Categories
Virtual Screening

Education, Inc.

Selected by Kristin Morris
Film Discussion: Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 6 PM EST

Public education in America was already drastically changing before the COVID-19 pandemic, and over the past year, the conversation about students, teachers, and the role of our public education institutions has become exponentially more complicated and divisive. We will host a post-film discussion panel including representation from SC for Ed to dig into the current conversation about public education and educators in S.C.

Film Synopsis: American public education is in controversy. As public schools across the country struggle for funding, complicated by the impact of poverty and politics, some question the future and effectiveness of public schools in the U.S. For free-market reformers, private investors, and large education corporations, this controversy spells opportunity in turning public schools over to private interests. EDUCATION, INC. examines the free-market and for-profit interests that have been quietly and systematically privatizing America’s public education system under the banner of “school choice.”

EDUCATION, INC. is told through the eyes of parent and filmmaker Brian Malone, as he travels cross-country in search of the answers and sources behind the privatizing of American public education, and what it means for his kids. With striking footage from school protests, raucous school board meetings, and interviews with some of the most well-known educators in the country, Malone zooms out to paint a clear picture of profit and politics that’s sweeping across the nation, right under our noses.

Director: Brian Malone, Cindy Malone
Year: 2014
Runtime: 59 mins
Rating: NR

Categories
Virtual Screening

The Watermelon Woman

Selected by DeBria Robinson
Film Discussion: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 6 PM EST

Two black women lean against a retail counter and talk about girls. It’s the 90s, so they are wearing overalls, enormous silk shirts, chokers and chunky earrings. Both have neatly shaved heads. Tamara wants Cheryl to go out with her friend Yvette, and Cheryl demurs—she finds Yvette uptight. Soon their boss emerges from the back of the store, and tells them to get back to work.

This is the opening of Cheryl Dunye’s ambitious first film, 1996’s The Watermelon Woman, which has recently been remastered for the 20th anniversary of its U.S. release. The movie follows Cheryl, played by Dunye, as she attempts to make a documentary about Faye Richards, better known as the Watermelon Woman: a gay, black 1930s actress whose roles as mammies and housemaids did not do justice to her elusive and complex life. In the process, Cheryl works her day job at a video rental store, begins a relationship with a white woman, and learns more about black women’s history—in film, in the gay community, and in her native Philadelphia—than she ever anticipated.

Dunye made The Watermelon Woman on a shoestring budget of $300,000—about one tenth of which came from an NEA grant. The film received limited attention when it was originally released in the U.S., but that didn’t stop it from generating controversy when Michigan Republican Pieter Hoekstra cited it as inappropriate use of government funds. He tried unsuccessfully to get his colleagues in Congress to deduct Dunye’s $31,500 grant from the NEA budget, citing NEA funding for a series of gay and lesbian films that “most Americans would find offensive” and referring to The Watermelon Woman specifically as “patently offensive and possibly pornographic.” He seems to have objected to the film’s sex scene, an oblique, 20-second affair between Cheryl and her white love interest, Diana, that looks adorably tame by today’s standards. You can see the outline of Dunye’s stomach and part of a nipple; the whole thing is set to a soundtrack that sounds like Melissa Etheridge but isn’t.

This kind of reaction might exemplify why The Watermelon Woman is such a unique film. Black lesbians exist at the crossroads of three of America’s most persistent iniquities: they are black, and women, and gay. Dunye’s film is a monument to her own love of black film history, but it is also a look into the ways that we uncover the histories of marginalized people, people who were unable, because of access or because of taboo, to document themselves.

Source: The Watermelon Woman Shows the Power of Gay History”, by Moira Donegan, July 5, 2017, New Republic.

Director: Cheryl Dunye
Year: 1999
Runtime: 1 hr 30 mins
Rating: NR

Categories
Virtual Screening

Whose Streets?

Join us for our Frame x Frame Film Club panel discussion about Whose Streets? in partnership with Richland Library.

