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Pioneers of African American Cinema

A collection of the earliest African American films, celebrating the work of our nation’s groundbreaking filmmakers.

Thanks to the generous support of Donna and Larry James, Ingram White Castle Foundation, and Columbus City Council, Pioneers of African American Cinema returns for programming throughout 2024. This year’s program showcases a new selection of film restorations from Kino Lorber’s celebrated collection, featuring rarely screened works from a long-neglected chapter of American film history.

Additional financial support provided by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Tom and Mary Katzenmeyer, Amundsen Davis and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.

“Fascinating cinematic history… A look at independent cinema before that term came [to exist]” – The Boston Herald

Opening Night

On Thursday, February 1st, the Film Center will present the opening night selection, Richard E. Norman’s only surviving film The Flying Ace (1929), with live accompaniment by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

This is a private screening. To learn more about organization or individual sponsorship opportunities, please contact us at

The 2024 Line-up

Reserve your seats for our 2024 Pioneers of African American Cinema selections.

Gateway Film Foundation, a 501(c)(3), receives year-round support from Ohio Arts Council, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Campus Partners, The Columbus Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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