Columbia University in the City of New York

May 20, 202312:00 pm
Performance and Dialogue

Harlem International Film Festival

A day of screenings and conversations, featuring short and feature-length documentaries on a variety of topics.

May 20th, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm at The Forum at Columbia University

Register here


The Harlem International Film Festival and the Zuckerman Institute invite you to a day of film and conversation. Check out one film, or stay for all five.


Local Favorites
Three Short Documentaries
: 12-1pm

     Uptown Oasis

     Harlem Is Nowhere

     Marjorie Eliot's Parlor Entertainment Harlem

Blind Eye Artist: 1:30-3:30 pm

The Right to Read: 4-5:45 pm 


Learn more about the films:


Local Favorites: Three short documentaries that turn a lens on Harlem.

Uptown Oasis: A Short Documentary - In 2004, Abdi Abajabal came to the United States from Ethiopia. In 2012, he decided to start a healthy juice shop in Harlem with only five hundred dollars to his name. Ten years later, he is still going. Directed, Filmed and Edited by Ian Phillips.

Harlem Is Nowhere -This experimental documentary essay inspired by the visions of Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison is a reflection on the development and later gentrification of Black Harlem. Written and directed by Akil Gibbons.

Marjorie Eliot’s Parlor Entertainment Harlem - Every Saturday for the past thirty years, Marjorie Eliot has opened her doors to the public, offering a free jazz and theatre concert from her apartment in Harlem. Produced and Directed by John Decker.

Doors open at 12:00 pm.


Blind Eye Artist - After a tragic accident left him blind in his left eye at age 5, Justin Wadlington developed a unique artistic ability without any formal art training. In spite of growing up without parents during a turbulent childhood in inner city Philadelphia, he taught himself how to paint on canvas and over the years gained notoriety on social media, eventually selling his artwork to world-famous celebrities and art collectors. The film follows Wadlington through the trials and tribulations of being an artist during the unprecedented times of 2020-2021. Directed by Ashwin Chaudhary. Immediately following the film, we will have a talkback with the subject of the documentary Justin Wadlington, artist and synesthete Manon Casimir-Sainton (aka Sleepyfoot?), and neuroscientist and philosopher Paul Linton.

Doors open at 1:15 pm.


The Right to Read - The stories of a courageous NAACP activist, a teacher, and two American families, who fight to provide our youngest generation with the most foundational indicator of life-long success: the ability to read. Immediately following the film, we will have a talkback with director Jenny Mackenzie, learning specialist Lisa Woody, and mothers of the two families featured in the film, Teresa Hunter and Melinda Staples. *This will be the New York City premiere.* 

Doors open at 3:50 pm.

This Film Series is a collaboration between The Harlem International Film Festival (Hi) and Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute.

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