THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 7:00pm
Opening Night Film
Inspired by militant black leaders like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, a new, radicalized generation of civil rights activists made up of young college students, Vietnam vets, musicians, and intellectuals emerged in Memphis in 1967. The Invaders espoused Black Power and, when pushed, did not limit themselves to non-violence. The Invaders uncovers the history and significance of the often- overlooked group, detailing their surprising behind- the-scenes involvement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the pivotal days leading up to his assassination. Running time: 76 min. Directed by Prichard Smith. Director and cast will be in attendance. Introduced by Wendi Moore-O'Neal. Discussion to follow film.
Sponsored by IATSE local 473. Featured organizations: BYP100, Take ‘em Down Nola, STAND With Dignity, ACLU of Louisiana.
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 9:00pm Opening Night Party – Free with purchase of opening night ticket or festival pass. 2435 Esplanade Avenue.
Sooner or Later, Somebody's Gonna Fight Back
FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 7:00pm
Sooner or Later, Somebody’s Gonna Fight Back is the first documentary film to chronicle the history and political development of the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Using rare archival footage, photos, news articles, flyers, personal narratives, and more, this multimedia project explores radical organizing in New Orleans—while examining the untold struggles and experiences of Black Panther members who envisioned a more just New Orleans in the early 1970s. This trailer is a work in progress from 2002, with a full length to come. Running time: 12 minutes. Directed by Brice White and Shana griffin.
Emory Douglas: The Art of the Black Panthers
A portrait of art used as a revolutionary weapon, through the story of Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture for The Black Panther Party. (8 min.)
Featured organization: McKenna Museum of African American Art, Hidden History LLC, Neighborhood Story Project
FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 8:30pm
MAJOR! is a documentary film exploring the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. At the heart of MAJOR! is a social justice framework that puts the subjects at the center of their story. MAJOR! was produced in collaboration with Miss Major, the film’s participants, and a transPOC Community Advisory Board to ensure that these stories, which are so often marginalized, exoticized, or played for tragic drama, retain the agency and humanity of those who tell them. Miss Major is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, an elder, and a community leader and human rights activist. She is simply “Mama” to many in her community. If history is held within us, embodied in our loves and losses, then Miss Major is a living library, a resource for generations to come to more fully understand the rich heritage of the Queer Rights movement that is so often whitewashed and rendered invisible. Running time: 80 minutes. Directed by Annalise Ophelian. Discussion featuring Director Annalise Ophelian, producer StormMiguel Florez, and staff and members of BreakOUT! and TGIJP (Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project)..
Cosponsored by New Orleans Film Society.
Featured organizations: Breakout!, Black & Pink, New Orleans Film Society.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 7:00pm
Despite a tangle of roadblocks and checkpoints, a thriving street car racing scene has emerged in the West Bank. Held at improvised tracks – a vegetable market, an old helicopter pad, a security academy – the races offer a release from the pressures and uncertainties of life under military occupation. The Speed Sisters are the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, SPEED SISTERS takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could. Running time: 80 minutes. Directed by Amber Fares. Director will be in attendance. Discussion to follow film.
Featured organizations: New Orleans Video Access Center, New Orleans Palestine Solidarity Committee.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 9:00pm
Born out of a desire to give voice to a historically marginalized and criminalized workforce, The Red Umbrella Diaries turns the spotlight on seven diverse New Yorkers as they each tell personal stories about their experiences as sex workers. At turns provocative, illuminating, hilarious and empowering, their stories lay bare the realities of an often-maligned industry and each one’s complex relationship to their work. Running time: 99 minutes. Directed by David Kornfield. Cast members will be in attendance. Discussion to follow film.
Featured organization: Women With A Vision.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 5:00pm
Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back - Screening and Discussion
"Pinkwashing" is a term activists have coined for when countries engaged in terrible human rights violations promote themselves as "gay friendly" to improve their public image. Israel is the country most famous for this strategy, having initiated it as part of a rebranding campaign has been engaged in for the last decade. In 2012, activists in the Pacific Northwestern region of the US responded to an Israeli Consulate-funded pinkwashing tour featuring Israeli gay and lesbian activists that was coming to the region. Local queer Palestine solidarity activists exposed the "Rainbow Generations" tour as pro-Israel propaganda and got some of the events, including the tour's centerpiece event hosted by the City of Seattle's LGBT Commission, cancelled. A significant backlash ensued involving the Seattle City Council and Seattle's leading LGBT and HIV organizations. Through the inspiring story of these activists' victory, Pinkwashing Exposed explores how pinkwashing works and what local activists are doing to fight back. Running Time: 56 minutes. Directed by Dean Spade. Cast member in attendance.
Post screening discussion with Nada Elia, a Diaspora Palestinian scholar activist who is also featured in the film. A long-time grassroots organizer, Nada Elia has served on the National Steering Collective of INCITE! Women and Trans People of Color Against Violence, where she co-chaired the Anti-Militarism/Anti-Occupation Taskforce. She also served on the Steering Collective of AWSA (Arab Women's Solidarity Association) and currently serves on the Organizing Collective of USACBI, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Featured organization: New Orleans Palestine Solidarity Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace – New Orleans.
