The Mask You Live In

Man up!  Don’t be a sissy!  Statistics tell us that compared to girls, boys are more likely to flunk or drop out of school, two times more likely to be in special education, and four times more likely to be expelled.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death for boys.

The Appreciating Diversity Film Series is proud to present the award-winning documentary film, THE MASK YOU LIVE IN by Jennifer Seibel Newsom, which explores the pressure for boys to “act like men.” For this film we are pleased to have the Piedmont Parents Network (PPN), a support group for parents of Piedmont Middle and High School students, as our co-sponsor.

THE MASK YOU LIVE IN follows boys and young men as they confront messages from media, peer groups and even adults in their lives, encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance to create a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

The film includes interviews with experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media, offering substantial evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it. The Mask You Live In illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

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

 2 FREE Screenings

In Piedmont:  Thursday, March 17, 2016
Ellen Driscoll Playhouse 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont
6:30 PM Free reception | 7 – 8:45 PM screening

In Oakland: Saturday, March 26, 2016
The New Parkway, 474 24th Street (near Telegraph), Oakland

3:00 pm

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

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

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

Somewhere Between

Directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, “Somewhere Between” is the true story of the coming of age of four girls adopted from Chinese orphanages into American families. The film focuses on the intersection of race, identity, family, and adoption. While viewing these stories, the audience is exposed to the complexity of forming a family that doesn’t meet the general expectations of society.

The director made the film so the girls could share their common experiences and for everyone who grapples with issues of race, culture, identity, and being “different.” The girls travel together, and discuss many thoughts and questions they have in common. One girl even decides to go to China to find her birth family.

The film explores the emotional and psychological fallout on children and parents when stereotypes and assumptions collide.

The Diversity Film Series proudly presents “Somewhere Between” to open a dialogue about what we see, who we are, and the changing face of the American family.

Review by John Anderson, Variety Magazine“One needs several hearts to survive the breakage inflicted by “Somewhere Between,” a delicately wrought, deeply felt docu-profile of four teenage girls who differ in background and aspirations, but are all adopted from China… One girl remembers being abandoned at age 2 by her brother at a bus stop. 80,000 children from China have been adopted in the United States since 1989.”

TWO FREE SHOWINGS

In Piedmont: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Avenue, Piedmont

6:30 PM Reception | 7 PM Screening | 8-9 PM Facilitated community discussion

In Oakland: Saturday, March 28, 2015
The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, Oakland

3 PM Screening


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