Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series returns to downtown Brooklyn’s LIU Kumble Theatre to celebrate its sweet 16 on Oct. 12 & 13 with cinematic, features and shorts both narratives and documentaries written and/or directed by women of color from around the world.
The centerpiece of the festival is the moving and critically acclaimed biopic on Angela Davis, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners followed by a Q&A with Moikgantsi Kgama, founder of ImageNation Cinema Foundation on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Other films included in the festival are: “More Than A Month,” which chronicles filmmaker Shukree Tilghman’s cross-country quest to end Black History Month; “Salty Dog Blues,” which chronicles the injustice visited upon women of color after lifelong service to the U.S. Merchant Marines; two episodes of The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, the popular web series (debuting on HBO in 2014) on the bizarre and hilarious life of protagonist J, played by filmmaker Issa Rae; “Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years,” which follows the revered writer and activist during her decade in Berlin as she organizes Black feminist and challenges white women to address the ongoing and undermining racism within the movement; “Stand Down Soldier,” in which we meet the fictional Sergeant Stacy Armstrong, returning from three deployments with PTSD and determined to save her 20-year marriage from being another casualty of war; “Sweet, Sweet Country,” which introduces the character of 20-year-old Kenyan refugee Ndizeye, whose family shows up unexpectedly on her doorstep in the small Southern U.S. town where she now lives; “Little Brother: The Fire Next Time,” which is chapter 4 of a series featuring young Black boys. Here they share candid thoughts on love, tribe, family and race. This takes place in Muskogee, OK, where the Cherokee Nation and the descendants of the Freedmen are in court over Cherokee citizen rights.
“Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower,” examines the intersection of race, class and gender in the stories told by Black women professors and administrators at American colleges and universities. The film is followed by a talk with filmmaker Roxana Walker-Canton and Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.
This year’s Reel Sisters Film Festival also offers two valuable professional workshops: “Using Film in the Classroom to Implement the Common Core Standards,” led by veteran educators Paulette Maat Kesa Tabb and Nazalima Stephanie Durham, which will be followed by the short, “Little Brother: The Fire Next Time.”
Leslie Fields-Cruz, VP of operations and director of programming at the National Black Programming Consortium, will moderate the discussion, “Defining Myself for Myself: Women of Color Make Documentary Films,” featuring Shantrelle P. Lewis; Dr. Marta Vega, filmmaker (When the Spirits Dance Mambo) and founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center and Christine Turner, filmmaker (Homegoings).
On Sunday, Oct. 13, award-winning author Tananarive Due will discuss adapting a novel into a screenplay at Books to Screen: Realizing the Vision. Participants will be first to preview “Danger Word,” her short horror film, adapted for the screen with husband Steven Barnes. The workshop will also address raising funds for an independent film project.
Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, daughter of the late writer and activist Audre Lorde, will accept the Best Documentary Award on behalf of filmmaker Dagmar Schultz for Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years. TV host and author Abiola Abrams will serve as mistress of ceremonies. The closing award ceremony will honor filmmakers Shola Lynch and Issa Rae with music performance by Tamar-Kali and comedy by MK Lewis.
The Festival takes place at Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, LIU Brooklyn campus, Flatbush and DeKalb avenues. Schedules, descriptions, trailers and registration are at www.reelsisters.com and www.kumbletheater.org or call718-488-1624 / 347-534-3304.
© Amun/Ankhra House, Ltd.