Monday, March 23, 2009

FILM FESTIVAL: "Real to Reel: Documenting Empowerment, Equality, Inclusion" (The Ross Theater, Lincoln, NE, April 16-20, 2009 - FREE/open to public)

The African and African American Studies Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is sponsoring our second "Blacks In Film Festival" in mid-April. This time around we are focusing on documentary films and asking some broad questions...

How has documentary film been used to tell meaningful stories about black people in Africa and the United States?  What is the process of putting these stories together on film?  What makes a compelling documentary film?  
•  What kinds of (intellectual, cultural, social, etc.) spaces do these films open up for audiences to consider race relations and black experience in new or meaningful ways?

Can documentary film play a role in political struggle?  Can documentary film be a "weapon of the oppressed," an agent of change?  If so, how? If not, why not?

And does the relationship between the filmmaker and the subject matter in documentary films matter?  Explain.

Here is the poster for the film festival (click image to enlarge)

Here are the films we are screening at The Ross FREE and open to the public...

-  "What We Want, What We Believe... the Black Panthers" (on the Black Panther Party)

-  "Mo & Me" (filmmakers exploration of his father's - Mo Amin - life)

-  "God Grew Tired of Us" (on Sudan's "Lost Boys")

-  "Wattstax" (the 1973 "Black Woodstock" concert in Los Angeles, featuring Staxx Records musicians and Richard Pryor interludes)

-  "When We Were Kings" (on famed "Rumble in the Jungle" between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire)

-  "Amandla:  A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony" (on role of music in South African freedom movement)

-  "Hip Hop Beyond Beats and Rhymes" (on sexism and homophobia in hip hop)

-  "Hip Hop Colony" (on hip hop in Africa)

For full film festival information (including brief bios of our two keynote filmmakers, a detailed schedule of all events, and synopses of each film) click here.

Please spread the word...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Battle for Whiteclay

If you do not know about the tragic and exploitative situation in Whiteclay, Nebraska, I hope you will take a few minutes and read the following article:

Paul Hammel, "Drink, and despair, around every corner in Whiteclay" (Omaha World Herald, 3/7/09)

You should also check out Mark Vasina's excellent and moving new documentary, "The Battle for Whiteclay."

Here's what Frank LaMere of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Chair of the Native Caucus on the Democratic National Committee had to say about the film:

"Chronicles a painful odyssey that should give pause to the caring, the oblivious, and those who don't give a damn."
Here are a few things you might do:

Check it out. Educate yourself about the issue.
Write your state senator about Whiteclay.
Hold a neighborhood showing of "The Battle for Whiteclay" in your living room. Or, have your church, school, or other social organization show the film and discuss it.
Spread the word to other caring people in your world...

Here are some more action suggestions.