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Ujamii Uhuru Schule Community Freedom School  /  Define  /  Dawn at My Back  /  Shipley Street  /  Brick by Brick  /  Rich

Define (1988)
October 21, 2011 - 7:30 pm
Shirikiana Aina, S. Torriano Berry, Carroll Parrott Blue, Jacqueline Frazier, Kristy H.A. Kang.

Ujamii Uhuru Schule Community Freedom School (1974)

Directed by Don Amis

Ujamii Uhuru Schule (Swahili for Community Freedom School) is the day-in-the-life portrait of an Afrocentric primary learning academy located in South Los Angeles. Focusing on the virtues of the three Rs—Respect, Righteousness and Revolution—the curriculum also teaches the importance of cultural values and self-defense. Shot in high contrast to emulate the color spectrum of the Pan-African flag, Don Amis punctuates the documentary with African chants, syncopated drums and poignant narration by the school’s faculty. Learn, baby, learn. —Tony Best

Producer: Don Amis. Cinematographer: Don Amis. Editor: Don Amis. 

Digital video transferred from 16mm, color, 9 min.

Define (1988)

Directed by O.Funmilayo Makarah

Oblique, episodic meditations on the semiotics and ethics of ethnic female identity are accompanied by a blandly cynical narrator explaining how to “win an invitation to the dominant culture.” —Kevin McMahon

Producer: O.Funmilayo Makarah. Screenwriter: O.Funmilayo Makarah. Cinematographer: Hiroko Yamazaki, Quinta Seward. Editor: O.Funmilayo Makarah. Cast: H. Yamazaki, Kelly A. Hashimoto, O.Funmilayo Makarah, Quinta Seward, Yreina D. Cervantez, Zeinabu irene Davis. 

Digital video, color, 5 min.

Excerpt from Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing (2003)

Directed by Carroll Parrott Blue, Kristy H. A. Kang; The Labyrinth Project

This evocative excerpt from the Labyrinth Project’s DVD-ROM, based on a memoir by Carroll Parrot Blue, leads viewers on a rich visual and textual exploration of Blue’s family history, and of the history of Houston’s black community. Using her great-grandmother’s quilt as an interface, Blue and co-director Kristy H. A. Kang create plateaus of historical and narrative interest in a series of visual “panscapes,” constructed from original photographs, video and archival materials and the spoken word. Winner of the 2004 Sundance Online Film Festival Jury Award in New Forms.

Producer: Marsha Kinder. Writer: C. P. Blue.  Interface designers: K. H.A. Kang & Laurence Tietz. Graphic designer: Daniel Rhone. After Effects & Photoshop artists: K. H.A. Kang, Victoria Mendoza, Daniel Rhone, Iana Velez. Additional artwork by: Scott Mahoy & Ariel McNichol. Videographers: John W. Simmons & Che Che Martinez. Video editor: Myrton Running Wolf. Technical direction and programming by: Laurence Tietz. Sound designer: Kevin Burke.

C. P. Blue, Debbie Allen, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis (narrators).

Digital video, adapted from DVD-ROM, color, 10 min.

Shipley Street (1981)

Directed by Jacqueline Frazier

A construction worker, frustrated with his inability to get ahead, decides with his wife to send their daughter to an all-white Catholic school, where the girl is confronted with harsh discipline and racist attitudes. Jacqueline Frazier’s film neatly encapsulates the unthinking, everyday racism of white institutions and their trafficking of offensive racial stereotypes, paying particular attention to their effects on young children. —Jan-Christopher Horak

Screenwriter: Jacqueline Frazier. Cinematographer: Robert Holguin, Joseph Callaway, James Babig, James Jeffery, Dan Riesenfeld. Editor: Porsche Stewart, Janice Cook, J. Frazier. Cast: Leslie Smith, Don Maharry, Sandra Sprouling Jacques, Dwana Willis, Edith Barry.

16mm, color, 25 min.

Brick By Brick (1982)

Directed by Shirikiana Aina

Brick by Brick documents a late-’70s Washington, D.C., ignored by the media, from which poor Black residents are being pushed out. Images of monuments contrast with prescient images of gentrification and homelessness. An alternative is provided by the Seaton Street project, in which tenants united to purchase buildings. Participants discuss their effort as part of a worldwide struggle against displacement. —Kevin McMahon

Producer: Shirikiana Aina. Screenwriter: Shirikiana Aina. Cinematographer: Ellen Sumter, Norma Blalock. Editor: Shirikiana Aina. Cast: Lester Wakefield.

16mm, color, 33 min.

Rich (1982)

Directed by S. Torriano Berry

On the day of his high school graduation, an African American youth battles for self-determination as a convergence of forces, including his family and the neighborhood gang where he lives, attempt to shuttle him toward a future of lowered expectations.  At once gritty and tender, the character study features an intimate scene shot chiaroscuro on location at the Watts Towers. —Mark Quigley

Producer: S. Torriano Berry. Screenwriter: S. Torriano Berry. Cinematographer: Iverson White. Editor: S. Torriano Berry. Cast: Steve T. Berry, Susann Akers, Haskell V. Anderson III, Krystoffer Fields, Joey Murray.

16mm, b/w, 22 min.