Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film Conference
November 15, 2013
In this full-day conference, the Black Film Center/Archive convenes an interdisciplinary group of scholars and moving image archivists to discuss the new methodologies and questions emerging through recent scholarship in early black film, and to consider how we render a film as an object of study in transformative digital environments. Special thanks to the National Endowment for the Humanities' Office of Digital Humanities and the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences for their support. During the conference, IU Cinema will present two silent films, The Flying Ace and Within Our Gates, with live accompaniment from pianist Philip Carli.
The Flying Ace (1926) Directed by Richard E. Norman
November 15 - Friday - 7:00 PM
In ‘Six Smashing Reels of Action,’ The Flying Ace tells the story of World War I flyer-hero Captain William Stokes (Lawrence Criner) who returns home to solve the mystery of a missing paymaster and save the life of the beautiful Ruth Sawtelle (Kathryn Boyd). Featuring an all-black cast, The Flying Ace is the only full-length film surviving from Richard Norman, a prominent director and distributor of silent race films in the 1920s. The film was restored in 2010 by the Library of Congress from an original nitrate print donated by the director’s son, Captain Richard Norman, Jr. Screening is free but ticketed. Live accompaniment from pianist Dr. Philip Carli.
Within Our Gates (1919) Directed by Oscar Micheaux
November 16 - Saturday - 3:00 PM
Through his young protagonist, Sylvia Landry (Evelyn Preer), Oscar Micheaux critically examines the lines between races, classes, and North and South in his earliest surviving film. The complex and twist-filled narrative follows Sylvia as she crosses between North and South, recovering from a broken engagement by finding new purpose in a rural school for African American children and new love with Dr. Vivian (Charles D. Lucas). Long thought lost, a single nitrate print of Within Our Gates was discovered under its Spanish release title, La Negra, at the Filmoteca Española and reconstructed by the Library of Congress. Screening is free but ticketed. Live accompaniment from pianist Dr. Philip Carli.
National Endowment for the Humanities Support
The Regeneration Conference has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
LA Rebellion X2
A milestone in American cinema, the L.A. Rebellion began in the late 1960s when a number of promising African and African American students entered the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. From that first class through the late 1980s these filmmakers forged a unique and sustained alternative Black cinema practice in the United States. Along the way, they created fascinating, provocative and visionary films that have earned an impressive array of awards and accolades at festivals around the world. IU Cinema presents two programs of new prints and restorations from UCLA Film & Television Archive’s groundbreaking 2011 series, “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema.”
Presented in association with UCLA Film & Television Archive and supported in part by grants from the Getty Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The series is curated by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, Shannon Kelley, and Jacqueline Stewart. Presented in partnership with the Black Film Center/Archive. Jan-Christopher Horak (UCLA) and Jacqueline Stewart (University of Chicago) are scheduled to be present.
Bless Their Little Hearts (1984) Directed by Billy Woodberry
November 16 - Saturday - 7:00 PM
Billy Woodberry’s film chronicles the devastating effects of underemployment on a family in the same Los Angeles community depicted in Killer of Sheep (1977), and it pays witness to the ravages of time in the short years since its predecessor. Nate Hardman and Kaycee Moore deliver gut-wrenching performances as the couple whose family is torn apart by events beyond their control. If salvation remains, it’s in the sensitive depiction of everyday life, which persists throughout. – Ross Lipman. Preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Packard Humanities Institute. Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive’s preservation department. Laboratory services by Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, Audio Mechanics and NT Picture and Sound. (35mm. 84 min. Not Rated.)
Your Children Come Back to You (1979) A Different Image (1982) Directed by Alile Sharon Larkin
November 17 - Sunday - 3:00 PM
A single mother ekes out a living from welfare check to welfare check, struggling to provide for her daughter. She is faced with the decision to look after her personally or to allow her sister-in-law to provide “more than enough” to go around. Larkin’s film masterfully presents a child’s perspective on wealth and social inequality. (16mm. 30 min. Not Rated.) An African American woman living away from her family in Los Angeles yearns to be recognized for more than her physical attributes. In cultivating the friendship of a male office mate, she aspires to a relationship where sex is not a factor, seeking someone who can “see her as she is,” rather than see only what he wants to see. - Samuel B. Prime (16mm. 51 min. Not Rated.)
Cuba, An African Odyssey (2007) Directed by Jihan El-Tahri
October 10 - Sunday - 3:00 PM
From Che Guevara’s military campaign to avenge Lumumba in the Congo up to the fall of apartheid in South Africa, 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries. Cuba, an African Odyssey is the previously untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions, one of the Cold War’s most vigorous contests over resources and ideology.
Meet SUGAR HILL and her ZOMBIE HIT MEN...The Mafia has never met anything like them!
The Black Film Center/Archive will co-sponsor a free Halloween screening of the 1974 film Sugar Hill with the Black Graduate Student Association at 7:30PM. Sugar Hill will be screened at the Black Film Center Archive: Wells Library, Room 044, 1320 East Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN. 47405
Sugar Hill (1974) Directed by Paul Maslansky
October 31, 2013 - 7:30PM
When her boyfriend is brutally murdered, after refusing to be shaken down by the local gangsters running their protection racket, Sugar Hill, decides not to get mad, but BAD! Calling upon the help of aged voodoo queen Mama Maitresse, Sugar entreats her to call upon Baron Zamedi, the Lord of the Dead, for help in gaining a gruesome revenge. In exchange for her soul, the Dark Master raises up a zombie army to do her bidding. The bad guys who thought they were getting away clean are about to find out that they're DEAD wrong.
