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.

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

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

Louder than a Bomb

Our summer film, LOUDER THAN A BOMB, is an inspiring documentary about a diverse group of teenagers working together. It’s about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust.  It’s about the joy of being young, and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise, and finding your voice. And it’s also about poetry.

Every year, more than six hundred teenagers from over sixty Chicago area schools gather for the competition. Rather than emphasize individual poets and performances, the structure of Louder Than a Bomb demands that kids work collaboratively with their peers, presenting, critiquing, and rewriting their pieces. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many kids, being a part of such an environment—in an academic context—is life-changing.

The film documents four teams confronting stereotypes as they prepare for and compete in the event. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa. This is not “high school poetry” as we often think of it. This is language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance.  How and why they do it—and the community they create along the way—is the story at the heart of this inspiring film. Directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel.

Ages 12 and up.

2 FREE SCREENINGS:
Piedmont: Thursday,
  July 10, 2014
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont
6:30 pm: Free reception with light refreshments
7:00 pm: Screening of film
8:40 pm: Community discussion

Oakland: Saturday, July 26
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland
3:00 pm