7 documentaries selected to screen at Facing Race 2016

face-raceRace Forward has teamed up with Working Films to present Race Flicks, the film track of Facing Race: A National Conference being held in Atlanta, GA from November 10-12, 2016. This year’s Race Flicks program will focus on creating impact with film. And the selected films were choosen in large part because of the way they have been or could be used strategically by activists, organizers, and nonprofits to advance their work for racial justice.

Dozens of filmmakers applied for the opportunity to screen their film at Facing Race. Seven were selected. These include:

America Divided: The Class Divide by Richard Rowley, Rebecca Teitel and Jesse Williams Actor and former teacher Jesse Williams journeys to St. Petersburg, Florida, notorious for being the unlikely epicenter of the student achievement gap and school-to-prison pipeline. Williams investigates how resegregation has led to a massive educational and criminal justice divide for the students — and witnesses the community’s efforts to confront the school system and close the gap. “The Class Divide” is a segment of the new EPIX original docs-series America Divided, created by Solly Granatstein, Lucian Read and Richard Rowley and executive produced by Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and Common, which follows actors and activists as they explore stories of inequality in education, housing, the environment, immigration, health, labor, criminal justice, and the political system.

Breathin’: the Eddy Zheng Story by Ben Whang Arrested at 16 and tried as an adult for kidnapping and robbery, Eddy Zheng served over 20 years in California prisons and jails. Ben Wang’s BREATHIN’: THE EDDY ZHENG STORY paints an intimate portrait of Eddy—the prisoner, the immigrant, the son, the activist—on his journey to freedom, rehabilitation and redemption. BREATHIN’ won the 2016 CAAMFest Audience Award for Documentary Feature.

The Conversation: A series of short films about race in America by Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Blair Foster, Geeta Gandbhir, Perri Peltz When it comes to race relations in America, there has been no shortage of rhetoric, rage and accusations, but too few attempts have been made to elevate the conversation beyond superficial remarks. Comprised of seven shorts, The Conversation Series avoids a single narrative, with each piece exploring a different facet of societal perceptions that provide honest and surprising insight into the reality of our social systems.

First Light by Adam Mazo & Ben Pender-Cudlip First Light documents the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first such task force in US history to investigate issues important to Native Americans. The Commission was dedicated to uncovering and acknowledging the truth about what happened to Wabanaki children and families involved with the state’s child welfare system. The commission is one of the first in the world to examine issues of Native child welfare.

Last Day of Freedom by Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman When Bill Babbitt realizes his brother Manny has committed a crime he agonizes over his decision- should he call the police? Last Day of Freedom, a richly animated personal narrative, tells the story of Bill’s decision to stand by his brother in the face of war, crime and capital punishment. The film is a portrait of a man at the nexus of the most pressing social issues of our day – veterans’ care, mental health access and criminal justice

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice by Deborah Riley Draper Olympic Pride, American Prejudice explores the experiences of 18 African American Olympians who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to win hearts and medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The althetes represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. Utilizing the wealth of newsreel material, newspaper articles, photographs, personal interviews and never-before-seen footage the film story shares a vital part of history and is as relevant today as it was almost 80 years ago.

Ovarian Psycos by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle Riding at night through streets deemed dangerous in Eastside Los Angeles, the Ovarian Psycos use their bicycles to confront the violence in their lives. At the helm of the crew is founder Xela de la X, a single mother and poet M.C. dedicated to recruiting an unapologetic, misfit crew of women of color. The film intimately chronicles Xela as she struggles to strike a balance between her activism and nine year old daughter Yoli; street artist Andi who is estranged from her family and journeys to become a leader within the crew; and bright eyed recruit Evie, who despite poverty, and the concerns of her protective Salvadoran mother, discovers a newfound confidence.

 The Facing Race and Working Films team will work with selected filmmakers to create dynamic programming for each film. This will include participation by select filmmakers and characters featured in the documentaries, curated post screening conversations with activists and organizations, and opportunities for audiences to learn how take films back to their communities and use them to incite change.

See the program: https://facingrace.raceforward.org/program/race-flicks

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