Queer Rebels - Exploding Lineage!: Queer of Color Histories in Experimental Media (2012)
October 11 - Friday - 6:30 PM
Featuring innovative work by a diverse group of media artists, Exploding Lineage explores the complexities of identity construction in African, Asian, and Latino queer diasporas. Curated for the 25th MIX NYC queer experimental film festival, the program includes KB Boyce’s Bulldagger Women and Sissy Men, a tribute to queer artists of the Harlem Renaissance, and Celeste Chan’s Bloodlines, a lyrical recognition of Chinese immigrants detained on Angel Island due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. These selections question conventions, bringing to light queer contributions to the American past while asserting a vibrant existence in the present. Filmmakers and curators KB Boyce and Celeste Chan, of Queer Rebel Productions, are scheduled to be present. This event is part of the Underground Film Series. (2K DCP. 80 min. Not Rated.)
The Exploding Lineage!: Queer of Color Histories in Experimental Media event is co-sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive, Bloomington PRIDE, Center for the Study of Global Change, Department of African American and African Diapsora Studies, Department of American Studies, Department of Communication and Culture, Department of Gender Studies, East Asian Studies Center, Film and Media Studies program, and GLBT Student Support Services.
South Africa: Apartheid And After
Between 1948 and 1994, South Africa stood out as a defiant last redoubt of official white supremacy and extreme racial segregation. This series offers a wide range of visual and narrative treatments of the problems of political repression, racial discrimination, the peculiarities of life under apartheid, and the persistent links between the U.S. and South Africa. The series is sponsored by the History Department, African Studies, Black Film Center/Archive and IU Cinema and is shown in conjunction with the Mathers Museum exhibit Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid.
Cry, the Beloved Country (1951) Directed by Zoltan Korda
October 22 - Tuesday - 7:00 PM
Based on Alan Paton’s famous novel illustrating racial divisions in post-World War II South Africa, Cry, the Beloved Country, was filmed on location during the first years of apartheid. The film dramatizes the collision of African rural and urban cultures. Actors Sidney Poitier and Canada Lee star, while having to negotiate South Africa’s complex racial terrain while shooting the film. Although critical of South African racism, the film also represents Paton’s view that black South Africans proved poorly adaptable to modern urban industrial life. (35mm. 103 min. Not Rated.)
Come Back, Africa (1959) Directed by Lionel Rogosin
November 2 - Saturday - 7:00 PM
Come Back Africa remains one of the most famous—and yet, rarely seen—visual records of black urban life under apartheid. Shot clandestinely in a cinema-verité style, it recounts the story of a black migrant worker making his way through the workplaces, white homes, and black leisure spaces of segregated Johannesburg. Milestone Films’ recent restoration has given new life to the most politically and aesthetically important film on black life in South Africa in the 1950s, illustrating the new urban black culture that blossomed in Johannesburg’s thriving Sophiatown. (35mm. 95 min. Not Rated.)
Searching for Sugar Man (2012) Directed by Malik Bendjelloul
November 10 - Sunday - 6:30 PM
This Oscar-winning documentary chronicles the life of Sixto Rodriguez, a Detroit singer who recorded two albums in the early 1970s and was forgotten in the U.S. When ambitions to become the next Bob Dylan fell flat, he found work doing manual labor and disappeared into obscurity. A bootlegged copy of one of his albums made it to apartheid South Africa where, unbeknownst to him, his socially engaged music became a huge hit in the 1980s. In 1997, after the end of apartheid, two South African fans (a record store owner and a journalist) found him in Detroit. They arranged a tour of postapartheid South Africa, creating a world-wide revival of his music. (2K DCP. 86 min. Rated PG-13.)
An African American Independent: The Films of Kevin Willmott
For almost 15 years Kevin Willmott has independently written, produced and directed films that critically examine American’s racial history and its associated images. He works is a variety of cinematic genres, exploiting their potential to represent characters and subjects generally avoided by mainstream cinema. As a native Kansan, Willmott is also committed to producing stories situated in the landscape and history of Kansas. This Midwestern aspect of his filmmaking reminds us of the potential of cinema to reveal a deep structure that is local and particular.
The African American Independent: The Films of Kevin Willmott film series is co-sponsored by The Black Film Center/Archive, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Communication and Culture, Department of American Studies, and Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies.
Film Screenings at the Black Film Center/Archive
The Battle for Bunker Hill (2008) Directed by Kevin Willmott
October 2 - Wednesday - 7:00 PM
When former Wall Street executive Peter Salem is released from prison, he heads for the small town of Bunker Hill, Kansas, where his ex-wife and their children have started a new life. Soon after he arrives in town, all power is lost - there is no electricity, and cars and computers suddenly shut down. Community leaders are at a loss to explain. Is it the rapture? A massive terrorist attack? Aliens? Cut off from the world, the town's militant past is reawakened and forces coalesce to protect citizens from an unseen enemy, represented to some by Mr. Farook, an elderly Pakistani immigrant who owns the local convenience store. The town's fear leads to the creation of a posse of gunmen, resulting in torture, illegal searches and eventually, murder. (Not Rated.)
