Deborah A. Thomas & John L. Jackson, Jr., Jamaica/USA, 63 min Documentary
For many around the world, Jamaica conjures up images of pristine beach vacations with a pulsating reggae soundtrack. The country, however, also has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world, and the population is actively grappling with legacies of Western imperialism, racial slavery, and political nationalism – the historical foundations of contemporary violence in Jamaica and throughout the Americas. BAD FRIDAY focuses on a community of Rastafarians in western Jamaica who annually commemorate the 1963 Coral Gardens “incident,” a moment just after independence when the Jamaican government rounded up, jailed and tortured hundreds of Rastafarians. It chronicles the history of violence in Jamaica through the eyes of its most iconic community, and shows how people use their recollections of past traumas to imagine new possibilities for a collective future. Format: A feature-length documentary (running time 63 minutes) shot in DV, mini-DV and HD that also includes archival footage, reproductions of still photographs, and an original score composed by Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn. BAD FRIDAY is in English and Jamaican patois, with English subtitles. Style: The film is shot mostly in an observational and ethnographic style, with hand-held shots of Rastafarians giving us the history of the movement, explaining the events leading up to the Coral Gardens “incident,” and offering testimonials about their own experiences of violence at the hands of the Jamaican state as a result of that incident. The film concludes with a discussion of reparations, both broadly (for those who were trafficked as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade) and specifically (for those Rastafarians who suffered at the hands of the Jamaican security forces in 1963). BAD FRIDAY is not dominated by experts and talking heads, as the subjects speak for themselves. The film was shot on location in Jamaica, and the original score features modern renderings of the traditional musical forms that comprise the roots of reggae music (the soundtrack is also available).
John Jackson will be present for Q&A after the screening!
Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 focuses on Audre Lorde’s relation to the German Black Diaspora, her literary as well as political influence, and is a unique visual document about the times the author spent in Germany. The film is also for coming generations a valuable historical document of German history, which tells about the development of an Afro-German movement and the origins of the anti-racist movement before and after the German reunification.
This film is the story of a cultural legend as told by the innovators of an important, and in some cases overlooked, era in Black culture. Spanning the late 1980′s through to the early 2000′s, this story goes deep into the fabric of soul music, it’s definitions, it’s pioneers, it’s offspring, it’s movements, the challenges with the “mainstream” industry as well as the evolution of the FunkJazz Kafé Arts & Music Festival, a music and artistic renaissance movement born out of Atlanta’s diverse musical and cultural arts heritage. The film covers the decade when Atlanta’s underground music scene became established on the world stage and a new generation of soul singers and musicians emerged. FunkJazz Kafé:Diary Of A Decade (The Story Of A Movement) also explores the question of how we got to live soul bands being non-existing in the commercial music landscape of the 21st century when there once was a plethora of soul and R&B bands since the creation of recorded music.
CORNEL WEST, DICK GREGORY, DALLAS AUSTIN, ERYKAH BADU, CARON WHEELER, LARRY MIZELL, JOI GILLIAM, GEORGE CLINTON, CEE LO GREEN, JILL SCOTT, ROY AYERS, JAMIE FOXX, RAPHAEL SAADIQ, LIL’ JOHN ROBERTS, THE CHRONICLE, GOODIE MOB, DOUG E. FRESH, JANELLE MONAE, MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO, CHUCK D, PROFESSOR GRIFF, OMAR LYE-FOOK, MC LYTE, TALIB KWELI, COMMON, JAMAL AHMAD, ANTHONY DAVID, RAY MURRAY, ANDRE 3000, N’DEA DAVENPORT, ALGEBRA, LERONDE WILLIAMS, KEVIN POWELL, LOOSE ENDS, BILAL, DIONNE FARRIS, VAN HUNT, ERIC ROBERSON, DONNIE, LADY ALMA, BONE CRUSHER, STICMAN of DEAD PREZ, DJ KEMIT and SPEECH.
Jason Orr will be present for Q&A after the screening!
Roni Nicole will be present for Q&A after the screening!
Atlanta is the first installment of a series exploring the enigmatic brilliance of Bilal Oliver. In Episode 1, Bilal soaks in the energy of a rainy Atlanta day, spends a cool night vibing with fans at eclectic music store, Moods Music and bears the pain of beauty at ATL’s dopest tattoo parlor, City of Ink. As fans from all over the Southeast gather to rock out at Bilal’s early March 2012 show, we close this chapter wanting to know more of what one of our time’s most unique voices has to say. Conceived and executive produced by Bilal Oliver and Hans Elder.
