Taraji P. Henson in an intense scene from "Best of Enemies," one of the films featured in WLOK's Black Film Festival.

WLOK’s 5th annual Black Film Festival featuring black artists and film producers in the motion picture industry begins Thursday (September 23) and continues through Sunday.

Sponsored by WLOK radio and the Gilliam Foundation, the Black Film Festival offers a variety of films that focus on social justice issues relevant to the Black community, as well as Black actors and actresses in significant roles and Black film makers.

“The purpose of the Black Film Festival is to showcase a broad spectrum of quality Black films that are entertaining and culturally enriching,’’ said Art Gilliam, president and chief executive officer of WLOK Radio and the Gilliam Foundation. “This Festival gives emerging Black film makers an opportunity to show their films and encourages appreciation of Black films and Black artists in the film industry.”

Admission is $10 per person for each film, plus $10 per person to attend the Red-Carpet event at 6 p.m., September 23.

Here is the  Black Film Festival schedule:

Cynthia Erivo portrays Harriet Tubman in “Harriet.”
  • “Harriet” – Thursday (September 23), at the Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central Ave. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a Red-Carpet event, followed by the film at 7 p.m. Starring Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet” is based on the story of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into an iconic freedom fighter and American heroine.
  • New Film-Makers Production – Friday (September 24), 7 p.m., University of Memphis Student Center, 499 University Street. Presentation of finalists who produced 15-to 25-minute short films. The winning entry, decided by professional judges, will receive $500.
  • “Amazing Grace – Aretha Franklin” – Saturday (September 25), 7 p.m., at the Crosstown Theater, 1350 Concourse Ave. A documentary recording of the largest-selling gospel album in history. Recorded live at New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, with Aretha’s band and the Southern California Community Choir.
Released in 2019, “Amazing Grace – Aretha Franklin” was filmed in 1972 as Franklin recorded her live double-record of the same name.
  • “Just Mercy” – Sunday (September 26), at 2 p.m., Playhouse on the Square, 66 Cooper Street. Starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan, the film is about a death row inmate convicted despite evidence demonstrating his innocence. The Film will be followed by a discussion group, including Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr., a representative of the Innocence Project, a man wrongfully convicted and released from death row and a community activist.
  • “Best of Enemies” – Sunday (September 26) 7 p.m., Playhouse on the Square, 66 Cooper Street. The story of an unlikely effort that develops between a Klu Klux Klan member and an outspoken civil right activist during the desegregation of public schools in Durham, NC. The film, which stars Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell, will be followed by a group discussion that includes people knowledgeable about the film’s issues.

 (WLOK is a Memphis-based radio station that broadcasts a gospel format on both AM and FM channels, operating under AM1340 and FM105. For more information, contact Art Gilliam, 901-527-9565; email: [email protected].)