The Only Good Indian(2009) Directed by Kevin Willmott
October 9 - Wednesday - 7:00 PM
Set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teen-aged Native American boy (newcomer Winter Fox Frank) is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian "training" school to assimilate into White society. When he escapes to return to his family, Sam Franklin (Wes Studi), a bounty hunter of Cherokee descent, is hired to find and return him to the institution. Franklin, a former Indian scout for the U.S. Army, has renounced his Native heritage and has adopted the White Man's way of life, believing it's the only way for Indians to survive. Along the way, a tragic incident spurs Franklin's longtime nemesis, the famous "Indian Fighter" Sheriff Henry McCoy (J. Kenneth Campbell), to pursue both Franklin and the boy. (114 min. Not Rated.)
Film Screenings at IU Cinema
CSA: The Confederate States of America (2004) Directed by Kevin Willmott
October 14 - Monday - 7:00 PM
Kevin Willmott's CSA: The Confederate States of America asks "What if the South had won the War?" In this
provocative satire, Willmott imagines an alternate history where slavery is still legal. Using the film-within-afilm
technique, Willmott constructs a TV documentary that examines the legacy of the victorious Confederates.
Commercial breaks add another layer of humor, featuring real-world products such as an electric shackle to
deter runaway slaves and "Darkie" toothpaste. Of particular note is a spoof of a D.W. Griffith film featuring a
fugitive Abraham Lincoln. After its successful premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Spike Lee assisted in the
film’s distribution. Director Kevin Willmott is scheduled to be present. (2K DCP. 89 min. Not Rated.)
Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture with Kevin Willmott
October 15 - Tuesday - 3:00 PM
Destination: Planet Negro (2013) Directed by Kevin Willmott
October 15- Tuesday - 7:00 PM
As in his previous films, Kevin Willmott’s most recent film takes inspiration from momentous historic events and adds a hilarious, yet incisive, twist. Destination: Planet Negro begins in the 1930s, joining Black History luminaries W.E.B. DuBois and George Washington Carver to solve the “Negro Problem” – by leaving planet Earth. In this send-up of the sci-fi genre film, problems abound as the characters travel through space and time. In keeping with the indie spirit, Willmott wrote, directed and stars in the film. Director Kevin Willmott is scheduled to be present. (2K DCP. 98 min. Not Rated.)
A Call to Action: Ava DuVernay and AFFRM
Winner of the Best Director award at Sundance in 2012, Ava DuVernay is a veritable trailblazer in the independent film world. In addition to writing, directing and producing her own films, DuVernay launched a groundbreaking film distribution venture, the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), in 2011. Through a strategic alliance with a network of African American and African diasporic film festivals, AFFRM achieves wider theatrical distribution for the independent films on its carefully-curated roster than was ever open to them through dominant distribution channels. By challenging the terms of participation for black filmmakers in American cinema, AFFRM is, as DuVernay has noted, not so much a business as a call to action. The series is sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Department of American Studies, Department of Communication and Culture, Film and Media Studies program, IU Cinema and Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Council.
Black Film Center/Archive Film Screenings
In support of the film series A Call to Action: Ava DuVernay and AFFRM, the Black Film Center/Archive is hosting two film screenings. Screenings are held at the BFC/A, Wells Library, Room 044, 1320 East Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN. 47405.
My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth about Women and Hip Hop (2010) Directed by Ava DuVernay
September 11 - Wednesday - 7:00 PM
My Mic Sounds Nice: A Truth About Women in Hip Hop explores the demise of the female MC in today's music with interviews from Missy Elliott, Trina, Eve, other female MCs and music industry executives.
Big Words (2013) Directed by Neil Drumming
September 18 - Wednesday - 7:00 PM
Set in Brooklyn on the eve of Obama’s history-making election, three former members of a promising hip-hop crew cross paths again to discover that some things never change. Former frontman John, once known as Big Words, is now a working class guy who raps only to himself. James is a publicist living with his boyfriend, far removed from the days when he rhymed about getting girls. While DJ Malik still spins records with a longing for the glory days. Together again on the day of a landmark election, the friends reckon with dreams deferred and new hopes.
Film Screenings at IU Cinema
Better Mus’ Come (2010) Directed by Storm Saulter
September 15 - Sunday - 3:00 PM
A love story partially inspired by the 1978 Green Bay Massacre, which resulted from the contentious political rivalry between Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, Storm Saulter’s debut probes the culture of political violence in Jamaica. Ricky (Sheldon Shepherd) and Kamala (Sky Nicole Grey) play a dangerous game as they embark on a relationship despite their rivaling neighborhood allegiances. Part of a new wave of Caribbean cinema, Better Mus’ Come played to packed houses in Jamaica and won Best Picture at the Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados International Film Festivals. In 2013, Better Mus’ Come was selected by Ava DuVernay to launch AFFRM’s new multi-platform distribution label, ARRAY. (2K DCP. 104 min. Not Rated.)
This is the Life (2008) Directed by Ava DuVernay
September 15 - Sunday - 6:30 PM
Championed as one of the “must-see hip-hop documentaries” by the LA Weekly, Ava DuVernay’s award-winning directorial debut, This is the Life, documents the progressive hip-hop scene that coalesced in 1990s Los Angeles around The Good Life Café’s weekly open-mic nights. DuVernay (also seen here as MC Eve of Figures of Speech) traces the origins and legacy of The Good Life scene as an alternative musical and lifestyle movement asserting itself against the city’s dominant gangster rap culture. DuVernay’s first experiences with self-distribution for This is the Life informed the strategy behind her creation of AFFRM. (2K DCP. 97 min. Not Rated.)
