Film Series Celebrates 20 Years, Announces Fall Schedule

Piedmont’s Appreciating Diversity Film Series kicks off its 20th season of hosting free screenings, speakers and community conversation this fall, with a lineup that continues to celebrate great documentary films and activism.

San Francisco, California. Many children of Japanese ancestry attended Raphael Weill public School, . . .

First up in September will be And Then They Came for Us, co-directed by Bay Area filmmakers Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider. In 1942, Executive Order 9066 forced the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans for the duration, an act now understood as a massive abuse of civil rights. The film explores this history and its relevance today, in the face of threats of a Muslim registry and imposition of a travel ban. (Sept 27, 7 pm in Piedmont; Oct 1, 3 pm in Oakland*) see trailer: https://www.thentheycamedoc.com/about/

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap will be screened in October. CODE uncovers the history that led to today’s male-dominated tech world, and highlights the efforts of women computer coders to open this field to girls and young people of color, focusing on expanding STEAM education for all. (Oct 25, 7 pm in Piedmont; Oct 28, 3 pm in Oakland*)

In December ADFS will present Growing Up Trans, an intimate, enlightening journey inside the struggles and choices facing young transgender kids and their families. (Dec 7, 7 pm in Piedmont; Dec 9, 3 pm in Oakland)

In January ADFS will screen The House We Live In and Arc of Justice, two films that explore the family wealth gap between white and black Americans arising from deliberate and systemic government policies, and separate efforts to help secure economic independence for African American families. (Jan 11, 7 pm in Piedmont, Jan 13, 3 pm in Oakland.)

ADFS films are ALWAYS FREE. Piedmont screenings are at Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont. Oakland screenings are at the New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland.

Homestretch Screenings 4/26 & 29: Plus Local Teens and Mentors Talk about How They Manage being Homeless in High School

An “authentic, no-frills portrayal of what it means to be young and homeless in America.” Terrance F. Ross, The Atlantic.

On April 26 and 29, ADFS will present the award-winning documentary film, The Homestretch. Following the film, local youth who have experienced homelessness will join local administrators to talk about how youth here in the East Bay deal with homelessness in high school. Among the panelists is Darius Aikens, the eldest of 5 children. His father died when he was 9; his mother suffers from bipolar disease. Despite these obstacles, he has stayed in high school and hopes to study politics at UC Berkeley.

homestretch-roque-blog

The film follows three homeless teens – Roque, Kasey and Anthony – as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Roque was separated from his family due to immigration issues and was sometimes forced to fend for himself, beginning in his sophomore year of high school. Anthony spent his childhood in foster homes and went out on his own at the age of 14. Kasey spent over a year bouncing around between friends, family members and sleeping on the street, ultimately dropping out of high school her senior year.   see trailer: http://www.homestretchdoc.com/trailer/

Although the film is set in Chicago, homeless youth here in the Bay Area face precisely the same challenges. In 2014, the Bay Area had over 20,000 homeless students. (KCBS Cover Story Series: Our Homeless School Kids, Dec. 15, 2014). Berkeley alone currently has over 300 homeless high school students.

This film connects us deeply with issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQ rights. The discussion will help us understand what is being done, and what can be done to help these youth. “In the end, Homestretch is the story of a broken system, not broken people. After watching, one can’t help but wonder if a small tweak in policy could make a world of difference for thousands of youth.”  Matt Pollock, Chicago Magazine.

 2 FREE Screenings

In Piedmont: Wednesday, April 26
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, April 29*
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street (near Telegraph), Oakland, CA 94612

3:00 pm* Check thenewparkway.com to confirm date/time of Oakland screening (may conflict with Warriors’ playoff broadcast there).

Melina Abdullah to Speak at Friday Screening of 13th

Professor Melina Abdullah, one of 30 activists who helped to form the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, will be the speaker for the post-film conversation at this Friday’s screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary, 13th. The film and conversation are aimed not only at understanding how we got from abolishing slavery with the 13th amendment to imprisoning more people than any other country in the world – but also at helping participants find approaches to steering these delicate conversations in meaningful and powerful ways.

Melina-Abdullah

Abdullah is Professor and Chair of the Pan-African Studies Department at Cal State LA, and a recognized expert in the field of race relations. She is a featured speaker in 13th.

Friday’s program is co-sponsored by UC Berkeley’s renowned Bay Area Writing Project, whose lead teachers will facilitate the conversation; and the Appreciating Diversity Film Series. The screening is FREE and open to the public. The screening is also the first part of a two-day BAWP Professional Development Program for Teachers, which will continue at UC Berkeley the following morning.

