3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series proudly presents our first documentary film of the 2016-2017 series: “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets”, directed by Marc Silver.

On November 23, 2012, four boys in a red SUV pull into a gas station, after spending time at a mall buying sneakers and talking to girls. With music blaring, one boy exits the car and enters the store, a quick stop, for a soda and a pack of gum.  A man and a woman pull up next to the boys in the station, making a stop for a bottle of wine. The woman enters the store, and an argument breaks out when the driver of the second car asks the boys to turn the music down. 3 1/2 minutes and ten bullets later, one of the boys is dead.

This riveting documentary is one story of the devastating effects of racial bias and the search for justice. Negative portrayals of black men and boys in the media lead to irrational fears; these implicit biases can prove deadly. The film dissects the aftermath of this fatal encounter using powerful footage which shows intimate scenes with the boy’s parents, the police interrogation footage, and interviews with others at the scene that night. You are on the edge of your seat during the trial testimonies.

We chose this film to bring audiences into the discussion of racial bias and gun violence.

This documentary won the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Social Impact: “If you have paid any attention to the news, you know that we are a nation in crisis. As jury, we feel that, it is important to recognize a film that, because of the close collaboration between the filmmakers and their subjects, lets the audience examine that crisis, lets the audience consider the consequences of that crisis, and invites us all to consider this very difficult question: why are young black men so often the objects of fear?  This documentary matters”.

2 free screenings:
Wednesday, September 28
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
  Free reception at 6:30pm, screening at 7:00 pm, 8:30 pm facilitated community discussion

Sunday, October 2, at 3 – 4:30PM
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

appropriate for ages 12 and up

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F R E E

Love dance? Come see the power for young people of participating in a performance troupe, featured in the Appreciating Diversity film for May.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series, in association with CHIME, a Piedmont parent support group for arts in the schools, is proud to present the film F R E E, a feature documentary which follows five of the teens in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company in Oakland.

Each year the students of Destiny Arts co-create a performance piece that asks them to dig deeply into their lives. Candid discussions of poverty, alienation, HIV status, sexual abuse, and gang violence arise as dauntingly complex, if not insurmountable, obstacles to happiness. Destiny Arts provides a safe haven for the teens to share their stories, to build community, and to express themselves artistically.

Despite the challenges the students face, under the careful guidance of Destiny’s artistic director Sarah Crowell, F R E E reveals how collaborative performance art can be a foundation for personal strength, liberation and hope.

Academy award nominated director David Collier and first-time director Suzanne LaFetra recognized the transformational power of Destiny’s programs when they happened to see one of the performances in 2010. “Not only was the show visually dazzling, but the youth artfully tackled issues of social justice and personal identity. These teenagers’ whole-body, whole-heart dedication to conveying truth was not just powerful, it was good,” said LaFetra.

2 free screenings:
Wednesday, May 4
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
 Reception at 6:30pm, screening at 7:00 pm, followed by a discussion.

Saturday, May 7, at 3 PM
(time may change, depending on Warriors schedule).
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

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The Mask You Live In

Man up!  Don’t be a sissy!  Statistics tell us that compared to girls, boys are more likely to flunk or drop out of school, two times more likely to be in special education, and four times more likely to be expelled.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death for boys.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series is proud to present the award-winning documentary film, THE MASK YOU LIVE IN by Jennifer Seibel Newsom, which explores the pressure for boys to “act like men.” For this film we are pleased to have the Piedmont Parents Network (PPN), a support group for parents of Piedmont Middle and High School students, as our co-sponsor.

THE MASK YOU LIVE IN follows boys and young men as they confront messages from media, peer groups and even adults in their lives, encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance to create a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

The film includes interviews with experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media, offering substantial evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it. The Mask You Live In illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series is sponsored by the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee and the Piedmont League of Women Voters.

 2 FREE Screenings

In Piedmont:  Thursday, March 17, 2016
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
6:30 PM Free reception | 7 – 8:45 PM screening

In Oakland: Saturday, March 26, 2016
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street (near Telegraph), Oakland

3:00 pm

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At the River I Stand

Produced and directed by David Appleby, Allison Graham and Steven Ross

At the River I Stand is a poignant documentary set in Memphis, Tennessee during the 1960s, At the River I Stand, is a narrative about mobilization, determination and tragedy during the civil rights movement. It covers two very eventful months in 1968 that culminate with the success of the unionization of sanitation workers and the tragic death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis.

Narrated by Paul Winfield, At The River I Stand tells the story of how, after integration, African Americans were pushed to the bottom of society. With extremely low wages and poor working conditions it was only a matter of time before emotions strained towards the breaking point. In February 1968, the atrocious working conditions for African Americans came to a head with the death of two sanitation workers. With no insurance or worker’s compensation, their families were left with nothing but heartache and more desperate times. As a result, 1300 sanitation workers walked off the job in a strike that lasted 65 days. With the simple statement “I am a Man” the worker’s movement gained momentum and determination. The strike then received national attention as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought his Poor People’s Campaign to Memphis.

The documentary uses authentic black and white newsreel footage and still photos intertwined with poignant interviews of individuals, 30 years later, who had played a part in this movement. Although predominately from the African American perspective of the civil rights movement, there is interview footage of those who were opposed to unionizing African American workers in the 1960s. The interview of Jared Blanchard, who was a City Council member in 1968, was courageous, as he reminisces honestly about what he thought back then, showing a glimpse into what he was experiencing on the other side of the conflict. – “We believed we knew best for the black man – for at least a few weeks”.

An eloquent and powerful film, “At the River I Stand” is a very moving and inspirational film. It is a simple film with a lot to say about a complex issue. *

The Piedmont Diversity Film Committee chose this film because it’s an important historical film that informs us about today’s challenges in the labor movement; still struggling to earn a living wage and decent working conditions.

