Columbus Native and Filmmaker to Host First Columbus Black International Film Festival

For Immediate Release: June 13, 2017



Cristyn Steward

Columbus Native and Filmmaker to Host First Columbus Black International Film Festival

Columbus Black International Film Festival will highlight a spectrum of stories told by artists of the African diaspora.

COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus native and filmmaker, Cristyn Steward will host the first Columbus Black International Film Festival (CBIFF) August 4-6 2017 at Columbus’ own Wexner Center for the Arts and Columbus College of Art and Design. The film festival will showcase local, national, and international stories from the African diaspora in the city of Columbus.

CBIFF will premiere at the Wexner Center for the Arts featuring local filmmaker Mark Cummings Sr. as a keynote speaker, with two short films; Dr. Race: Practicing Medicine while Black and Heroes of Color: Harlem Hellfighters; and feature film Holy Hustle followed by a networking reception for filmmakers. The festival will continue the following day at the Columbus College of Art and Design. The day will include film screenings, a workshop about making a good film taught by local sci-fi filmmaker Celia Peters, and a panel discussion featuring various media and representation professionals.

Cristyn Steward is a Columbus native and seasoned filmmaker with many years of experience in the industry. Steward’s expertise and vision gave her the inspiration to host an event for the city of Columbus to get to know artist in her hometown that truly give a meaning to visionary art.

The Columbus Black International Film Festival has received support from well-renowned organizations in the arts community including the Wexner Center for Arts and the Greater Columbus Arts Council as well support from Stonewall Columbus and Equitas Health. There are plans to invite multiple local businesses and organizations to be a part of this event as a way to showcase to attendees all that Columbus has to offer.

The primary objective of the festival is to showcase black filmmakers locally, nationally, and internationally while creating an opportunity to network with various artists in the filmmaking community.

For more information, contact Cristyn Steward at


The Columbus Black International Film Festival

Well, I promised you a secret.  Black Chick Media is happy to announce our partnership with the first annual Columbus Black International Film Festival!  To say we’re excited would be putting it mildly.  Given our longstanding relationships with film festivals across the country, we’re excited to be able to lend our services to a festival that is homegrown.

Created by Columbus based filmmaker Cristyn Steward, CBIFF’s primary objective is to showcase Black filmmakers locally, nationally and internationally while, highlighting a spectrum of stories told by people of the African diaspora.  The festival will also provide an advantage for filmmakers and the community to learn about the film industry through educational workshops and panel discussions, a safe space to showcase film and an opportunity to network with the filmmakers in the city.

Columbus is the heart of America and home to some of the most creative Black filmmakers in the country. CBIFF will showcase new and emerging talent as well as talent that has represented the city for years.

Make sure you follow CBIFF on Twitter, Instagram and FaceBook to keep up to date.

August 4-6, we’ll see you there.





Be Inspired: Hollie Davis

Tell us about yourself

I am so young when I tell people what I have done they call me a superwoman. I always pause because I’m too young to know the trajectory of my womanhood. I am somewhat angered by this because it has reflected back to me that all I am is the scope of what I can do. This has cultivated a reputation to many people who have only heard of me but not heard from me. I am curious, relentless, compassionate,contradictory, honest, loyal, and creative.

How, why and when did you decide to become an artist? What was the process? Do you have a studio in which you work? How can someone purchase your art?

I’ve had three studios by the age of 21 which is a compliment to Denison and my family which have allowed me the solace I need. I have been an artist since I was four. My process is as Susan Sontag characterizes some creatives an “image junkie”, I search google, magazines and libraries for images and take photos. Looking for images act as touchstones to offer insight to how my creativity is working at the moment and the story I want to tell. I am currently working on getting a website.  In the meantime, if you want to follow me, hit me up on IG: hdavis_est1994.

Tell us about the best part of your work

The simultaneous isolation from reality and immersion with reality. I have to deal with reality as an emotional stimulus but I love to immerse my brain in the peace that comes with creation. I love the way art is international people from all over the world and multilingual have seen my work and they all can communicate with me because artwork is my bridge. I consider myself an unqualified cultural diplomat in the ways my art creates connections I do not expect or seek out. It is the greatest blessing of my short life.

What is your market? Who is your audience?

My market are people who love stories and are looking for both complexity and synchronicity in artwork.

What do you hope to achieve?

Making art for a lifetime and having my own safe space to do so. After graduating I’d love an entry level job in cultural tourism, parks and recreation that sort of thing. I’d like to attend potentially the University of Weimar in Germany and study in their Public art, urban studies, and architecture program.

What is the long-term vision for your art? For Life? Do you partner with artists and events in your markets?

I do I have done work for Aunt Flow and Planned Parenthood. My long term vision is to create art for organizations that have public art or social good missions. I’ve partnered with one group to design t-shirts and done coloring sheets for Planned Parenthood. Also I’d love to travel a lot even if it means being broke 90% of the time; I feel that’s what
the twenties are like regardless.

Who were you most excited about working with? What is the best experience you’ve had
working with a client?

I worked with a mother of an epilepsy patient and did a jewelry box, and she was just very resilient and saw so much value in my art. I also loved participating in the recent exhibition “Promise for Peace”at the Southside community arts center. I discussed
domestic violence as a little discussed subject when the topic of world peace is brought up.

Do you have another “daytime” job in addition to your art? What is it?

I’m taking a semester off of school because I’m a workaholic and I feel like a trapped puppy. My work ethic is attached to my ego so I feel a little inhibited right now. I am working as a “niece” to Aunt flow a social enterprise that donates a box of tampons for every box sold, pre-sales start 10/20 and I have been doing outreach in Chicago and Ohio for the company.

How do feel about the Black Lives Matter Movement? What can we as Black artists, activists and creatives do to help?

Disappointed, because I think black joy matters more. Think supporting black professionals black owned businesses. I mean a black kid will take a selfie 500
likes, black kid starts a business in college zero calls. We as a people are not good at introducing each other and building community but are good at sharing pain.

Do you see today as a new Civil Rights Movement?

Absolutely which is why it’s natural for me to feel frustrated it’s there for our taking.

Would you call your art revolutionary? Why or why not?

When reading bell hooks on her book of art criticism a few months back “Art on My Mind: Visual Politics”, She claims that black women making art is revolutionary because one can’t eat art. Even though I find my art political because 70% of the curating gallery owning establishment does not look like me. I am more interested in the subversively political. Things that are contentious in their interpretation is usually my goal revolution isn’t black and white so why should my artwork be?
What does it mean to you to live on your own terms? How do you cope when things may seem particularly difficult?

No one gets to live on their own terms. I cope by isolating myself and work. I do try to connect with people over mutual interests especially if for the other party it’s a passion of theirs.

How does one become and remain active in the Columbus creative community? Do you find it welcoming?

I really haven’t done a ton. But it has been more welcoming than almost any other community I’ve known as a creative. I also brought my best self and was in a good state of mind to meet people when I made those connections.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead, or alive, who would it be, and what would you say? Why?

Melissa Harris Perry “Did you get my email?”; Kerry James Marshall “Can you tell me how you are able to create just tonal variations”; Frida Kahlo “I hope you find peace”

Who is your inspiration/role model?

I’m constantly inspired too many to name some have inspired me and then fallen out of relevancy so I can’t really answer that.

What are your passions?

Art, story-telling, research, outreach
Define yourself in one word
Thank you Hollie. It has been both an honor and a privilege speaking with you. (Interview in 2016.  Hollie has since returned to school at Denison University)