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

 

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.

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

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

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

The House I Live In

For the past 40 years, the war on drugs has resulted in more than 45 million arrests, $1 trillion dollars in government spending, and America’s role as the world’s largest jailer. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available than ever. The House I Live In captures stories of those on the front lines — from the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge — and offers a penetrating look at both the causes and the profound human rights implications of America’s longest war.

This film is particularly timely because it speaks to the damage – both direct and collateral – of removing large numbers of people from their neighborhoods, and of making law enforcement responsible for a public health problem. It’s been called a holocaust in slow motion.

There’s a growing recognition among those on all sides that the war on drugs is a failure. At a time of heightened fiscal instability, it’s also seen as economically unsustainable. At this pivotal moment, the film promotes public awareness of the problem while encouraging new and innovative pathways to domestic drug policy reform.

“It’d be one thing if it was draconian and it worked. But it’s draconian and it doesn’t work. It just leads to more.” David Simon, creator of The Wire

Accolades:

Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival

“2012’s Best Documentary, The House I Live In should be seen by everybody.” — New York Times

“SEARING! One of the most important pieces of nonfiction to hit the screen in years.” – Forbes

“Expertly researched, brilliantly argued and masterfully assembled, it is easily the documentary of the year.” — L.A. Times

“A true, nonfiction complement to The Wire.” – Times of London

Two FREE Screenings:

In Piedmont: Thursday, January 22, 2015
Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
6:30 PM Reception | 7 PM Screening | 8-9 PM Discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, January 31, 2015
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

3 PM Screening | 4 PM Discussion


American Promise

American Promise is an intimate and provocative account, recorded over 13 years, of the experiences of two middle-class African-American boys who entered a very prestigious–and historically white–private school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Dalton School had made a commitment to recruit students of color, and five-year-old best friends Idris and Seun of Brooklyn were admitted. The boys were placed in a demanding environment that provided new opportunities and challenges, if little reflection of their cultural identities.

Idris’ parents, Joe, a Harvard- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist, and Michèle, a Columbia Law School graduate and filmmaker, decided to film the boys’ progress starting in 1999. They and their families soon found themselves struggling not only with kids’ typical growing pains and the kinds of racial issues one might expect, but also with surprising class, gender and generational gaps. American Promise, which traces the boys’ journey from kindergarten through high school graduation, finds the greatest challenge for the families–and perhaps the country–is to close the black male educational achievement gap.

Winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival.

This event is a collaboration with POV, the award winning independent nonfiction film series on PBS. Also co-sponsored by Piedmont League of Women Voters, Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee and DiversityWorks

2 FREE SCREENINGS:
Piedmont: Wednesday,
 December 3, 2014
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont

6:30 pm: Reception
7:00 pm: Screening
8:00 pm: Facilitated discussion

Oakland: Saturday, November 29, 2014
New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland
3:00 pm