Venus VS (2013) Directed by Ava DuVernay
September 19 - Thursday - 7:00 PM
DuVernay goes back to her beginnings in documentary to trace Venus Williams’ courageous call for financial parity in professional tennis. Taking her lead from pioneering tennis champion Billie Jean King, Williams was instrumental in influencing officials at Wimbledon and the French Open to award equal prize money to both men and women players. In 2007, Williams won the women’s single title at Wimbledon, becoming the first woman to benefit from this change of policy, earning the same amount as Roger Federer, her male counterpart. Produced for ESPN’s Nine for IX, Venus VS premiered this year at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Director Ava DuVernay is scheduled to be present. (HD Cam. 60 min. Not Rated.)
Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture with Ava DuVernay Friday - September 20 - 3:00 p.m.
Middle of Nowhere (2012) Directed by Ava DuVernay
September 20 - Friday - 6:30 PM
The idea for Middle of Nowhere sparked while director and writer Ava DuVernay was working on Michael Mann’s Collateral. In her second narrative feature, DuVernay perceptively tackles the wide-ranging impact of the prisonindustrial complex on black communities. Centering on a woman’s struggle to come to emotional terms with her husband’s incarceration, Middle of Nowhere contemplates the challenges of maintaining a relationship and staying true to oneself. In the starring role as Ruby, Emayatzy Corinealdi was nominated for multiple awards, winning the Gotham Award for Breakthrough Performance. With this film, DuVernay won the Best Director Award at Sundance in 2012 and the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirits in 2013. Director Ava DuVernay is scheduled to be present. (2K DCP. 97 min. Rated R.)
I Will Follow (2011) Directed by Ava DuVernay
September 20 - Friday - 9:30 PM
Ava DuVernay’s highly-acclaimed narrative feature debut, I Will Follow takes place during one day in the life of Maye (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) as she packs up the family home upon her aunt’s death. In this contemplative and lushly-shot drama, Maye encounters objects as well as people from her past, triggering memories and emotions that help her move forward. Roger Ebert called the film, “One of the best films I’ve seen about coming to terms with the death of a loved one.” I Will Follow underscores the beauty of the quotidian, highlighting DuVernay’s take on an innovative art cinema that tells black stories. Director Ava DuVernay is scheduled to be present. (2K DCP. 80 min. Not Rated.)
Orphans Midwest: Materiality and the Moving Image
2013 Film Symposium
Indiana University Cinema and IU Libraries Film Archive host this impressive gathering of scholars, archivists, and media artists, screening dozens of cinema rarities and rediscoveries, as well as new productions, music performances, and curated presentations. “Orphan films” are all manner of neglected cinematic artifacts.
Partnering with the NYU Orphan Film Symposium, IU’s prominent media units join forces to showcase their collections and expertise in the study and preservation of moving images: IU Libraries Film Archive, Department of Communication and Culture’s Film and Media Studies Program, Black Film Center/Archive, The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University Cinema, Lilly Library, and the Media Preservation Initiative.
Off the Rails - Hell Bound Train
Saturday September 28, 2013
11:15am-12:45pm / IU Cinema
Session Leader: Brian Graney (Indiana University)
Participants: Jacqueline Stewart (University of Chicago) Early Black Film Artifacts as Material Evidence: Digital Regeneration and S. Torriano Berry (Howard University) on reconstructing the Gist Film Fragments at the Library of Congress: Hell Bound Train and Verdict Not Guilty (1930-33)
A Change is Gonna Come: Black Revolutionary Poets
This series is sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive; Film and Media Studies; the Departments of African American & African Diaspora Studies, American Studies, English, Gender Studies, and Germanic Studies; the Kinsey Institute; and IU Cinema. Special thanks to the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs and the National Film Preservation Foundation for their support. The lecture and all screenings take place at IU Cinema. The lecture and screenings are free, but ticketed.
Jorgensen Lecture: Dr. Marion Kraft
Monday - March 18- 3:00 PM
Dr. Marion Kraft, Afro-German scholar and translator, will discuss her role in Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992 and Lorde’s influence on the German Black and Feminist Movements. (70 min.)
Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992 (2012) Directed by Dr. Dagmar Schultz
Monday - March 18- 7:00 PM
Audre Lorde wrote, “I am defined as other in every group I’m part of.” Lorde’s recognition of her own marginalized state deeply influenced her work as a poet and activist. This film chronicles her fight to bring a sense of community--and with it a sense of liberation and freedom--to Afro-German women. Her profound work on racism, classism, homophobia, and xenophobia in Germany during this time period effected incredible change. Through Lorde’s efforts, the understanding held by Afro-Germans of their place in society and political empowerment was forever altered. Director Dr. Dagmar Schultz and Dr. Marion Kraft are scheduled to be present. (DigiBeta presentation, 79 min., Not Rated)
Rainbow Black: Poet Sarah W. Fabio (1976) Directed by Cheryl Fabio
In Motion: Amiri Baraka (1983) Directed by St. Clair Bourne
Monday - April 22- 7:00 PM
Sarah Fabio, Mother of Black Studies, and Amiri Baraka, the most widely published Black writer of his time, have rightfully established themselves as pinnacles of the Black Arts Movement. Unique in their approaches, the documentaries Rainbow Black: Poet Sarah W. Fabio and In Motion: Amiri Baraka take intimate looks at the daily struggles and revelations of these two iconic Black poets working toward “artistic beauty and social justice” in an era of social upheaval.