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 7:00pm
Race, Gender, Environment, and Youth: Revolutionary Short Films
ECOHYBRIDITY is a short documentary that explores the ideas of Black dislocation and border-crossing in New Orleans 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Playing with a mix of experimental form and cinema verite, the documentary showcases the response of 15 black feminists to disaster capitalism as they work together to orchestrate public installations and performances that center the memory and future of blackness. Running time: 10 minutes. Directed by Jazz Franklin. Filmmaker and collaborators will be in attendance.
Mossville (work in progress screening)
The residents of a historic African American town take a final stand against the chemical companies that destroyed their community. Running time: 15 min. Directed by Alex Glustrom. Filmmakers will be in attendance.
Four shorts written, directed, and produced by high school age youth who participated in 2-Cent Entertainment's 2015 Summer Session documenting, through fictional and non-fictional accounts, their perspective on the city and its progress ten years post-Katrina. Running time: 20 minutes. Filmmakers: 2-CENT Summer Program: Kayla Jones, Lavirgil Penns, Donnisha Mansfield, Jeriah Butler, Tabrielle LaGrone, Juliean Thomas, Demari Reddick, Kaitlyn Pittman, Toi Henry, Lauryn Andry, Dajonik Bickham, Kiera Dabon, Brandon Ellis, Kayron Crump, Jhamyron Richardson, Marcus Parker, and Alyisha Johnson. Filmmakers will be in attendance.
Sponsored by Junebug Productions. Featured organizations: Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, Gallery of the Streets, 2-Cent, Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability initiative.
Soul City is a documentary short that tells the story of a group of civil rights activists and city slickers who attempt to build a multiracial utopia in the heart of Klan Country, North Carolina in the 1970s. Their pioneering efforts to jumpstart this black-owned, black-built town run up against tenacious enemies that still face idealists and dreamers today--ingrained racism, public skepticism, and unwillingness on the part of the government to think outside the box to solve social problems. As this group of dreamers try to bring together unlikely allies to support black power and economic development, they are forced to balance their soaring idealism with the hostile reality of the times.
Documentary, Directed by Monica Berra, SheRea DelSol, and Gini Richards. 21 minutes.
* Filmmakers present for post-screening discussion.
Arc of Justice traces the remarkable journey of New Communities, Inc. (NCI) in southwest Georgia, a story of racial justice, community organizing, and perseverance in the face of enormous obstacles. NCI was created in 1969 in Albany, Georgia by leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including Congressman John Lewis, and Charles and Shirley Sherrod, to help secure economic independence for African American families. For 15 years, NCI cooperatively farmed nearly 6,000 acres, the largest tract of land in the United States owned by African Americans at the time, but racist opposition prevented them from implementing plans to build 500 affordable homes as part of their community land trust.
Documentary, Directed by Helen S. Cohen and Mark Lipman. 22 minutes.
FILM: FLOODED WITH YOU (7:00PM)
The inspiring, strong family bond of the Davis family whose homes were flooded and who now live all together in one small apartment.
Documentary, Directed by Evan Kidd. 8 minutes.
* Filmmaker present at screening.
Jordan, 1967. The world is alive with change: brimming with reawakened energy, new styles, music and an infectious sense of hope. In Jordan, a different kind of change is underway as tens of thousands of refugees pour across the border from Palestine. Having been separated from his father in the chaos of war, Tarek, 11, and his mother Ghaydaa, are amongst this latest wave of refugees. Placed in “temporary” refugee camps made up of tents and prefab houses until they would be able to return, they wait, like the generation before them who arrived in 1948. With difficulties adjusting to life in Harir camp and a longing to be reunited with his father, Tarek searches a way out, and discovers a new hope emerging with the times. Eventually his free spirit and curious nature lead him to a group of people on a journey that will change their lives. When I Saw You (Lamma Shoftak) is the story of people affected by the times around them, in search of something more in their lives. A journey full of adventure, love, humor, and the desire to be free, but most of all this is a story about that moment in a person's life when he wakes up and finds the whole world is open and everything is possible - that moment you feel most alive. It is a journey of the human spirit that knows no borders.
Drama, Directed by Annemarie Jacir. 100 Minutes.
Journalist I.F. Stone famously said "All governments lie," and this belief motivates fearless independent journalists to find the truth. Explore pivotal moments in history when investigative journalists uncovered facts that contradicted official government statements. This film follows independent journalism from I. F. Stone, whose fearless, independent reporting from 1953 to 1971 filled a tiny 4-page newsletter which he wrote, published, and carried to the mailbox every week, to today. The film profiles Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Nermeen Shaikh, Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibi, and others as they expose government lies and corporate deception.
Documentary, Directed by Fred Peabody. 90 minutes.
FILM: I JUST DRAW PICTURES (6:30PM)
A portrait of Jo Hines, the Baton Rouge artist who painted the mural at Triple S Food Store where Alton Sterling was killed by police officers.
Documentary, Directed by Jillian Hall. 6 Minutes.
