Filmmaker’s debut doc explores what it’s like to be black in Austin


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Capital City Black Film Festival kicks off Thursday with a lineup of at least 70 feature-length and short films screening through Saturday.

The 6th-annual events brings together filmmakers from the U.S., U.K., Canada, South Africa, France and Brazil. 

One of the filmmakers, Charlotte Moore, founder of Moore Media, is screening her first-ever documentary, “Black Bodies,” which features 16 people telling their stories of what it’s like to be black in America and in Austin. 

Moore, an Austin native, wants people to stop and listen to what her interviewees have to say about their experiences. 

“When we think about black issues we tend to immediately go to things like police brutality, slavery and lynchings, overt racism, KKK,” she said. “What we don’t think about so much are the day to day things that happen to people.”

For Tia Williams, one of the people featured in the film, those day-to-day things are what make Austin feel “lonely” for people like her, despite the city’s reputation as welcoming for everyone.

She remembered the controversial marketing brochure from the Domain Northside that circulated online this summer. It described the development’s “quintessential” shopper as someone who was “well-heeled,” owned multiple luxury vehicles, and was likely to describe herself as “Anglo, Jewish, or Asian.”

“Without necessarily saying it as boldly as that brochure said it,” Williams said, “certain things and certain microaggressions towards people of color or black people kind of let you know that this city is not for you.”

She hopes the film encourages people to stop and listen.

“If a black person is telling you what their experiences are, don’t dismiss it,” she said. “If we’re saying it, and if 16 people in a film who don’t know each other all connect the exact same dots, then that should be enough to tell you that what we’re going through is true.”

Moore produced the project over the course of three months from spring to early summer, all with donations from friends and family to help her travel from Corpus Christi, where she now lives, to Austin to conduct interviews.

She plans to produce a book and interview series to go along with it and hopes to attract sponsors to help fund those aspects of the production.

The goal for her is to raise the consciousness of people in Austin and around the country, encouraging them to think about people who are different from themselves. It’s a step, she believes, toward bridging racial divides and fostering understanding.

“We’re here,” Moore said. “We’re not going anywhere, so I’m going to try to do what I can with the talents I have to get us closer to that utopia.”

“Black Bodies” premieres Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the CCBFF. For those who can’t attend the festival, Moore is working with the Alamo Drafthouse to organize a screening in September.

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