebrate the talent and resilience of Black artists, leaders and communities across the U.S., building on BLBW’s 2020 theater/film hybrid season.

Black Lives Black Words founder Reginald Edmund will produce a new work for "Films for the People," an OSF project for the summer of 2022 in collaboration with BLBW and the Stellar streaming platform.
Black Lives Black Words founder Simelia Hodge-Dellaway will produce a new work for "Films for the People," an OSF project for the summer of 2022 in collaboration with BLBW and the Stellar streaming platform.
"Films for the People" will kick off with a film directed by Bay Area theater director and OSF Resident Director Elizabeth Carter. OSF photo
"Films for the People" will kick off with a film written by Oakland-based playwright and 2018 mayoral candidate Cat Brooks. OSF photo

“The new project comprises two new one-person short films written and directed by Black creatives and shot in celebrated Black businesses located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston,” said Blake Zidell, OSF spokesman.

“The films will premiere on OSF’s O! digital stage in the summer of 2022 and also will be presented on the Stellar online streaming and on-demand platform,” he said.

“Films for the People” will kick off with a film by Oakland-based playwright, activist and 2018 mayoral candidate Cat Brooks, and directed by Elizabeth Carter, Bay Area theater director and OSF Lloyd Richards resident director.

The two are collaborating to create a hybrid work that explores themes woven into the fabric of their city and the possibilities opened up by merging theater with film.

The project is partly the result of Stellar’s choosing BLBW founders Reginald Edmund and Simelia Hodge-Dellaway to participate in its Emerging Creators in Theatre Program.

The two will produce a new work for the project, written by Edmund and directed by Hodge-Dallaway. Edmund, a Houston native, returns home to create a film that places the city center-stage and provides a look at race relations in the 21st century.

The new work follows the duo’s BLBW film “Ride Share,” which was hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “an electrifying example of hybrid theater at its best,” and by The Chicago Tribune as “a mesmerizing, creatively staged film.”

The Stellar Emerging Creators program, created last year, grants recipients a production budget and resources to develop and present new theater for live streaming. It also lends marketing support.

“It didn’t take long for all of us to agree (that) this was a project we knew we wanted to support,” said Stellar CEO Jim McCarthy.

OSF Artistic Director Nataki Garrett is the executive producer of “Films for the People.”

“This partnership with Black Lives Black Words is emblematic of my leadership and the future of OSF,” she said.

“I am thrilled that these pieces will be streamed, making critical and meaningful work accessible to everyone while showcasing the power of performance.”

OSF Associate Artistic Director Scarlett Kim also is excited about the project.

“OSF is exhilarated to collaborate with Black Lives Black Words on this trailblazing project,” she said. “(It) powerfully embodies Nataki Garrett’s vision of OSF as an incubator for cutting-edge theatrical innovation and transformative narratives.”

Audiences will be able to purchase tickets directly from the online streaming platforms on a date to be announced. For updates and more information, go to osfashland.org.

Reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.