FILM: OFF THE SIDEWALKS, INTO THE STREETS (6:30PM)
Highlights those involved in the protests last summer in Baton Rouge and asks that their motives not be forgotten.
Documentary, Directed by Zandashé Brown and Ryan Clarke. 6 minutes.
* Filmmaker present for screening.
Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters. As the national guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance. Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis know this story because they are the story. Whose Streets? is a powerful battle cry from a generation fighting, not for their civil rights, but for the right to live.
Documentary, Directed by Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis. 103 Minutes.
* Activists from Ferguson, featured in film, present for post-film discussion, along with local organizers.
FILM: TO BE FREE (4:00PM)
In a tiny after-hours club, Nina Simone finds a way, for one moment, to be free.
Drama, Directed by and starring Adepero Oduye. 12 minutes.
When the South African government promises to 'eradicate the slums' and begins to evict shack dwellers far outside the city, three friends who live in Durban's vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. Dear Mandela follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela's example and become leaders in a growing social movement. By turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age.
Documentary, Directed by Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza. 90 minutes.
* Post screening discussion with local housing justice organizers.
FILM: THE PERSONAL THINGS
Black trans elder and legendary activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy describes how everyday personal acts fuel her political activism.
Animation, Directed by Reina Gossett. 3 minutes.
On her way to the store with a group of friends, Chrishaun Reed “CeCe” McDonald was brutally attacked. While defending her life, a man was killed. After a coercive interrogation, CeCe was incarcerated in a men’s prison in Minnesota. An international campaign to free CeCe garnered significant support from media and activists, including actress Laverne Cox. Cox signed on as executive producer of FREE CECE!, committed to exploring the role race, class, and gender played in CeCe’s case. In the end, CeCe emerged not only as a survivor, but also as a leader. Documentarian Jacqueline (Jac) Gares pushed past the everyday narratives of victimhood surrounding the lives of transgender people, to spotlight the way CeCe and other trans people are leading a growing movement fighting for the rights of transgender people everywhere. CeCe's powerful story highlights the groundswell of voices questioning the prison industrial complex and calling for its disassembly.
Documentary, Directed by Jacqueline Gares. 100 minutes.
* Cece McDonald and filmmaker Jacqueline Gares present for discussion.
Flint is a city of 100,000 people, with 41% living below the poverty line and an African-American majority. The city switched in 2014 to water from the polluted Flint River to save money, but the new water supply wasn't properly treated. Lead from aging lines leached into the local water supply, along with coliform bacteria and other contaminants, creating a serious health crisis. Up to 12,000 children may have been exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water. Some residents were also forced to abandon their homes without warning. This film tells the story of the Flint Water Crisis from the perspectives of those who have experienced this tragedy first hand and from activists on the ground working through grass-root organizations to make a difference. While the national news media has been covering this event through the governments point of view, From Flint takes you inside the city to uncover this incident first hand.
Documentary, Directed by Elise Conklin. 25 minutes.
* The filmmaker and an activist from Flint will both be present for a post-screening discussion.
Water Warriors is the story of a community’s successful fight to protect their water from the oil and natural gas industry. In 2013, Texas-based SWN Resources arrived in New Brunswick, Canada to explore for natural gas. The region is known for its forestry, farming and fishing industries, which are both commercial and small-scale subsistence operations that rural communities depend on. In response, a multicultural group of unlikely warriors–including members of the Mi’kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation, French-speaking Acadians and white, English-speaking families–set up a series of road blockades, preventing exploration. After months of resistance, their efforts not only halted drilling; they elected a new government and won an indefinite moratorium on fracking in the province.
Documentary, Directed by Michael Premo. 21 minutes.
* Filmmakers present for post-screening discussion.
FILM: TEN YEARS AFTER KATRINA
"Resilience," "Recovery" & REALITY
The story of the organizations that make up The Greater New Orleans Organizers Roundtable in the years since Hurricane Katrina.
Documentary, Directed by Ada McMahon. 30 minutes.
* Filmmakers and local activists present for post-screening discussion.
Thursday, April 13 at 7:00pm
Agents of Change examines the untold story of the racial conditions on college campuses and in the country in the late 1960’s that led to protests on college campuses from SF State to Cornell University. Through the stories of the courageous young men and women at the forefront of these efforts, the film takes viewers to the crossroads of the civil rights, black power, and anti-Vietnam war movements at a pivotal time in America’s history. Today, as the struggle continues with the Black Lives Matter, immigration concerns and concurrent nationwide student-led protests, Agents of Change links the past to the present and the present to the past, revealing how much work remains to be done. The film is co-produced and co-directed by filmmakers Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg, both of whom are Cornell alums. Ironically, Mr. Dawson participated in the takeover at Willard Straight Hall, while Ms. Ginzberg protested in support with other student outside the building. Yet, the two would not meet until four decades later as both sought to document this historic event on film. With interviews from then-student activists such as actor Danny Glover, Dr. Ramona Tascoe and Roger Alvarado, the film also features a searing, soul-stirring musical score by award-winning composer Patrice Rushen.
Documentary, Directed by Frank Dawson and Abby Ginzberg. 66 minutes.
* Director and special guests present for screening.