Kurt Orderson will be present for Q&A after the screening!
On 27 February 1986, Derrick Orderson, a marginalized swimmer from the Cape Flats, swam a time of 25.81 seconds in the 50m Freestyle, 2 seconds under the world record at the time, yet he was prevented from representing his country on the world stage. This film tells the story of Orderson’s world record setting feats, his humbleness, and perseverance. Yet, it not only focuses on the individual, but also honors and reminds us of all our other forgotten sporting and social activists, while highlighting the unique revolutionary role that the South African Council on Sport (SACOS) played during these troubled times in our recent past. SACOS was formed in 1973. With its slogan “No normal sport in an abnormal society” opposed racism in sport and organized many sportsmen and women into a political movement that actively opposed apartheid laws and brought international attention to the oppressive political situation in South Africa with a focus on discriminatory sporting practices. The film explores an expression of the intersection between the personal and the political for a black sportsperson growing up in abnormal society, who despite inhumane prejudice excelled, and still continues to monitor and participate in the transformation of sports in the post-Apartheid era, today.
In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Award-winning Reelblack production Jazzyfatnastees In Process and the upcoming release of the long-awaited concert film Last Night At The Five Spot, Reelblack is digging into its vault to screen classic clips by artists who made their name at the legendary Black Lily. The Black Lily was a weekly live music showcase founded by Mercedes Martinez and Tracey Moore of The Jazzyfatnastees, which ran from 2000-2005 at the Five Spot in Old City. Many of the artists who performed there would quickly garner nationwide fame including Jazmine Sullivan, Floetry, Kindred The Family Soul, Lady Alma and Jaguar Wright. The film includes rare short films and performance clips by these artists as well as by unsigned Lily legends like Nou Ra, Aaries and Sh-keenan.
Mike Dennis will be present for Q&A after the screening!
Cosmos Corbin & Ri Stewart, Brazil, 71 min Documentary
Three world renowned masters (Olavo dos Santos, Boca Rica, and Cobra Mansa) tell of the oppressive conditions during and after slavery which shaped the unique art form of Capoeira. Sharing radically different views their focuses range from the violence of Capoeira’s early days, to the modern social benefits of Capoeira for a youth in troubled times. They describe the subtleties of the art form’s deceptive moves and articulate, through personal insight, an animated and colorful picture of Capoeira. Living under bridges on the ghetto streets of Salvador Brazil a young man (Roque Batista) turns to Capoeira in order to save himself from destitution. In the struggle to better his life Roque becomes a teacher of Capoeira, and we meet his young student Tamir as she turns to the art form in an effort to avoid the dangers of street life. Weaving between interviews, rare old footage, and modern exhibitions of Capoeira, the film tells the stories of these people. In so doing, connections to slavery, African Candomble and magic are discovered. Tales of the legendary Besouro (the flying Capoeirista) aquaint us with a mystical and enigmatic figure, as much legend as historical, who mastered the arts of African magic. The ritualistic and rhythmic music of the berimbau is central to Capoeira, and the film explores its many aspects including how one is made, its importance to the roda, and even stories of one instrument’s supernatural capacities. In the end, despite their grit and troubles, the battle-scarred old masters rejoice with their community in the marketplace and the roda. The man from the streets looks toward the future, and from their stories we get a sense of where Capoeira has come from, what it is, and where it may be going. Rather than pulling back in a traditional documentary style to give a broad overview, the film takes us inside the lives of these men to experience the essence of what Capoeira is. Rather than an historical account, it is an artistic penetration into the subject of Capoeira.
Dir. Nelson George & Diane Paragas, USA, 75 min Documentary
Brooklyn Boheme is a love letter to a vibrant African American artistic community who resided in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill Brooklyn during the 80’s and 90’s that included the great Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Branford Marsalis, Rosie Perez, Saul Williams, Lorna Simpson, Talib Kweli just to name a few. Narrated and written by Fort Greene resident Nelson George, this feature length documentary celebrates “Brooklyn’s equivalent of the Harlem Renaissance” and follows the rise of a new kind of African American artist, the Brooklyn Boheme.
This community of artists made this part of Brooklyn a mecca for young black and Latinos, where they were bonded by great ambition, good times and jamming parties.
Brooklyn Boheme is a chronicle of that magical time as a flowering of great art made by black Americans. The documentary is a funny, joyous look at a time and place with charismatic storytellers and dazzling photography telling this amazing story.
Inspiring, dynamic and colorful, Brooklyn Boheme will make you wish, you too, would have been invited to the party.
Nelson George will be present for Q&A after the screening!