New Films in African American and African Studies
African American Studies
Hundr e in Afr ds more fi lms ican A and A m frican erican Studie availa at film ble online s akers. com.
Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement A film by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
This enlightening portrait joins African American social activist Julian Bond as he traces his roots back to slavery. A leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Julian Bond was among the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a leader of the 1963 March on Washington, and a Georgia legislator for twenty years. Now in his seventies, Bond recalls the experience of growing up in the segregated south, where his parents’ belief in hard work and education lifted the family out of what he describes as an apartheid system. Audiences visit his classroom at the University of Virginia where this erudite, well-spoken man shares with a new generation the turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement. Julian Bond’s recollections chronicle several decades of American history, as society was evolving to allow more opportunity to African Americans. “Artfully directed and extensively researched, Montes-Bradley offers a look into the thoughts, mind, and life of one of our . . . greatest Civil Rights leaders. Probing, thoughtful, and informative . . . the film leaves an indelible imprint.” –Jody Kielbasa, director, Virginia Film Festival 32 min. DVD or three-year streaming: $199. 978-1-4631-1647-7
The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights Executive produced by Bonnie Boswell Hamilton The Powerbroker portrays the life of Whitney Young, who has been called “the inside man of the black revolution.” As Executive Director of the National Urban League from 1961 to 1971, he helped thousands of people struggling against discrimination. Unique among black leaders, Young took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, but often arousing disdain from the very people he was trying to help. The Powerbroker chronicles the public and private trials of a man navigating a divided society in an explosive time. Young’s journey took him from rural Kentucky to the segregated US Army, where he learned his first lessons in negotiating race relations. Back in civilian life, Young reached out to local businesses, encouraging them to give their African American neighbors a chance for a job. When he reached national prominence, Young used the same strategy on a grander scale. During the turbulent 1960s, he acted as a diplomat between those in power and those striving for change. Young advised Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and guided each along a path toward historic change. The pivotal events of the Civil Rights Era—Brown v Board of Education, the March on Washington, and the Vietnam War—are seen through the eyes of a man striving to change the establishment from within. To tell his story, Whitney Young’s niece, Emmy-award winning journalist Bonnie Boswell Hamilton, gathered never-before-seen archival footage, home movies, family photos, audio tapes of Young, and interviews with activists and scholars such as Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Vernon Jordan, Dorothy Height, Ossie Davis, and John Hope Franklin. 54 min. DVD or three-year streaming: $350. 978-1-4631-1642-2
Facing Forward: A Charter School for At-risk Youth A film by Laura Paglin
In Cleveland, where only one in twenty African American males graduates from high school, a new charter middle school, E Prep, is one of a wave of organizations championing the “old school” values of hard work, discipline, and respect for authority. Here viewers meet Tyree, a charismatic but troubled twelve-year-old who struggles with his identity. Endowed with a quick mind and vivid imagination, he is also plagued with a temper that leads to outbursts of anger and clashes with his teachers. His mother’s initial enthusiasm for the school vanishes as complaints about his behavior mount. After transferring to a chaotic and undisciplined public school and finding little success there, Tyree is readmitted to E Prep, but has trouble focusing and is victimized because fellow students suspect he is gay. Despite graduating eighth grade, Tyree’s life remains in limbo as he begins to attend a low-performing high school. This award-winning film asks the question, can a school with high expectations overcome the negativity of an inner city community? 67 min. DVD: $295. Three year streaming: $199. 978-1-4631-1191-5
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African Studies Blood in the Mobile: Mining in the Congo A film by Frank Piasecki Poulsen
Americans love their mobile phones. They connect the population to family and friends, but also to the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the most dangerous places on earth. Inside many mobile phones are illegally mined minerals, minerals that fuel conflict, create child slavery, and support other severe human rights abuses in the Congo. This riveting documentary reveals a mineral trade plagued with violence and human exploitation. The director takes on the Congolese military and corrupt warlords with barnstorming bravado to gain access to Bisie—a militia-controlled slave mine that produces cassiterite, a tin oxide used in cell phones—where as many as 25,000 captive workers live in unimaginable squalor and fear. He takes his findings to the Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia, a company that nets up to 1.6 billion dollars in profits annually, with the hope that Nokia will stand behind its claims of sustainability. But Nokia refuses to acknowledge the use of “blood” in the manufacture of their cellphones. Blood in the Mobile is a film about human courage, hope, and the search for solutions. “A disturbing film depicts the high price in African blood paid for the convenience of cell phones, as well as the relative indifference of big corporations that do not know—or at least do not care—where their raw materials come from.” –Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database 82 min. DVD or three-year streaming: $295. 978-1-4631-1238-7. Available only in North America.
A Place without People: Tanzania A film by Andreas Apostolides
A Place without People: Tanzania tells the story of the eviction of the indigenous people from their lands in Tanzania to clear space for the creation of the world’s most famous nature reserves. In Tanzania, one of the world’s poorest nations, the government, tourist industry, and conservation organizations have advanced the idea that Africans are intruders into what was once a pristine Garden of Eden. The film describes how prior to World War II, the land of the Maasai was seized by British colonialists to set aside for their own sport—hunting. But as game grew scarce in the 1950s and ‘60s, the British began to prioritize preservation and turned the Serengeti into a vast national park. Although there was no evidence that local people threatened wildlife, it was decreed that “no men, not even native ones, should live inside its borders.” The film explores how Western perceptions about nature have evolved through time and how these perceptions radically altered this East African landscape and the culture of its natives. From the famous wildlife reserves of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro to the remote mountains of Mahale, the documentary gives voice to the indigenous people who continue to be antagonized and excluded as the tourist industry rapidly depletes the area’s water and other natural resources. “A Place without People is a beautiful, chilling, important piece of documentary filmmaking. It illustrates the inherent contradictions between preservation and tradition; if possible, it could make even more strongly the point that ‘parks’ and ‘conservation’ and ‘wildlife’ are Western concepts, imposed with . . . colonial certainty and impunity. . . Many Americans are aware of, and care about, the animals of Africa. Fewer are aware of, or care about, the native peoples. And fewer still realize how Western ideas and interests—from conservation to recreational killing—are threatening both.” –Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database 55 min. DVD: $295. Three-year streaming: $199. 978-1-4631-0781-9
Africa’s Last Taboo
Directed by Robin Barnwell for Insight News TV In Africa, where two-thirds of countries maintain laws against homosexuality, gay people face increasing persecution. Award-winning African correspondent Sorious Samura investigates the experience of being gay in Africa, and discovers staggering levels of prejudice and hate, driven by governments, religious organizations, and communities. Samura examines the impact extreme homophobia is having on gay people’s lives, tracking down the victims of a recent mob attack in Kenya, and speaking to gay men who have spent time in prison for their sexuality. He discovers an AIDS epidemic, where the disease is spreading at an alarming rate among gay men who are not being given vital sex education and health care. In Uganda, Samura finds Muslims and Christians working closely together to target homosexuality, and visiting American pastors helping to spread anti-gay sentiment. The film shines light on an overlooked human rights abuse in Africa that requires the attention of the global community. 50 min. DVD: $295. Three-year streaming: $199. 978-1-4631-1557-9
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Published on May 14, 2013