African American Film Festival

Kravis Center’s 18th Annual

African American Film Festival INVENTING BEAUTY

Presents a Weekend of Curated Films

A weekend-long showcase of films exploring the ideas of beauty highlights this year’s Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts 18th Annual African American Film Festival (AAFF) INVENTING BEAUTY. Curated by author and film scholar Dr. Terri Francis and moderated by a dynamic group of nationally renowned filmmakers and local community leaders, the event takes place February 15 – 18 in the Kravis Center’s Marshall E. Rinker Sr.  Playhouse.

Curator Dr. Francis and her special guests take patrons on a cinematic journey through the social, historical, and personal dynamics of how society learns and questions what and who they find beautiful in the context of ground-breaking and gorgeous African American films. The films in INVENTING BEAUTY invite reflection on personal, and perhaps shifting, notions of beauty—a concept that is as intimate as it is social, as timeless as it is ever-changing.

Founded by the late James Drayton, a former West Palm Beach city commissioner and strong advocate for equal rights and equality, this unique series includes films that feature African American actors and directors and convey the African American experience.

The festival lineup includes:

BLACK BARBIE: A Documentary (2023)

Rinker Playhouse

Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m.

Moderated by director Lagueria Davis, curator Terri Francis, and researcher Imani Warren

This revelatory documentary focuses on the little-known history of the African American designers at Mattel who imagined and created the iconic Black Barbie doll. The evening includes an opening reception with refreshments.

Tickets $25*


Rinker Playhouse

Friday, February 16 at 7 p.m.

Moderated by artist Ja’Tovia Gary and curator Terri Francis

Kathleen Collins’ feature film, Losing Ground, focused on the tensions between freedom and fidelity, abstraction and representation in this American independent film. In her experimental short film, An Ecstatic Experience, Gary explores themes of beauty, resistance, and freedom.

Tickets $15*

BRIGHT ROAD (1953) Feature, SEVENTH GRADE (2014) Short
Rinker Playhouse
Saturday, February 17 at 2 p.m.

Moderated by director Stefani Saintonge, Professor Tiffany Gilbert, and curator Terri Francis

In this charming literary adaptation, Bright Road, Dorothy Dandridge, and Harry Belafonte play a caring teacher and a thoughtful school principal who mentor a troubled but gifted student—Stefanie Saintonge’s short film about friendship in the tumultuous tween years, Seventh Grade.

Tickets $15*


Rinker Playhouse

Saturday, February 17 at 7 p.m.

Moderated by Professor Tiffany Gilbert and curator Terri Francis

James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, and Joan Collins star in this drama that explores the politics of beauty, family, and interracial relationships in Caribbean society. 

Tickets $15*


Rinker Playhouse

Sunday, February 18 at 2 p.m.

Moderated by curator Terri Francis and guest panelists

French director Euzahn Palcy’s docudrama Ruby Bridges presents the heroic and beautiful portrayal of a little girl’s gigantic courage as an instrument of historical transformation in American society. 

Tickets $15*

Rinker Playhouse

Sunday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Moderated by filmmaker and community organizer Helen Peña, filmmaker Julie Dash and 
curator Terri Francis

Daughters of the Dust portrays the conflict of tradition and change for a close-knit Gullah family on the cusp of migration north and is credited with inspiring some of the beautiful imagery in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” (2016). Peña’s poignant portrait of a grieving woman, When Angels Speak of Love, evokes mythical mermaids and political realities.

Tickets $15*

Guests attending PEAK performances in the Rinker Playhouse will receive one complimentary beverage with every ticket purchased (underage guests will be offered a non-alcoholic selection).

PEAK performances are made possible by a grant from the MLDauray Arts Initiative in honor of Leonard and Sophie Davis with additional support from WLRN.

How to Purchase Tickets to These Presentations:
Tickets for Black Barbie are $25 and include the opening night reception. Tickets for the remaining films are $15 per film, or $70 for the entire series, and can be purchased online through the Kravis Center’s website,, or by phone at 561.832.7469 or 800.572.8471. Student/Educator rush discount available for all screenings.

About Dr. Terri Francis (Curator)
Dr. Terri Francis 
is an Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts and Associate Dean of Inclusion and Outreach. Dr. Francis brings over twenty years of experience in film exhibition to her role. In Miami, she plans to create events and discussions that explore archives and the moving image based on her explorations of global black film history. Dr. Francis is the author of Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism, published by Indiana University Press in 2021. A scholar of Black film history and aesthetics, her writing and curating engage film archives, film feelings, and the vicissitudes of performance and representation within a global perspective. Her introduction to “Josephine Baker, Queen of Paris” is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel. Dr. Francis has published her research on Jamaican nontheatrical films as “Sounding the Nation: Martin Rennalls and the Jamaica Film Unit, 1951-1961” in Film History. In 2013, she guest-edited a special section on Afrosurrealism in the journal Black Camera. Her critical essays appear in TransitionAnother Gaze, and; she has provided film commentary for National Public Radio.

About the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts:

The Kravis Center is a not-for-profit performing arts center located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach, FL. The Center’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in Palm Beach County by presenting a diverse schedule of national and international artists and companies of the highest quality by offering comprehensive arts education programs, by providing a Palm Beach County home for local and regional arts organizations to showcase their work; and by providing an economic catalyst and community leadership in West Palm Beach, supporting efforts to increase travel and tourism to Palm Beach County. For information, please visit

*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates, and times are subject to change without notice. Visit for up-to-date information.

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