Deep in the Heart Film Festival announces 'Reel Stories: A Black Film Showcase' at Art Center Waco

Deep in the Heart Film Festival has joined with community partners to present a series of three films spotlighting the Black experience
Reel Stories: A Black Film Showcase
Unfinished Business
A Most Beautiful Thing
Posted at 11:31 AM, Oct 19, 2022

WACO — Deep in the Heart Film Festival announces "Reel Stories: A Black Film Showcase" - Three nights of documentaries spotlighting the black experience

Deep in the Heart Film Festival has joined with community partners to present a series of three films accompanied by food, performances, art, and guided conversation on the black lived experience - November 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, 7:00 pm at Art Center Waco.

Bringing this free event together are Art Center Waco, Creative Waco, Deep in the Heart Film Festival, Waco Family Medicine, Waco Rowing Club, and County Commissioner Patricia Chisolm Miller.

“This event is a great opportunity to experience three excellent and thought-provoking films and share food and conversation with those directly involved. By bringing partners together from the worlds of culture, media, sport, education, and healthcare, there is relevance for everyone, and we can get curious together about how we are each impacted by the real stories behind the ‘reel stories’.” Fiona Bond, ED of Creative Waco.

Included in the showcase are a pair of highly acclaimed documentary films as well as a locally produced ethnographic and scientific research film. These films all offer a unique perspective and approach and all screenings are open to the public. Adding flavor to the evenings will be Black-owned businesses such as Sascees and Tru Jamaica. Attendees will also enjoy an exhibition at Art Center Waco presented by Blaccent, as well as live music performances.

The event is free, though donations are welcome. As space is limited, attendees are strongly encouraged to secure their place by registering at


Unfinished Business
Wednesday, November 2nd
Art Center Waco
Doors open at 7pm, film begins at 7:30

Weaving the oral history of African American elders from historic Black churches and communities with personal diaries, photos, letters, and even music, Unfinished Business calls audiences to remember our past and consider our “unfinished business” related to racial identity, race relations, and systemic racism. This screening will also be uniquely scientific where audiences can participate in shaping the storyline by sharing their reactions to the film. Stephanie Boddie from Baylor University’s School of Social Work, School of Education and Truett Seminary is the creator of the film.

“Storytelling helps us encounter new experiences, connects us with the realities of diverse people, or moves our debates to conversations. Unfinished Business invites us to immerse ourselves in the stories of African American elders with moments to pause to consider our own stories. I hope you will come prepared to consider ways to bring our stories together to explore our unfinished business on race.” Dr. Stephanie C. Boddie, Baylor University, Assistant professor of Church and Community Ministries.

Live music, light refreshments from Sascees and a talkback with Dr. Boddie and McLennan County Precinct 2 Commissioner Patricia Chisolm Miller will accompany the film.

A Most Beautiful Thing
Thursday, November 3rd
Art Center Waco

Doors open at 7pm, film begins at 7:30

Winner of a 2021 Gracie Award, nominated by the NAACP for an Image Award, nominated by the Critics’ Choice Association (for Best Sports Documentary), nominated by the International Press Academy (for Best Documentary), and named one of the best films of 2020 by Esquire, A Most Beautiful Thing is narrated by the Academy Award/Grammy-winning artist, Common; executive produced by NBA Stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder; and directed by award-winning filmmaker (and Olympic rower) Mary Mazzio. The film chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country (made up of young men, many of whom were in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago), all coming together to row in the same boat. Based on the memoir by Arshay Cooper.

“The life lessons and learning offered to his team as high schoolers on the East Side of Chicago never left, and positively impacted Arshay and his boat mates for the rest of their lives. We are honored to have Arshay here presenting his film as we are grateful for his direct involvement in the growing youth rowing scene and upcoming November 6th regatta.” Waco Rowing Center Executive Director Matt Scheuritzel.

Screening in conjunction with Waco Rowing Regatta. Live music, light refreshments from Tru Jamaica and Q&A with the subject of the film, Arshay Cooper, scheduled after the film.

Friday, November 4th
Art Center Waco
Doors open at 7pm, film begins at 7:30

Following the deaths of two young women due to childbirth complications, two bereaved families galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing American crises today: the US maternal health crisis. Through the film, we witness these two Black families become ardent activists in the maternal health space, seeking justice through legislation, medical accountability, community, and the power of art.

Aftershock was SXSW Official Selection, Sundance winner Sundance Film Festival winner, U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change, Full Frame Film Festival: Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights

“I’m thrilled that we have the opportunity to bring Aftershock - such an important and timely film - to Waco. The US maternal mortality rate saw a noticeable increase during the pandemic with the number increasing dramatically for Black women specifically. In the most technologically and medically advanced country in the world, giving birth should never be a death sentence. Aftershock highlights not only that tragic reality, but also the resilience of families, and a community, coming together to shed light on this issue.” Darius Ewing, Arts Collaborator and Former Waco City Council, District IV Representative.

Filmmaker scheduled to attend. Conversation with Waco Family Medicine to follow. Light refreshments provided. Cash bar available.

Films and Food
It is important to us to support Black owned businesses in this venture, so each evening we’ll get a little taste from different local restaurants and caterers.

Light refreshments each evening provided by:

This film screening is in conjunction with"Safety Is" - an exhibition featuring a collection of visual arts from Central Texas’s finest creators.This temporary exhibit merges art with activism, as community members offer their perspective on current events and its evolving structures.

”This exhibition was curated by Blaccent, a newly formed, aspiring non-profit organization based in Waco,TX. Our focus on marginalized Black and Brown communities throughout the city, and fighting against racial injustice

Beautiful sounds filling the air, filling our souls. Enjoy live music performed by Central Texas artists.

Scheduled to perform:
Dr. Stephanie Boddie (live performance to accompany her film)
Sean Anderson
Smooth Nature

About Deep in the Heart Film Festival
Recently named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of “20 Great Festivals for First-Time Moviemakers” and consistently ranking in FilmFreeway’s Top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals in the World, Deep in the Heart Film Festival (DitHFF) brings our Central Texas community together through independent film. Established in 2016, we engage audiences with films from major festivals and Texas talent. We build networks and careers through our industry education and promotion. Add in some chips & salsa with our own DitHFF magic, and we create one of the most unique experiences on the festival circuit. For more information visit

www.deepintheheartff.com, and follow us on Facebook.com and Instagram.com

About Art Center Waco
Art Center Waco is a nonprofit art exhibition and education space located in Waco, Texas. We are a creative force in our community for teaching, displaying, promoting, and preserving vital, diverse visual arts that enrich and inspire us all. To support Art Center Waco, please visit https://www.artcenterwaco.org/donate.

About Creative Waco
Creative Waco is a nonprofit organization with a mission to grow and support a thriving cultural and creative community in Waco and McLennan County, Texas. As Waco and McLennan County's arts agency, Creative Waco works to develop successful strategies for growing and supporting our cultural and creative community. It provides a platform for "joined up thinking," allowing community members to set goals, access new funding, evaluate the impact and identify needs.

This event is supported by a National Endowment for the Arts American Rescue Plan grant from Creative Waco.