Past Film/Video | Contemporary Screen

Art Unites Cbus Film Awards


An image of Sterling Carter, Cristyn Steward, and Donte Woods-Spikes

We’re proud to partner with the Greater Columbus Arts Council and Film Columbus to host the online premiere of the three films created by recipients of the Art Unites Cbus (AUC) Film Awards. This important project provided cash awards to Black filmmakers to make new short films in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in Columbus.

In the wake of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, the Greater Columbus Arts Council and Film Columbus, with the generous support of the American Electric Power Foundation, put out a call to Black photographers and filmmakers in Franklin County to make works in response to the protests, which have continued following the recent murders of Casey Goodson and André Hill. 

Cristyn Steward, Donte Woods-Spikes, and Sterling Carter were selected from a pool of applicants. Each recipient received an award of $5,000 to make a short film (3-5 minutes) in any genre. Panelists for the award included curator and cultural organizer La Tanya Autry; photographer Vandell Cobb; American Electric Power Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Charles Patton; visual artist, researcher, and educator Dawit L. Petros; and freelance writer, producer and director Gabriel Tolliver.

The final films include a dramatic narrative and two documentaries and are available to stream below.

Program lineup

As a Matter of Black
(Donte Woods-Spikes, 2020)

Preceded by an interview with director Donte Woods-Spikes.

“With this project I plan to show the different aspects of an everyday Columbus activist and artist healing themselves and others around them. The media usually only shows one part of the story, I want to tell the whole story,” notes Woods-Spikes.

In 2020, Columbus, Ohio, joined in solidarity with the nation in a global demonstration against injustices. The documentary As a Matter of Black, created by Donte Woods-Spikes, displays how some of Columbus's most known artists and activists work to spread awareness and healing.  
Adrienne Hood became an activist after her son was killed in a highly controversial shooting with Columbus Police. After seeing the healing capabilities of master artist Richard "Duarte" Brown, Adrienne and Duarte hosted a private night of healing through art for families grieving the loss of their loved ones. Ohio State graduate of the arts Francesca Miller discusses her contribution of murals to the #artunitescolumbus campaign while activist Stacey Little speaks on the removal of Christopher Columbus statues. (17 mins., digital video)

Blue Rebellion
(Cristyn Steward, 2020)

Preceded by an interview with director Cristyn Steward.

"These protests were not just about Black bodies being murdered in 2020, but all Black lives since Emmett Till," says Steward.

After watching her father die at the hands of the police, Desiree Reynolds joins the police force to be the change within the system.  (10 mins., digital video)

Our Voices: the Sounds of the Silenced
(Sterling Carter, 2020)

Preceded by an interview with director Sterling Carter.

“I want to create this documentary for a group that has not always been shown the love, respect, and thanks they deserve—this is my way of doing so. After viewing the film, I hope that the audience feels a deeper love and appreciation for black women and their unmatched determination. I also hope that they feel challenged and encouraged to find ways to join in the fight because while everyone’s protest may look different, they are all meaningful,” says Carter.

Black women have a painful history of being overlooked, marginalized, and silenced. Our Voices: the Sounds of the Silenced features thought-provoking perspectives from talented Black women who, through pain, are motivated to use their gifts as a voice to protest injustices. Their call to action fosters a nation that is more loving, kind, and just. In order to transform communities for the greater good and well-being of all, it is imperative to plot a new path forward by listening to the Sounds of the Silenced.  (13 mins., digital video)

The Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC)
Film Columbus

The Art Unites Cbus Photography and Film Awards project was made possible through the generous support of the American Electric Power Foundation, the City of Columbus, The Ohio State University, Ohio State Energy Partners, Engie, Axium Infrastructure, Huntington, Cardinal Health, Sherwin-Williams.

Cardinal Health
Kaufman Development

Rohauer Collection Foundation

Greater Columbus Arts Council
L Brands Foundation
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Adam R. Flatto
Arlene and Michael Weiss

Michael and Paige Crane
Axium Plastics
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Ohio State Energy Partners
Washington Prime Group
Lisa M. Barton
Nancy Kramer
Paramount Group, Inc.
Business Furniture Installations
E.C. Provini Co., Inc.
New England Development
Our Country Home


Past Film/Video

Art Unites Cbus Film Awards