The Black Sea

Bulgaria | 2024 | 93 min. | Crystal Moselle, Derrick B. Harden

Crystal Moselle (The Wolfpack, Skate Kitchen) returns with another blast of charismatic energy, as Khalid (co-director Derrick B. Harden) travels to coastal Bulgaria for a work opportunity, only to be left high, dry, and the only Black man in sight. Based on a true story.

Co-Directors Crystal Moselle and Derrick Harden scheduled to attend.

“[A] cinematic slam poem about how shattered dreams lead people to become castaways, or refugees, or immigrants, far from their place of origin. [...] Everyone here, from in front of and behind the camera, is discovering life in real time.”—Ryan Lattanzio, indieWire

Khalid, a charismatic New Yorker hustling for cash, finds himself trapped in a coastal Bulgarian town alone, with no money or passport, and the only Black man in sight. When his family and friends refuse to bail him out for the umpteenth time, he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. He starts talking to any stranger on the street who speaks English and might offer him a job and along the way, Khalid goes from stranger to quasi-mayor as he charms everyone he encounters. Crystal Moselle remains one of the most interesting directors to watch in American independent cinema. First at the festival in 2015 with unfathomably true The Wolfpack and again in 2018 with her narrative debut Skate Kitchen (which was adapted into the criminally too short HBO series “Betty”), her background in documentary and vérité approach always gives her films a raw authenticity. Now, paired with the endlessly captivating Derrick B. Harden (who co-directs and stars in the film), the two work seamlessly in tandem to craft a tender story around Harden’s personal experiences.

—Megan Leonard

  • Director: Crystal Moselle, Derrick B. Harden
  • Principal Cast: Derrick B. Harden, Irmena Chichikova, Samuel Finzi, Stoyo Mirkov
  • Country: Bulgaria, United States
  • Year: 2024
  • Running Time: 93 min.
  • Producer: Izabella Tzenkova, Crystal Moselle
  • Cinematographers: Jackson Hunt
  • Editors: Anastas Petkov
  • Music: Charles Moselle, Derrick B. Harden
  • Filmography: Moselle: Sophia (Doc, 2022), Skate Kitchen (2018), The Wolfpack (Doc, 2015); Harden: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: English, Bulgarian
  • Has Subtitles: Yes