DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Hayti community is the foundation of Black history in Durham.

It’s also where organizers of the Hayti Heritage Film Festival said they work to cultivate and celebrate black excellence.

“This film festival shows our people of that community, and not just the Hayti community itself, but Durham, the south, that we are important. And that our stories are important,” said Tyra Dixon, Hayti Films festival co-director.

Since the 1990s the Hayti Heritage Film Festival has been an event that showcases Black storytelling.

“What is different now, over the past five years a shift has been made so that we still forefront Black filmmakers, but it’s Black southern filmmakers. The emphasis being on southern. The southern-ness of it all is both the U.S. south and the global south,” explained Lana Garland, festival co-director for Hayti Films.

At the core of the festival are short films that are shown.

With this year’s event just weeks away, organizers with Hayti Films said their goal is also to provide access to people looking to get into the film business.

“We have workshops like producing towards equity. Karama Horne, who is known as theblerdgurl on TikTok and online and all socials, has been the first Black woman who has been hired by Marvel to write an anthology of comic books. She’ll be teaching a workshop,” Garland said.

However, Garland also said Hayti Films wants to continue to provide opportunities year-round.

“Ultimately, the dream is to have a workforce development program. So, that we can go to (N.C. Central University) and tap the music department and say, are there people who want to learn sound recording? Tap the accounting department and say, are there any people who want to learn line producing,” said Garland.

The festival kicks off on March 6 and runs through March 11.

Film Festival link – Festival – Hayti Films