Rainbow Black: Poet Sarah W. Fabio will premiere for the first time in its newly preserved and restored state. This event is the result of over a year of work between the BFC/A--Cheryl Fabio, the director of Rainbow Black and the daughter of Sarah Fabio--and Colorlab, a renowned film preservation lab. A Preservation Grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation was awarded to the BFC/A in 2012 to fund this preservation project. Director Cheryl Fabio is scheduled to be present. (16mm and DigiBeta presentation, 90 min. total, Not Rated)
New Restorations from Milestone Films
Since 1990, Milestone Films has been involved in the restoration and distribution of groundbreaking, artistically and culturally significant films. Over the course of two days, Milestone Films founder Dennis Doros will present three films: Shirley Clarke's Portrait of Jason and two films by Kathleen Collins, as well as give a lecture. The lecture and all screenings take place at IU Cinema. The lecture and screenings are free, but ticketed.
Lost Films of Kathleen Collins
Thursday - March 21 - 7:00 PM
At the time of her death in 1988, Kathleen Collins was just 46 years old, but already an internationally renowned playwright, a beloved professor and a successful independent filmmaker. After nearly 30 years of being out of circulation, Milestone Films has digitally restored her two films from original camera negatives to look and sound as fresh, bracing and complex as they did when they were made.
The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy (1980) is a short story of three Puerto Rican brothers scraping by while contending with the ghost of their dead father.
Losing Ground (1982), one of the very first fictional features by an African-American woman filmmaker, is the story of a black philosophy professor whose artist husband rents a summer country house to celebrate a museum sale. Their idyll summer challenges their relationship as they struggle to find ecstatic experience, both intellectually and emotionally. Dennis Doros is scheduled to be present. (HD Cam presentation, 140 Minutes total, Not Rated)
Jorgensen Lecture: Dennis Doros
Friday - March 22 - 3:00 PM
Dennis Doros will deliver his lecture titled Where’s Shirley: The Restoration of Portrait of Jason, which he presented earlier in the year at the Berlin International Film Festival. (70 min.)
Portrait of Jason (1967) Directed by Shirley Clarke
Friday - March 22 - 6:30 PM
Shirley Clarke’s fascinating character study of self-proclaimed hustler Jason Holliday, evades easy categorization. On the surface, it is a series of 16mm film reels in which the title character provides a vivid verbal account of his life. It is, however, neither straightforward cinema vérité nor traditional documentary. Instead, it lies between a subtle interview, a brilliant monologue, and record of performance that deals head-on with issues of documentary construction. Recently restored by Milestone Films, Portrait of Jason deserves to become a canonical film alongside the work of other luminaries like Andy Warhol and Jonas Mekas. Dennis Doros is scheduled to be present. (HD Cam, 105 min., Not Rated)
Nelson Pereira dos Santos: Fifty Years of Brazilian Cinema
“Over fifty years have passed since Nelson Pereira dos Santos made his first film, yet he continues to work with youthful enthusiasm on new projects,” wrote Darlene Sadlier in her book on Pereira dos Santos for the Contemporary Film Directors series published by University of Illinois Press. “His career is long and diverse” and “his various projects are unified by a leftist political point of view and a desire to make his audience think as well as feel.”
This series is sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Brazilian Consulate in Chicago, Office of the Vice President of International Affairs, College of Arts and Humanities Institute, Film and Media Studies, Department of Communication and Culture, African Studies, Black Film Center/Archive, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, American Studies, Latino Studies, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Brazilian Association at Indiana University and IU Cinema. Special thanks to the Academia Brasileira de Letras and Darlene Sadlier. This visit is also in partnership with UCLA, Wexner Center for the Arts and City College, New York. All films are in Portuguese language with English subtitles, unless noted and screenings are free, but ticketed. The lecture and all screenings take place at IU Cinema.
Rio, 100 Degrees F. (Rio, 40 Graus) (1956) Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Sunday - April 14 - 3:00 PM
Inspired by Italian neorealism and a desire to forge a ‘cinema of the people’, Nelson Pereira dos Santos independently produced his story set in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, close to the fashionable tourist sites in and around Copacabana. The camera follows five peanut vendors from a hillside shanty town into tourist areas that include Sugar Loaf Mountain and the famous Maracanã soccer stadium. This film was one of the first in Brazil to address issues of race and social class, and is considered as important to Brazilian cinema as Godard’s Breathless is to French Cinema. The themes explored in this film would be examined throughout Pereira dos Santos’ career. Nelson Pereira dos Santos is scheduled to be present. Portuguese language with English subtitles. (New 35mm print, 100 min. Not Rated.)
Tent of Miracles (Tenda dos Milagres) (1977) Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Sunday - April 14 - 6:30 PM
In a loose adaptation of Jorge Amado’s best-selling novel of the same name, Pereira dos Santos provides a stunning critique of racism in Brazilian society. When a prominent U.S. Nobel Laureate arrives in Salvador, Bahia, the city with the largest black population in Brazil, he stirs emotions by championing a long-forgotten local writer named Pedro Archanjo, who believed that humanity would be improved only through miscegenation. Like the novel, the film exposes the racial hypocrisy of the Salvador elite, but is a more self-reflexive work that is especially sensitive in its representations of the African religion known as candomblé. Nelson Pereira dos Santos is scheduled to be present. Portuguese language with English subtitles. (New 35mm print, 132 min. Not Rated.)
