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.

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

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

Inequality For All

A passionate argument on behalf of the middle class, this film features Robert Reich,  UC Berkeley professor, best-selling author, and former Clinton labor secretary, as he demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy. The film is an intimate portrait of a man who’s overcome a great deal of personal adversity and whose lifelong goal remains protecting those who are unable to protect themselves. Through his singular perspective, Reich explains how the massive consolidation of wealth by a precious few threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy itself. Reich uses humor and a wide array of facts to explain how the issue of economic inequality affects each and every one of us.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series is sponsored by The Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, The Piedmont League of Women Voters, and DiversityWorks.

2 Free Screenings
Piedmont: April 23
Ellen Driscoll Theater

325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont 94611
6:30 Reception | 7:00 Screening (110 minutes)

Oakland: April 26
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street, Oakland 94612
3:00 PM: Screening (food for purchase)

The Loving Story

At a time when the Supreme Court is considering the fate of laws that prohibit gay marriage, this documentary tells the story of the battle fought by an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, to marry in their home state: Virginia. Until their landmark Supreme Court case was decided in 1967, Virginia prohibited interracial marriages. Today, this case seems prehistoric – yet the newlyweds were awakened in their bed in the middle of the night by flashlights shining in their faces. When they explained they were married, “Not here, you’re not”, and taking them to jail was the sheriff’s response.

“In a rich collection of 16-millimeter film, old news clips and still photographs, the Lovings don’t look like two people caught up in a cause; they seem like two people caught up in each other.” The New York Times

The other heroes of this amazing story are the two very young ACLU lawyers who persevered to bring the case from their receipt of Mildred’s modest letter asking if there was anything they could do, to their arguing the case before the highest court in the land.

“It ranks alongside Let Us Not Praise Famous Men in its stark beauty and searing honesty.” A perfect way to celebrate Black History Month, or Valentine’s Day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Location: The New Parkway Theater at 474 24th Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Screening: 7pm, with facilitated discussion afterwards form 8:30 – 9.00pm
(food is available for purchase at the Theater)

www.lovingfilm.com

Stonewall Uprising

President Obama has come out in favor of gay marriage, and Federal Courts have ruled California’s ban on same sex marriage violates the Constitution.

Seems hard to believe that in 1969 people in New York City were being arrested, convicted and losing their jobs, for being gay. “It was the Rosa Parks moment,” says one man. June 28, 1969: NYC police raid a Greenwich Village Mafia-run gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. For the first time, patrons refuse to be led into paddy wagons, setting off a 3-day riot that launched the Gay Rights Movement.

“Told by Stonewall patrons, reporters and the cop who led the raid, Stonewall Uprising recalls the bad old days when psychoanalysts equated homosexuality with mental illness and advised aversion therapy, and even lobotomies; public service announcements warned youngsters against predatory homosexuals; and police entrapment was rampant. At the height of this oppression, the cops raid Stonewall, triggering nights of pandemonium with tear gas, billy clubs and a small army of tactical police. The rest is history.” – Karen Cooper, Director, Film Forum

“The most thorough exploration….of what came to be known as gay pride.” Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Thursday, June 21, 2012
6:30 PM Doors open| 7:00 PM Film screening
8:20 PM Discussion facilitated by ADFS

Free