Floyd Rance, co-founder of the annual African American Film Festival, describes it as an event that grandmothers can happily attend with their teenage grandsons.

“The whole thing has a kind of family reunion, homecoming vibe,” Mr. Rance said.

This is the 13th year for the festival, which this year will take root on the Vineyard from August 10 through August 15. Most screenings will take place at the Performing Arts Center at the regional high school and include feature films, documentaries and short films produced by and starring African Americans from across the world.

There will also be lots of parties, including an opening night reception on August 10 followed by a documentary about Mavis Staples to be screened at Edgartown Cinemas at 6:30 p.m.

Mr. Rance said the festival is inspired by the need to explore and open minds, and he hopes to build interaction between societal groups, generations and creators of the arts. “It creates an opportunity for people to travel,” he said.

Mr. Rance said that one film he is particularly excited about is Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band, a documentary about a jazz composer, pianist and arranger in the 1930s.

“She was a go-getter,” he said. “But still, she was unsung.”

Mr. Rance said the films are meant to be conversation generators, but the content itself isn’t on “high moral ground.” And yet it still has the possibility of changing lives.

For a full list of films and events, visit mvaaff.com.