Jorgensen Lecture: Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Monday - April 15 - 3:00 PM
This lecture will be interview format, led by Professor Darlene Sadlier. (70 min.)
Barren Lives (Vidas Secas) (1963) Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Monday - April 15 - 7:00 PM
Barren Lives is considered a founding film of the Cinema Novo movement. Derived from Graciliano Ramos’ novel, the film is set in the early 1940s, and describes a year in the life of a poor, uprooted cowhand and his family in the drought-ridden sertão of the Brazilian Northeast. The film is stark in its imagery, powerful in its documentation of the retirante (uprooted), who is dependent on a feudal landowning system. A realistic depiction of the wretched of the earth, Barren Lives is still relevant today; it reads as a white-hot, almost mystically intense pilgrim’s progress through a purgatory that seemingly has no end. Nelson Pereira dos Santos is scheduled to be present. In Portuguese language with English subtitles. (New 35mm print, 103 min. Not Rated.)
Music According to Tom Jobim (A Musica Segundo Tom Jobim) (2011) Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Tuesday - April 16 - 7:00 PM
The extraordinary musical universe of Antônio Carlos (Tom) Jobim can be presented without dialog or narration. It was with this in mind that Nelson Pereira dos Santos accepted the challenge of committing the musical trajectory of the great Brazilian composer to film. In 1985, Pereira dos Santos produced a four-hour documentary about Jobim for Brazilian television. Based on that experience, he knew the power of Jobim on screen, and that the images of his performances required no words. It’s all there - the power, beauty and poetry of his bossa nova music, the phases of the artist’s career, and the importance of his work to other artists. No need of further explanation, just the pleasure of hearing Tom Jobim! Nelson Pereira dos Santos is scheduled to be present. (2K DCP presentation, 84 min. Not Rated.)
How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (1971) Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Sunday - April 21 - 3:00 PM
This delicious black comedy, set in colonial Paraty outside Rio de Janeiro, tells the story of a French adventurer who is captured by members of the Tupinambá tribe and readied for the community’s ritual consumption. The tribe treats their prisoner better than you might think. They give him food and a wife, who happily teaches him the ways of the community. As he plays with his new mate, he considers how to avoid his prescribed fate as the main course of the ceremonial tribal dinner. Originally banned in Brazil due to excessive nudity, the film remains a slyly entertaining masterwork of Brazilian Cinema Novo. In Portuguese language with English subtitles. (35mm print, 84 min. Not Rated.)
Memoirs of Prison (1984) Directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Sunday - April 21 - 6:30 PM
In this adaptation of his posthumous memoir, leftist intellectual Graciliano Ramos recounts his imprisonment in the 1930s by the right-wing regime of Getúlio Vargas. The film is the second adaptation by Pereira dos Santos of a work by Ramos, who also wrote Vidas Secas. Ramos’ portrayal of his imprisonment is minimalist and subdued, as he transforms from ideological theorist (and suspected Communist) to documentarian of his fellow prisoners. The prisoners serve as a metaphor for Brazilian society, and though they do not know what he is writing in the prison, they want to be in his book. Pereira dos Santos uses a straightforward realism to give the film, like the writing of Ramos, the power to document history. In Portuguese language with English subtitles. (35mm., 185 min. Not Rated.)
Living King's Legacy
This series is part of the 2013 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration at Indiana University. Sponsors include the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Black Film Center/Archive, Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and IU Cinema. All screenings take place at IU Cinema. Screenings are free, but ticketed.
I Am Somebody (1970) Directed by Madeline Anderson
Friday - January 18 - 4:00 PM
In 1969, filmmaker Madeline Anderson documented the story of 400 poorly paid black American hospital workers in Charleston, South Carolina who went on strike and demanded a fair wage increase, only to find themselves in a confrontation with the state government and National Guard. Supported by such notable figures as Andrew Young and Coretta Scott King, the women moved forward under the guidance of a New York-based union, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The film will be followed by a lecture from Madeline Anderson. (16mm. 28 min. Not Rated.)
Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored (1995) Directed by Tim Reid
Saturday - January 19 - 3:00 PM
In a tightly connected black community in Mississippi in the 1940s, people live and depend on each other and roots run deep. One American family must come to terms with the risks it is willing to take to fight racism in the segregated South. The film is an adaptation of Clifton L. Taulbert’s autobiography in which a young Taulbert recounts his life, beginning with his birth in a cotton field in 1946. In the moments before the American civil rights movement, the narrator shares an epic American saga of struggle, strength, and destiny. Special thanks to BET Entertainment. (HD Cam. 115 min. Rated PG.)
Boycott (2001) Directed by Clark Johnson
Saturday - January 19 - 9:30 PM
In 1955, Rosa Parks dared to take an empty seat in the “Whites Only” section on a city bus in Montgomery, AL. Her single act sparked one of the first major battles in the civil rights movement. Naming Dr. King its president, the Montgomery Improvement Association successfully brought the black community together in one of the first major organized, grass-roots battles against segregation and racism in the 1950s. Boycott dramatizes the events of the Montgomery bus boycott, weaving vintage newsreel footage with scenes depicting the public and private dramas involved in the protests. Starring Jeffrey Wright, Terrence Howard, and CCH Pounder. Special thanks to HBO Films. (HD Cam. 118 min. Rated PG.)
