Visions of the Black Experience brings inaugural, free film festival to Sarasota

The festival featuring films centered around black life takes place Thursday through Saturday at New College of Florida

Visions of the Black Experience: Thursday-Saturday; Harry Sudakoff Conference Center, 5845 General Dougher Place, Sarasota; free, but tickets required; visionsoftheblackexperience.com

A film festival centered around black life will make its debut this week in Sarasota, featuring three days of free movie screenings, including one world premiere.

The inaugural Visions of the Black Experience takes place Thursday through Saturday at New College of Florida’s Harry Sudakoff Conference Center. The festival is a collaboration between several organizations including New College, Sarasota Film Festival and the Boxser Diversity Initiative.

The festival kicks off Thursday with the world premiere of “No Lye: An American Beauty Story,” a documentary about the black-owned ethnic beauty industry. Three other documentaries will be screened along with “Something the Lord Made,” the Emmy-winning 2004 drama starring Mos Def as black surgical pioneer Vivien Thomas.

New College assistant professor of sociology Queen Meccasia Zabriskie said the festival organizers wanted to focus on films dealing with health and wellness. They were also interested in movies that challenge stereotypes about what the black experience is.

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