All films to take place in Convention Center, 1st – CC – Ballroom C1 – 1st floor – AV Room and will be followed by a discussion with a scholar, filmmaker—and in some cases—the subjects of the films themselves. We welcome you to Join us!
Thursday, October 3, 2019
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
ZORA NEALE HURSTON: JUMP AT THE SUN
Producer/Writer: Kristy Andersen, Director: Sam Pollard California Newsreel –- (2008, 124 min minutes)
Zora Neale Hurston, path-breaking novelist, pioneering anthropologist and one of the first black women to enter the American literary canon (Their Eyes Were Watching God), established the African American vernacular as one of the most vital, inventive voices in American literature. This definitive film biography, eighteen years in the making, portrays Zora in all her complexity: gifted, flamboyant, and controversial but always fiercely original.
Discussion Facilitators: Tiffany Packer, Florida A&M University & Sharony Green, University of Alabama
6:30pm – 8:00pm
BEYOND THE FIELDS: SLAVERY AT MIDDLETON PLACE
A Featured Presentation
Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark, located on the Ashley River outside of Charleston, South Carolina, has been engaged for decades in telling the story not just of its white owners, but also of its African American population. For many years, images of slavery by white artists have shown legions of African Americans toiling in fields ̶ fields of tobacco, sugar, cotton and rice. Looking beyond the fields, the Middleton Place Foundation’s programming documents and commemorates, as far as possible, the lives, families and contributions of some seven generations of people owned by the Middleton family. The enslaved left few artifacts, personal papers or documents. In the Charleston area, even recorded oral histories are rare. Middleton family letters, plantation records, probate records and other public documents provide only brief glimpses into the lives of the enslaved at Middleton Place. The Foundation was confronted with the very real challenge in making visible those who had been invisible and extrapolating tangible evidence from the intangibles of their lives. This American story is told through discussions with historians, authors, researchers, preservationists, historic site interpreters and descendants of the Middletons.
Discussion Facilitators: Lyndsey Beutin, Oberlin College & The Middleton Place Foundation
8:15pm – 10:15pm
HOMECOMING: THE STRUGGLE OF BLACKS TO OWN
California Newsreel – 1999 – 57 minutes
Homecoming is the first film to explore the rural roots of African American life. It chronicles the generations-old struggle of African Americans for land of their own which pitted them against both the Southern white power structure and the federal agencies responsible for helping them. Director Charlene Gilbert weaves this history together with a fond portrait of her own Georgia farming family into what she calls, “A story of land and love.” Like so much of African American history, the Black farmers’ story is one of perseverance in the face of prejudice and perjured promises.
Discussion Facilitator: Tiffany B Lee, Harris Stowe State University
Friday, October 4, 2019
8:30 am – 10:00 am
RALPH ELLISON: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY
Director/Producer Avon Kirkland and Elise Robertson
February 2002, 88 minutes
The first documentary on one of the most gifted and intellectually provocative authors of modern American literature. It establishes Ellison as a central figure in contemporary debates over art, politics, race and nationhood. Narrated by Andre Braugher, the film brilliantly presents the first scenes ever filmed from Ellison’s landmark novel, Invisible Man. The extended DVD version is nothing less than a virtual forum on Ralph Ellison and the ideas he embraced. It features fascinating discussion of African American identity, The Black Arts movement, Ellison’s blues based interpretation of Black survival.
Discussion Facilitator: Nadia Alahmed, Dickinson College
10:15pm – 12:00pm
DIRT AND DEEDS IN MISSISSIPPI
Director/Writer David Shulman
2016, 1h 21min
This film uncovers the largely unknown and pivotal role played by Black landowning families in the deep South who controlled over a million acres in the 1960s. They were prepared to put their land and their lives on the line in the fight for racial equality and the right to vote in America’s most segregated and violently racist state.
In the face of escalating terror, Black landowners and independent farmers provided safe havens, collateral for jail bonds, armed protection and locations for Freedom Schools. They were often the first to attempt to register to vote and run for public office. Emmy Award Winner.
Discussion Facilitator: Ida B. Jones, Morgan State University
12:15pm – 1:45pm
BOSS: THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN BUSINESS
A Featured Presentation
Stanley Nelson – Director Firelight Media – 1 hr 53 min
The history of business and entrepreneurship lies at the heart of the American story, but often absent from that narrative are the names and experiences of African Americans who, from the country’s earliest days, have embodied the qualities of innovation, risk-taking and determination to forge a path toward a better life. Tracing more than 150 years of African American men and women, from those bound by bondage to moguls at the top of multi-million-dollar empires seek to claim their place in the story of American entrepreneurship. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, the new documentary brings the largely unknown stories of enterprising African Americans to the forefront.