Documentary screening: The Road to Brown
Free screening sponsored by the Indiana University Black Law Students Association, the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program, and the Black Film Center/Archive.
The Road to Brown (1990) Directed by William Elwood
Tuesday - January 22 - 7:00 PM
The Road to Brown tells the story of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling as the culmination of a brilliant legal assault on segregation that launched the Civil Rights movement. It is also a moving and long overdue tribute to a visionary but little known black lawyer, Charles Hamilton Houston, "the man who killed Jim Crow." Houston, the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, dean of Howard University Law School and chief counsel to the NAACP, launched a number of precedent-setting cases leading up to Brown v. Board of Education. He strategically targeted segregated education as the key to undermining the entire Jim Crow system. Interviews with his associates recount how Houston, eschewing the limelight himself, energized a generation of black jurists including future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to wage the struggle against segregation. He taught: "A lawyer is either a social engineer or he is a parasite on society." (California Newsreel)
2013 Black History Month
A series of free screenings at the Black Film Center/Archive, co-sponsored by the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, the Department of History, and the Black Law Students Association. All screenings take place at the Black Film Center/Archive, Wells Library, Room 044B, unless otherwise noted.
A. Philip Randolph For Jobs and Freedom (1996) Directed by Dante James
Wednesday - February 6- 7:00 PM
Ask most people who led the 1963 March on Washington and they'll probably tell you Martin Luther King, Jr. But the real force behind the event was the man many call the pre-eminent black labor leader of the century and the father of the modern civil rights movement: A. Philip Randolph.
Randolph believed that economic rights was the key to advancing civil rights. A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom takes viewers on a tour of 20th-century civil rights and labor history as it chronicles Randolph's legendary efforts to build a more equitable society.
"Randolph' s socialist ideals, his organizing skills, his toughness, shrewdness and endurance come together in a resounding achievement... A revelation." -New York Times
At The River I Stand (1993) Directed by David Appleby, Allison Graham, and Steven Ross
Wednesday - February 13- 7:00 PM
Introduction by Associate Professor of History Alex Lichtenstein
Memphis, Spring 1968 marked the dramatic climax of the Civil Rights movement. At the River I Stand skillfully reconstructs the two eventful months that transformed a strike by Memphis sanitation workers into a national conflagration, and disentangles the complex historical forces that came together with the inevitability of tragedy at the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This 58-minute documentary brings into sharp relief issues that have only become more urgent in the intervening years: the connection between economic and civil rights, debates over strategies for change, the demand for full inclusion of African Americans in American life and the fight for dignity for public employees and all working people.
"One of the most clearheaded, evenhanded documentaries about the civil rights movement you'll ever see, and a piece of gripping story-telling as well." -Dallas Observer
1994 Erik Barnouw Award Recipient, Best Documentary, Organization of American Historians
The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (1998) Directed by Stanley Nelson
Wednesday - February 20- 7:00 PM
The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords is the first film to chronicle the history of the black press, including its central role in the construction of modern African American identity. It recounts the largely forgotten stories of generations of black journalists who risked life and livelihood so African Americans could represent themselves in their own words and images.
The Black Press commemorates a heroic and indispensable chapter in the ongoing struggle for a diverse and democratic media. It demonstrates that the written word has been as fundamental as music or religion to the evolution of African American consciousness—and that it is as important today as in the past for black media professionals to play a vigorous role not just in print media but in the rapidly evolving information technologies of the future.
"Retrieves an important missing page from American history and brings it virtually to life. It's beautifully produced and directed and tells a story as only a powerful film can." -Bill Moyers
“Stanley Nelson's stellar documentary masterfully tells the tale of the scribbling pioneers to whom we owe so much and of whom each black writer today is an heir." -Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University
Struggles in Steel (1996) Directed by Ray Henderson and Tony Buba
Wednesday - February 27- 7:00 PM
The current angry debates around affirmative action too often ignore their historical roots: how prior to government intervention African Americans were confined to the most back-breaking, dangerous and low paid work. Struggles in Steel documents the shameful history of discrimination against black workers and one heroic campaign where they won equality on the job.
Black steelworker Ray Henderson and noted independent filmmaker Tony Buba interviewed more than 70 retired black steelworkers who tell heart-rending tales of struggles with the company, the union and white co-workers to break out of the black job ghetto. With Henderson as guide, they retrace a century of black industrial history.
NOTE: A special lunchtime screening of Struggles in Steel will be held on Wednesday, February 6, 12:30 PM, in the Hoosier-Times Student Commons at Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington.
"An outstanding job!...Provides a vitally important historical foundation for the current debates about race and affirmative action." -Bruce Nelson, Dartmouth College
The Shared Ethnography of Jean Rouch
Jean Rouch’s breakthrough work in cinéma vérité helped inspire the Direct Cinema movement in the U.S. and the New Wave in France, where he was a key figure in the Cinémathèque Française. His long career was intertwined with the transforming world of West Africa, characterized by innovations such as “shared anthropology” and “ethno-fiction,” embracing the daily life and imagination of a new generation of Africans. He developed an entirely new kind of documentary film practice that blurred the boundaries between fiction and reality. Special thanks to Livia Bloom and Icarus Films.
All screenings are at the IU Cinema and are free, but ticketed. In addition to the BFCA, this event is sponsored by the Department of Communication and Culture, Film and Media Studies, Departments of Anthropology, History, African Studies, French and Italian, and the IU Cinema.
