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.

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

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

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

The Invisible War

The Invisible War is a film about the all too common, profoundly distressing problem of sexual assault in the American military. The film gets some of its power from the statistics alone: the military estimates that one in five women and many men in the military has been the victim of sexual assault.  Victims are often discouraged from reporting such crimes because the attackers are their superiors, or those further up the chain either implicitly or even explicitly threaten their jobs and their careers.  Reports that are made are often ignored; instead, women are dismissed or even prosecuted themselves.

Many of the victims in this film grew up in military families, with a strong respect for the military and its traditions. The interviews of the women are remarkable. You will witness their courage, their candor and their struggle to make the military change its manner of handling reports of abuse. At a time when the military is a crucial source of employment and training for so many aspiring young people, and it is popular to tout “supporting our men and women in uniform,” the goals of these victims should be important to us all.

Called “haunting” by Time Magazine, “heartbreaking” by The Washington Post, and “unforgettable” by salon.com, The Invisible War was named one of the New York Times’ best ten films of the year.  Their review concluded, “This is not a movie that can be ignored.”

(The film includes victims’ descriptions of violent attacks but no violent or sexual images. It is recommended for ages 14 and older.)

Two free Screenings

1.   Wednesday, November 13, 2013
@ Ellen Driscoll Theater (Havens Elementary School)
325 Highland Ave / Piedmont 94611
6:30 pm: Reception | 7 pm: Film | 8:00 pm Facilitated community discussion
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2. Saturday, November 16, 2013
@ The New Parkway
474  24th Street / Oakland 94612
3:00 pm Film
Refreshments available for purchase