Co-curated by Crush Rush, Richland Library Artist-in-Residence, and Keith Brinkmann, Associate, Film and Sound at Richland Library

Film Discussion: December 16, 2020, at 6 PM EST

Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions, and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters. (source)

Note: This film contains adult themes and the use of strong language, and may not be suitable for minors.

Director: Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis
Year: 2017
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins
Rating: R
About Crush Rush

Marion “Crush” Rush is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. He is a full-time self-employed photographer who also enjoys chronicling the world of political and civil unrest as it unfolds in real time through his photojournalism.

Crush Rush is an African American artist who is constantly striving to uplift his community through arts education and fact driven dialogue. He values community connectivity, helping others create, learn and share, and looks forward to working with the library to facilitate real dialogue and affect change among artists in need during these unprecedented times.

During his Richland Library residency, his main focus will be on helping artists during this time of unrest by hosting virtual artist meet-ups, listening to local artists affected by the pandemic and creating a dialogue around issues of racial equity in the local art scene. He will also offer monthly programming and create an online exhibition of his work.


Watch the film for free with your Richland Library membership on Kanopy.

Join us on Frame x Frame Facebook or YouTube, or Richland Libary  for the discussion

Categories
Virtual Screening

Four Lions

Selected by Omme-Salma Rahemtullah
Film Discussion: Wednesday, January 27 at 6:00 PM

Four Lions tells the story of a group of British jihadists who push their abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point. As the wheels fly off, and their competing ideologies clash, what emerges is an emotionally engaging (and entirely plausible) farce. In a storm of razor-sharp verbal jousting and large-scale set pieces, Four Lions is a comic tour de force;

Follow five inept aspiring terrorists on their quest to strike a blow, and how they demonstrate that terrorism may be about ideology, but it can also be about idiots.

Director: Christopher Morris
Year: 2010
Runtime: 1 hr 37 mins
Rating: R

Categories
Virtual Screening

Rafiki

Selected by Mahkia Greene
Film Discussion: Wednesday, October 28 at 6:00 PM

Bursting with the colorful street style & music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, RAFIKI is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives” – but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety.

Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, RAFIKI won a landmark supreme court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, RAFIKI is a hip tale of first love “reminiscent of the early work of Spike Lee” (Screen Daily) that’s “impossible not to celebrate” (Variety)!

Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Year: 2018
Runtime: 83 mins
Rating: NR

Categories
Virtual Screening

Skate Kitchen

Selected by Ony Ratsimbaharison
Film Discussion: Wednesday, November 25 at 6:00 PM

In the first narrative feature from The Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle, Camille, an introverted teenage skateboarder (newcomer Rachelle Vinberg) from Long Island, meets and befriends an all-girl, New York City-based skateboarding crew called Skate Kitchen. She falls in with the in-crowd, has a falling-out with her mother, and falls for a mysterious skateboarder guy (Jaden Smith), but a relationship with him proves to be trickier to navigate than a kickflip.

Writer/director Crystal Moselle immersed herself in the lives of the skater girls and worked closely with them, resulting in the film’s authenticity, which combines poetic, atmospheric filmmaking and hypnotic skating sequences. SKATE KITCHEN precisely captures the experience of women in male-dominated spaces and tells a story of a girl who learns the importance of camaraderie and self-discovery.

Director: Crystal Moselle
Year: 2018
Runtime: 1 hr 46 mins
Rating: R

Categories
Virtual Screening

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Selected by Torres Fontain Jr.
Film Discussion: Wednesday, September 23 at 6:00 PM

Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. As he struggles to reconnect with his family and reconstruct the community he longs for, his hopes blind him to the reality of his situation.

A wistful odyssey populated by skaters, squatters, street preachers, playwrights, and other locals on the margins, The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a poignant and sweeping story of hometowns and how they’re made—and kept alive—by the people who love them. 

Director: Joe Talbot
Year: 2019
Runtime: 121 mins
Rating: R (for language, brief nudity and drug use)