2017 Oscar-Nominated “13th” to screen 3/21, with film-featured speaker Melina Abdullah

“How did we get from abolishing slavery with the 13th Amendment, to imprisoning way more people than any other country in the world?” asks Ava DuVernay. 13th is her riveting response. The film explores the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in America. It’s titled after the US Constitution’s 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, “except as punishment for a crime.” The film shows how that exception portended a series of laws and actions that have perpetuated slavery’s devastating effects to the present day.

The Bay Area Writing Project will both join ADFS in the screening, and offer a half-day seminar for teachers the next day at UC Berkeley. (see below)

What: FREE Screening & Bay Area Writing Project-facilitated conversation with Melina Abdullah, who is featured in the film.

When: 6:30 – 9 PM, Friday, April 21, 2017

Where: Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont, CA

Our guest speaker, Melina Abdullah, is featured in 13th. She is a Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. She was one of the original organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement and continues to serve serve in a leadership capacity.

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The evening’s program has been organized to combine the film with facilitated community conversation and teacher professional development. All are welcome.

The screening is also the first part of a two-day BAWP Professional Development Program for Teachers, aimed at helping the participants to find approaches to raising these delicate conversations in meaningful and powerful ways. The Program continues with teacher professional development workshops at UC Berkeley the following morning, April 22nd from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. Registration for the workshops will be $30 and will be led by Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultants. Registration is now available online at www.bayareawritingproject.org/13thworkshops

The Bay Area Writing Project is a non-profit organization out of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education.

 13th receives critical praise: 2017 Oscar Nomination for Best Documentary

A Powerful, infuriating and at times overwhelming, Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13TH will get your blood boiling and tear ducts leaking. — Manohla Dargis, The NYTimes

 When you watch “13TH,” you feel that you’re seeing an essential dimension of America with new vision. That’s what a cathartically clear-eyed work of documentary art can do.  — Owen Gleiberman, Variety

 In this fierce call to action, director Ava DuVernay effectively doubles down on both educating her viewers and inspiring them to take a stand against racial injustice in 2016 America.  — Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media

Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw to screen 3/15 & 19 — Filmmaker to speak

Mind/Game intimately chronicles the struggle with depression and bipolar disease experienced by star basketball player, Chamique Holdsclaw. She was hailed as the “female Michael Jordan” and seemed destined for a spectacular professional career as a 3-time NCAA champion and number one draft pick in the WNBA.

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When her long-suppressed battle with mental disorders became apparent and began to affect her playing, she decided to go public with her condition, and in the process became a mental health advocate. She went on to face dramatic, unexpected challenges to her own recovery.

Mind/Game, produced by Rick Goldsmith and narrated by Glenn Close, tells her powerful story of courage, struggle, and redemption. Goldsmith will speak about the film at the Piedmont screening.

As unique as Chamique’s journey is, it reflects the challenges faced by millions of individuals and families who are dealing with similar issues. The Appreciating Diversity Film Series presents this important documentary that explores the intersection of athletic stardom and mental health.

FREE screenings in both Piedmont and Oakland:

Wednesday, March 15

Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont

Reception at 6:30 PM, screening 7 – 8 PM

followed by community discussion with filmmaker Rick Goldsmith

Sunday, March 19

New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

Screening 3 PM, followed by community discussion

A New Color to Screen in January

PAINTS and ADFS offer a film to honor East Bay artists

Edythe Boone was a young mother living in low-income housing in Harlem when she organized her first mural project — her goal: to build a sense of community among her neighbors. The now seventy-something artist moved to the East Bay a short time later, and has been creating community-building murals here ever since.

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In the Appreciating Diversity Film Series’ next film, A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone, filmmaker Mo Morris follows the tireless Boone as she guides current East Bay students and seniors through the mural-making process. The film not only demystifies how the huge, complex art works are made; it also demonstrates how the process of working together to produce a piece of public art reinforces important community values like long-term thinking, self-esteem, and teamwork.

The Bay Area is alight with literally thousands of murals. They dot, and in some cases define our neighborhoods. They are as rich and diverse as our population. Through these screenings, we hope to open a wider discussion about the value of the East Bay’s murals. Each film will be followed by a panel discussion about our local mural scene.