*Commentary by Jennifer Ceconni Education/film Consultant from F & H Film & History, An Interdisciplinary Journal.

There will be a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy on January 18 at the Piedmont Community Center.

2 FREE Screenings
In Piedmont: Thursday, January 21, 2016
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

6:30 PM Reception w/light refreshments | 7 – 8:00 PM Screening, followed by community discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, January 23, 2016
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street near Telegraph, Oakland, CA 94612

Screening 3:00 – 4:00 pm, followed by community discussion

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The Hunting Ground

The statistics are staggering: one in five college women is sexually assaulted, yet only a fraction of these crimes are reported, and even fewer result in punishment for the perpetrators. Federal government efforts to remedy this failure have opened a national conversation about sex and sexual assault on campus. This film documents the reality behind those efforts.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series* presents The Hunting Ground, by Academy Award nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, which chronicles the experiences of campus assault victims after they survive what they thought was the worst ordeal of their lives. The film exposes the reality of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States–the frequency of assaults, the institutional coverups, and the emotional toll on the victims and their families. This acclaimed documentary, which made its debut earlier this year at Sundance, is a “must see” for all parents of college-bound high school students, as well as the students themselves. Everyone should see it.

“A shameful indictment of some of our most admired institutions, including Harvard University, the aptly named “The Hunting Ground” paints a portrait of American colleges as dangerous for young women because of the high rate of sexual assault and the institutions’ virtually universal response: to blame the victims, treat rape as a “public relations management problem” and protect the colleges’ good names and lofty reputations.” Boston Herald, March 13, 2015.

In the film, rape survivors and their families testify to a story that has become all too common–those brave enough to report the crimes face disbelief, apathy, blame, and at times, harassment and retaliation from both their fellow students and the administrators whose job it is to protect them. On many campuses, the rules and procedures dealing with assault are outdated, uncoordinated among various committees, and do not require police or criminal investigation.

The filmmakers uncover an alarming effort on the part of universities and colleges to downplay and deny sexual assaults on their campuses to keep crime statistics low, public ratings high, and donors happy. They also follow courageous survivors who are striking back with an innovative legal strategy that uses Title IX legislation to make college administrations take notice, ignite a national debate over campus assaults and create a network of support for young women who refuse to remain silent.

2 FREE Screenings
In Piedmont: Thursday, October 29
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

6:30 PM Free reception | 7 – 8:30 PM screening followed by discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, November 7
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street near Telegraph, Oakland, CA 94612
3:00 – 4:30 pm

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Three to Infinity: Beyond Two Genders

Are there only two genders?  What does it mean to be gender fluid?  Do you know someone who identifies  as agender? Gender-queer? Cisgender? Transgender? What do these terms mean?  The Appreciating Diversity Film Series has chosen a thought provoking and fascinating documentary on the topic of gender identity. Local Berkeley director Lonny Shavelson spotlights individuals and their loved ones, as they share their lives. “Three to Infinity: Beyond Two Genders” explores the world where gender is a spectrum of possibilities.

This is the first feature length documentary on the topic of genders outside the binary male/female choice. According to director Lonny Shavelson, “… There is a wealth of gender variations: effeminate men, masculine women, men sexually attracted to men, women to women, and some to both.” In the past, “invariably individuals were forced to decide: male or female. And although some transpeople switched from one gender to the other, it was still: Two genders.” Over time, Shavelson noticed that people who do not identify as male or female (non-binary gender) are becoming increasingly common.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series chose this film because it challenges assumptions and offers opportunities to walk in another person’s shoes.  “New ideas bounced around my brain while seeing this film,” commented member Ilene Wagner. “My mind was blown. I saw many things I hadn’t  realized before,” added member Julie Chang. This film  immerses viewers in a world where gender is more than two possibilities.

For example, Sasha F. was set on fire while sleeping on a public bus in San Francisco because he was wearing a skirt. Sasha said, “Some people have a file in their brain that says, ‘gender, male or female.’ I don’t see that file.” We also hear from the parents of gender fluid individuals as they come to understand their children’s identities.

The film was voted the best feature documentary of “The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival”, May 2015.

2 FREE Screenings
In Piedmont: Wednesday, September 30
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

6:30 PM Free reception | 7 – 8:20 PM screening followed by discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, October 3
The New Parkway , 474 24th Street near Telegraph, Oakland, CA 94612
3:00 pm

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Are We Crazy About Our Kids? + Wounded Places

Produced by California Newsreel and Vital Pictures, 2015

In the US, young mothers and working families struggle to find time, money and resources to provide the nurturing environments all babies and young children need to thrive—while too often hindered by social conditions that put their children on low developmental trajectories.

These films are part of a larger series, The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation. The two films we will screen show the enormous benefits gained for both children and the larger society when early childcare and pre-school programs are well-funded, and the tragic impact for our children and society when these programs are either not available, or poorly funded and staffed.

Are We Crazy About Our Kids? looks at studies by prominent economists  who have studied the costs and benefits of high-quality early care and preschool. And they’re worried—not because we’re spending too much–but because we’re spending too little where it matters most. The question is–what will we do about it? How crazy are we about our kids?

Wounded Places In Philadelphia and here in Oakland, this episode chronicles the stories of children shaken by violence and adversity and asks not “What’s wrong with you?” but “What happened to you?” and “How can traumatized children and neighborhoods heal?”

TWO FREE SCREENINGS

In Piedmont: Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont

6:30 PM Reception | 7 PM Screening | 8:15 PM Discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, June 27, 2015
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

3 PM Screening | 4:15 PM Discussion

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