The Denton Black Film Festival officially starts Friday, Jan. 26 with two venues worth of screenings.
But organizers are already serving up appetizers for the festival's third year.
The festival joined a crew of University of North Texas student filmmakers to open an exhibit related to a media project called "Freedman Town 2.0," an augmented reality project, at UNT on the Square, a downtown gallery space.
The exhibit opens Monday, Jan. 8 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 3.
Freedman Town 2.0 allows people to wander the original freedman town — where Quakertown Park stands today — using a smartphone app to watch videos and read information about the self-sufficient town of former slaves who settled in the middle of Denton. City officials forced the community — with it's shops, clinic and homes — to relocate to Southeast Denton in the 1920s. Descendants of Quakertown residents are among those interviewed for the videos in the project.
Students from Carla LynDale Carter-Bishop's new media class researched and created the augmented reality tour last summer. The exhibit is a sort of sample of the walking tour of the former site. Patrons will get instructions on the app, and when they hold their smartphone up to the large photographs of the historical communities, it will launch a video explaining the image.
Carter-Bishop has done similar projects over the years in other black communities.
"A lot of times their stories go unwritten and not told by the people who were there," she said. "The biggest thing I want for people in the southeast Denton community is to see images of themselves hanging on the walls and feel inspired. I want them to feel that pride and celebrate it."
Denton Black Film Festival and UNT will host two panel discussions at the exhibit. The first is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11 and the second is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. Both discussions are at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
FEATURED IMAGE: Valorie Buentello, left, grins as UNT film students set up a video shoot with Place 1 City Council member Gerard Hudspeth. The students and councilman were making a video that will be able to be viewed by cellphone users touring Quakertown Park. An augmented reality platform will map users as they walk through the park, and videos or digital media will tell the story of the historical black settlement. The community was expelled from their land when city leaders wanted to create a town park. (Courtesy photo)