The Mad Masters (1955)
In the most controversial film by Jean Rouch, the bustling city of Accra sets the stage for a collision between traditional and modern. From Accra, we travel to a ceremony where music swells as participants are possessed - sleepwalking, speaking in tongues, and eventually collapsing to the ground. Using a hand-held camera and quick cuts, Rouch creates an effect he later called “ciné-trance”. After the ceremony, it’s back to daily life in Accra as laborers, low-ranking soldiers, or pickpockets. Rouch suggests that the ritual serves as a psychological release from the dehumanizing powers of colonization. The screening of Moi, Un Noir will immediately follow. (DigiBeta presentation, 28 min. Not Rated.)
Moi, Un Noir (1958)
Moi, Un Noir marked Jean Rouch’s break with traditional ethnography, and his embrace of the collaborative and improvisatory strategies he called “shared ethnography”. The film depicts an ordinary week in the lives of men and women from Niger who have migrated to Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire for work. Narration is provided by one of its subjects, whose freewheeling commentary describes the bitter reality of life there, while leaving room for his richly detailed inner life. The film’s stylistic innovations had a profound influence on the French New Wave, and Jean-Luc Godard commented that it “…is, in effect, the most daring of films and the humblest.” Immediately follows the screening of The Mad Masters. (DigiBeta presentation, 72 min. Not Rated.)
One of Jean Rouch’s classic ethnofictions, Jaguar follows three young Songhay men from Niger, and the legendary performer Damouré Zika on a journey to the Gold Coast. Drawing from his own fieldwork on intra-African migration, Rouch collaborated with his three subjects on an improvisational narrative. The four filmed the trip in mid-1950s, and reunited a few years later to record the sound, the participants remembering dialogue and making up commentary as they went. The result is a playful film that finds three African men performing an ethnography of their own culture. (DigiBeta presentation, 89 min. Not Rated.)
Mammy Water (1956)
On the coast of Ghana, in the shadows of the Portuguese slave forts, lies the Gulf of Guinea. This sea is home to the “surf boys”, teams of expert fisherman who paddle into the ocean in large canoes, sometimes staying at sea for one or even two nights. Their success is governed by water spirits (‘Mammy Water’). Villagers must honor the spirits with a ceremony if they wish to ensure their fortunes. More strictly observational than most of Rouch’s films, it takes an intimate look at the spiritual traditions and the wider life of a West African fishing village. The screening of The Lion Hunters will immediately follow. (DigiBeta presentation, 18 min. Not Rated.)
The Lion Hunters (1965)
Shot on the border between Niger and Mali over a period of seven years, The Lion Hunters is Jean Rouch’s documentation of the lion hunt performed by the bow hunters of the Songhay people. Rouch said that he made the film “to try to give the audience a feeling of what I myself felt as I was learning the way of the lion hunt”. The film portrays the immediacy of the hunt, but it also explores the complex social organization that underlies it, and the difficult questions entailed by its representation. Immediately follows the screening of Mammy Water. (DigiBeta presentation, 77 min. Not Rated.)
Claire Denis: Confronting the Other
Claire Denis is one of the greatest filmmakers working in the cinema today - period. Her films are visually stunning, technically accomplished and thematically complex. And, in the words of Andrew Hussey of The Observer, she is “fearless”. Her solidarity with the disenfranchised and her sometimes frightening intelligence leads to incisive critiques of the way the personal and political become intertwined, but ultimately invites us to determine what lines are being crossed.
In celebration of her career, the Black Film Center/Archive presents an exhibit at the Herman G. Wells Library, Room 044. Comprising ten original French-release posters for the films of Claire Denis, this exhibit foregrounds the organizing thematics of this umcompromising and principled filmmaker, without equal in her interrogation of the Other. Each of these posters references a film and has its own story to narrate. Each is a constituent of the films' promotional and exhibition histories. And each reflexively questions itself as it depicts the film it claims to represent.
Filming Work: Working Films
Since the birth of the medium, filmmakers have made the struggles of ordinary people for workplace justice a central theme in the cinema. From the early films of Eisenstein to the contemporary work of John Sayles and Ken Loach, work and workers have captured the visual imagination of moviegoers. These films offer historical and contemporary depictions of struggles among the working class. The series is sponsored by Bloomington Jobs with Justice, IU Labor Studies Program, Latino Studies, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Cultural Studies Program, Department of History, Black Film Center/Archive, and IU Cinema. Special thanks to Alex Lichtenstein. All screenings take place at IU Cinema.
The Killing Floor (1985) Directed by Bill Duke
The Killing Floor explores the conflicting loyalties of African-American stockyards workers in Chicago during the First World War. Starring Damon Leake and Moses Gunn, the story pits a black worker who joins an interracial union against his rival who believes that blacks must look after themselves. Based on impeccable historical research into the lives of actual stockyard workers, this powerful docudrama won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award and was invited to Cannes. (16mm. 118 min. Rated PG.)
Bread and Roses (2000) Directed by Ken Loach
Starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist) as a union organizer and Pilar Padilla as an undocumented worker, Bread and Roses brings Loach’s customary sympathetic portrayal of working people to the story of the immigrants who clean the office towers of Los Angeles. Loach’s gritty, amusing, and spirited fictional film documents the real life organizing drive of “Justice for Janitors,” a key moment in the rebirth of American unions among service workers and the newest generation of immigrants. (35mm. 110 min. Rated R.)