Discussion Facilitator: Shennette Garrett-Scott, University of Mississippi
2:00pm – 4:00pm
WILD WOMEN DON’T HAVE THE BLUES
Filmmaker: Christine Dall (1989, 58 mins)
Shows how the blues were born out of the economic and social transformation of African American life early in this century. It recaptures the lives and times of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters and the other legendary women who made the blues a vital part of American culture. The film brings together for the first time dozens of rare, classic renditions of the early blues.
Discussion Facilitator: Michelle R Scott, University of Maryland – Baltimore County
7:15pm – 9:45pm
STRANGE FRUIT: THE FAMOUS SONG AND ITS STORY
Producer/Director/Writer: Joel Katz, Filmmaker
(2002, 58 minutes)
The first documentary exploring the history and legacy of the Billie Holiday classic. The song’s evolution tells a dramatic story of America’s radical past using one of the most influential protest songs ever written as its epicenter. The saga brings viewers face- to- face with the terror of lynching even as it spotlights the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice when to do so was to risk ostracism and livelihood if white – and death if Black. It examines the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor and the left, and popular culture as forces that would give rise to the Civil Rights Movement.
Discussion Facilitator: Dennis Rogers, Washington, DC
Saturday, October 5, 2019
8:30 am – 10:00 am
UNNATURAL CAUSES: IS INEQUALITY MAKING US SICK EPISODE I
Producer/Director, Larry Adelman, Executive Producer (2008, 56 minutes)
“Unnatural Causes” sounds the alarm about the extent of our glaring socio-economic and racial inequities in health and searches for their root causes. But those causes are not what we might expect. While we pour more and more money into drugs, dietary supplements and new medical technologies, “Unnatural Causes” crisscrosses the country investigating the findings that are shaking up conventional understanding of what really makes us healthy or sick.
Discussion Facilitator: Mary E. Potorti, Emerson College and MCPHS University
10:15pm – 11:45pm
RALPH BUNCHE: AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY
California Newsreel (2001, 1 hr 57 minutes)
Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche (1903-1971) was a statesman, peace negotiator, leading intellectual and scholar, and the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. An African American who overcame racial prejudice and poverty to become Undersecretary General of the United Nations, Bunche’s life offers a unique window on many key issues and historical events that took place during the middle of the 20th century. This award-winning two-hour documentary film, narrated by Sidney Poitier, tells the story of his life and times.
Discussion Facilitator: Abul Pitre, Fayetteville State University & Lauren Williams, Auburn University
12:00pm – 2:00pm
A Featured Presentation
Producer / Director: Roger Ross Williams
(2019 – 98 Minutes)
The historic Apollo Theater on Harlem’s West 125th St. is cherished as the platform that launched the careers of countless African-American talents, including some of the most important and influential names: Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5, Jimi Hendrix and more. With incredible archival performances and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look as the theater prepares to open Ta-Nehisi Coates’ multimedia performance “Between the World,” it becomes evident that the venue’s significance is the result of not only the talents to have graced its stage, but the tremendous efforts behind the curtain. The Apollo’s enduring influence on popular culture and commitment to both established and emerging artists in the community is lovingly chronicled in this captivating tribute from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.
Discussion Facilitator: Lewis Walter Diuguid, Independent Scholar
2:1500pm – 3:50pm
WHILE I BREATHE I HOPE: A FILM ABOUT BAKARI SELLERS
A Featured Presentation
Emily L. Harrold – Director (2018)
This new documentary chronicles the journey of Bakari Sellers, son of Cleveland Sellers the iconic figure from the civil rights movement, as he runs for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. Sellers is the first African American to run for for Lt Governor in South Carolina and his effort tests just how far we have come since his father marched with SCLC and SNCC more than 50 years ago.
Discussion Facilitator: Bakari Sellers, CNN7:15pm – 9:45pm
ASALH FILM SHORTS
A special tradition to close out the Film Festival
South Carolina themed short films featuring a selection of local Charleston filmmakers.
Discussion Facilitator: Daniel Acker, Co-Chair of the Film Festival Committee
We thank California Newsreel, Firelight Media,
and individual filmmakers for their support of this film festival.
2019 ASALH Film Festival Committee Co-Chairs:
Dan Acker & Ida E. Jones