Arts & Culture

A New Film Festival Premieres In Houston’s Historic Fifth Ward

This weekend, Texas Southern University and The DeLuxe Theter will host the first-ever Fifth Ward Documentary Film Festival.


Jolie Rocke Brown is not only one of the organizers of the Fifth Ward Documentary Film Festival, but she also appears in one of the films: Porgy and Me, a documentary about African American opera singers who travel the world performing Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. It's a film that she felt needed to be included.

“I thought it would be really important and inspirational to share this with our community, especially young people, because a lot of people, you know, don't see opera as a genre or a career that's viable for African Americans, and that is so untrue. And I can say that because I'm in the movie, and I'm actually a professional opera singer!”

The opera singer is also Texas Southern University's Visiting Associate Professor of Music and the Interim Managing Director of The DeLuxe Theater, where the screenings of three documentaries will take place, followed by discussions.

Professor Rocke Brown hopes the festival will generate more awareness of the historic venue, which dates back to 1941 and was restored and reopened as a community arts space in 2015. And she hopes more attention will be brought to the revitalization of the historic black neighborhood, located just northeast of downtown Houston.

"We want people to come out and be excited about what the theater has to offer and what this area has to offer."

The festival will also screen Mickey Leland: Citizen of the World, a new documentary about the late, inconic African American Texas congressman, and the recent Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro.

With plans to bring back the festival annually, Rocke Brown notes, "It's my hope that we are inspired to continue to keep our eyes open to dialogue and conversation about what it means to be black in America, and that we can inspire new leadership from our young people, especially.”

The Fifth Ward Documentary Film Festival is free to the public and runs Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6 at The DeLuxe Theater.

Hear the complete interview with Jolie Rocke Brown below:


Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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