At a time when the Ghost Ship fire makes the challenges artists face to stay and work in the Bay Area heartbreakingly clear, Boone’s work, and that of all Bay Area muralists, are a tangible testament to the critical importance of art here. Join us in learning more.

2015 Audience Favorite at the Mill Valley Film Festival

ADFS is co-presenting this film with PAINTS (Promote Arts in the Schools, Inc). PAINTS supports visual arts, literary arts, music and the performing arts and has funded all of the ceramic mosaic murals at the Piedmont elementary schools. Currently, PAINTS is collaborating on a painted mural at the Piedmont Middle School. ADFS is supported by the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, Piedmont Adult School, City of Piedmont and the Piedmont League of Women Voters.

Two FREE screenings, in two locations:

In Piedmont:

WHEN: Thursday, January 12. Doors open 6:30 PM; screening 7 PM, Panel 8-9PM

WHERE: Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont

 In Oakland:

WHEN: Saturday, January 14, 3 PM screening, 4 PM panel

WHERE: The New Parkway, 474 24th Street (between Telegraph & Broadway), Oakland

 

For more information, contact maude@diversityfilmseries.org or 510 655 5552.

Alive Inside

 

Free screenings of the Sundance award-winning documentary, “Alive Inside,” will be presented on December 7 at the Ellen Driscoll Playhouse in Piedmont, and on December 10 at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland.

The film features the work of social worker Dan Cohen, and his determination to address dementia with music. One by one, we are introduced to a series of elderly people who’ve barely said a word in years, who don’t recognize their own children, who do nothing but sit in their nursing homes with little or no interaction with others. Then Cohen provides them with iPods filled with the music of their youth and suddenly they become gloriously happy and alive. The Los Angeles Times calls the film, “…joyous, unexpectedly uplifting…its power is indisputable…”

Current trends in care for persons with dementia have become less medical and more focused on the whole person.   Individualized music has entered the picture as more caregivers see the impact it can have for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Cohen and others discuss how mainly economic barriers in the healthcare system prevent music and other non-traditional therapies from gaining wider use.   As one gerontologist says, “the money spent on drugs dwarfs what it would take to deliver personal music to every patient in America.” Because music doesn’t count as a medical interaction, “an inexpensive personal music system takes a lot more paperwork than a thousand-dollar antidepression pill.”

The screenings will also feature discussion sessions with Grace Liu, Site Director for the East Bay Alzheimer’s Association, as well as suggestions for how caregivers and family members can get involved in providing personalized music to patients.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont.

Free reception at 6:30 PM, screening at 7:00 PM,  discussion at 8:15 PM.

Saturday, December 10, 2016
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th St, Oakland

Screening at 3pm, discussion at 4:15pm

AUDRIE & DAISY

AUDRIE & DAISY is an urgent real-life drama that examines the ripple effects on families, friends, schools and communities when two underage young women find that sexual assault against them has been caught on camera and distributed online. From acclaimed filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk AUDRIE & DAISY – which made its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival – takes a hard look at America’s teenagers who are coming of age in this new world of social media bullying, spun wildly out of control.

The film was co-produced by documentary filmmaker and Piedmont High School alum Sara Dosa, who will be in attendance to facilitate a discussion after the film on Oct 27. The directors were motivated by what they saw: “We are struck by the frequency of sexual assaults in high schools across the country and have been even more shocked by the pictures and videos, posted online – almost as trophies – by teens that have committed these crimes. This has become the new public square of shame for our adolescents. Unfortunately, the story of drunken high school parties and sexual assault is not new. But today, the events of the night are recorded on smartphones and disseminated to an entire community and, sometimes, the nation. Such was the case for Audrie Pott [from Saratoga, CA] and Daisy Coleman [from Maryville, Ohio], 15- and 14- year-old girls, living thousands of miles apart but experiencing the same shame from their communities.”

We invite you to this moving and meaningful film so that you can understand more about the world teenagers live in today. The discussion afterward should add to your understanding and answer some of your questions.

Two FREE Screenings:

Thursday, October 27
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont
6:30 PM Reception, 7 PM Screening & Discussion

Saturday, October 29
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street between Telegraph & Broadway

3 PM Screening,  4:30 PM Discussion

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

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