Arts & Culture

First-Ever Honey Chile Fest to Celebrate Black Women and Femmes in Film

Honoring the talent of Black filmmakers over 40, the one-day event will feature a live podcast, Q&A's, and curated films inspired by or about Baltimore.

Nia Hampton, the visionary behind the Baltimore-founded Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest (BFSFilmFest), has ignited a movement aimed at addressing the longstanding void in opportunities for queer, Black, and femme filmmakers.

A poignant illustration of this work was on display when Tender, a film by Baltimore native TV writer, producer, and award-winning filmmaker Felicia Pride, graced the screens of BFSFilmFest in 2020. Pride also serves as the founder of Honey Chile—an independent media and production company championing Black women over 40.

Now, drawing from their shared roots in Baltimore, the two are launching the inaugural Honey Chile Fest at Enoch Pratt’s Central Library on Saturday, August 19—a one-day event from 1-5 p.m. that will celebrate the work of Black femmes and Black women over 40, or “honeys,” as organizers lovingly call them. 

Similar to this weekend’s New/Next Film Festival, Honey Chile Fest will fill part of the void left by the Maryland Film Festival, which is taking a hiatus this summer. While she’s not bringing back BFSFilmFest in its classic form, Hampton is looking forward to presenting a new event to the creative community.

“While BFSFilmFest encountered a pause this year, we’ve channeled our efforts into productive collaborations and thoughtfully curated screenings in alignment with various organizations,” she says. “But, throughout this transition, our unwavering dedication to fostering creative connections and uplifting Black femmes remains steadfast.”

Both Hampton and Pride carry the legacy of the women who have shaped their lives in Baltimore—mothers, aunts, nieces, and the diverse community around them. This is evident in the choice of Hampton’s mother, Sheila Gaskins, a local comedian and actress, as the host for Honey Chile Fest.

The fest will kick off with the first-ever live recording of Pride’s NAACP-nominated podcast, Chile Please, with co-host Ivy Grant and local multi-hyphenate Ty Alexander.

“The intention is to honor and amplify the unique perspectives and voices of honeys, while maintaining a strong emphasis on nurturing local talent within Baltimore,” says Pride, a Towson University alum who has written for television shows like Queen Sugar and Grey’s Anatomy. “That’s why we invited Ty Alexander, a proud Baltimore resident, to contribute to this vibrant exchange. Through our storytelling, we aim to weave together the intergenerational narratives of honeys, embracing both past and present experiences.”

During the latter half of the day, the essence of Hampton’s BFSFilmFest will shine through with “Defining Baltimore,” a curated collection of screenings that share the experiences of Black women and femmes in the city.

The block will include BodyMore by Darren Mallet and Shannon Shird, 769 W. Saratoga by Uni Q. Mical, and the premiere of Pride’s Look Back at Ita short starring Charm City’s own Angel Laketa Moore which follows a forty-something single mother who rediscovers her passion with the help of her teenage daughter. Following the debut, a panel discussion moderated by social changemaker Jess Solomon-DaCosta will include local cinematographer Kirby Griffin, the film’s director of photography, as well as local actresses Natalie Carter and Toi Goodman.

“The genesis of ‘Defining Baltimore’ was prompted by a pivotal question: how can we intertwine the narratives of films set in Baltimore to stimulate engaging dialogues?” Hampton says. 

With music provided by DJ Ty Alexander, the festival’s official after-party at Le Mondo will provide further opportunities for attendees to celebrate, support, and collaborate with Black femmes in Baltimore’s film scene. 

“The essence of BFSFilmFest has always embodied the convergence of global and local influences in the uniquely creative realm of Baltimore,” Hampton says. “The city’s vibrant film scene provides a wellspring of inspiration.”