What: FREE Screening of 13th and BAWP-Facilitated Discussion with Professor Melina Abdullah

When: Friday, April 21, 6 PM Reception; 6:30 – 9 PM Screening & Discussion

Where: Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave, Piedmont 94611

No RSVP needed.

TWO Great Films to Screen in April: 13th, with Speaker Melina Abdullah, on 4/21; and Homestretch on 4/26 & 29.

First, about 13th: The Bay Area Writing Project (BAWP) and the Appreciating Diversity Film Series (ADFS) join in screening the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th in Piedmont on April 21. The post-movie discussion will feature Black Lives Matter Leader, Activist and Scholar Melina Abdullah, Ph.D.

“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. DuVernay makes the case that the justice system has been driven by racism from the days of slavery to today’s era of mass incarceration. The United States accounts for 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. In 2014, more than 2 million people were incarcerated in the United States; of those, 40% were African-American men.

In an interview with Amy Goodman, Director Ava DuVernay explains that 13th makes clear “the history from 1865 and the abolition of slavery with the 13thAmendment all the way to now and the Black Lives Matter movement. The film traces, decade by decade, generation by generation, politician by politician, president by president, each decision and how it has led to this moment.” October 3, 2016 “Democracy Now!”, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report.

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. The evening’s conversation will be facilitated by teachers with the Bay Area Writing Project.

The evening’s program has been organized to combine viewing the film with facilitated community conversation and teacher professional development. It’s open to the public, and ALL are welcome.

What: FREE Screening & Discussion of 2017 Oscar-nominated Documentary 13th, with post-film discussion by Dr. Melina Abdullah

When:  Friday, April 21, 2017

6:00 – 6:30 PM free reception, open to the public

 6:30 – 9 PM screening and discussion

Where: Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave.  (near Oakland Ave.) in Piedmont

(street parking available) (See tab for directions)

The screening is also the first part of a two-day BAWP Professional Development Program for Teachers, aimed at helping the participants find approaches to steering 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.  The registration fee for the workshops is $30; they will be led by Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultants. Registration is now available online at https://bayareawritingproject.org/bawp13th/

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


More about the Homestretch Screening and Panel Discussion:

Did you know that there were more than 20,000 students who are homeless in the Bay Area? Over 300 in Berkeley alone?  Here’s a film about how homeless students somehow make it through — come see for yourself, and hear from our panel of local students and their advocates.

An “authentic, no-frills portrayal of what it means to be young and homeless in America.” Terrance F. Ross, The Atlantic.

The Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Film Series will present the award-winning documentary film, The Homestretch on April 26 and 29. The film follows three homeless teens – Roque, Kasey and Anthony – as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Roque was separated from his family due to immigration issues and was forced to fend for himself on and off, beginning his sophomore year of high school. Anthony spent his childhood in foster homes and went out on his own at the age of 14. Kasey spent over a year bouncing around between friends, family members and sleeping on the street, ultimately dropping out of high school her senior year. We meet Kasey in the film just as she enters a new transitional home and is re-enrolled in school. Kasey is a poet, a painter and a tremendous source of support for her huge network of friends.

Although the film is set in Chicago, homeless youth here in the Bay Area face precisely the same challenges. In 2014, the Bay Area had over 20,000 homeless students. (KCBS Cover Story Series: Our Homeless School Kids, Dec. 15, 2014). Berkeley alone currently has over 300 homeless high school students.

A panel discussion featuring local school administrators and teens with experience being homeless will take place following each screening. Among the panelists will be Darius Aikens, the eldest of 5 children. His father died when he was 9; his mother suffers from bipolar disease. Despite these obstacles, he has stayed in high school and hopes to study politics at UC Berkeley.

This film connects us deeply with issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQ rights. “In the end, Homestretch is story of a broken system, not broken people. After watching, one can’t help but wonder if a small tweak in policy could make a world of difference for thousands of youth.”  Matt Pollock, Chicago Magazine.

2 FREE Screenings
In Piedmont: Wednesday, April 26:

Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
6:30 PM Free reception | 7 – 9 PM screening followed by discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, April 29: 3 PM Screening, 4-5 PM Panel (check website to be sure about time — Warriors’ playoff schedule may force time change).
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street near Telegraph, Oakland, CA 94612
3 – 5 PM screening followed by discussion

 

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.

chamique-holdsclaw-1

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.

mural05

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.