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Published on : Wednesday, January 27, 2016
In celebration of African American History Month, the Muhammad Ali Center is proud to announce a new program series: the Black Film Festival. This series will consist of five film screenings, each followed by discussions with a prominent community leader chosen to highlight the commentary on specific social justice issues and cultural significance. Doors to the Center’s auditorium open 30 minutes prior to the start of each film. While the films are free, reservations are required.
Saturday, February 6th at 6:00 p.m. – 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindness, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life. View the trailer here.
Monday, February 15th at 6:00 p.m. – Sankofa
While visiting an old fortress from the slave-trade era in Ghana, Mona (Oyafunmike Ogunlano) encounters a colorful local character, an elderly mystic going by the name of Sankofa. Mona is a black American model visiting the country for a photo-session. The old man claims to be in contact with spirits, and she is intrigued by this. When she goes to visit him, she suddenly finds herself back in the old slavery days, a slave herself who is captured and shipped to a sugar plantation in the American south. There, she has various relationships and adventures in the build-up to participating in a slave revolt. Just as that is getting fully underway, she finds herself back in the present, deeply affected by what has gone before.
Saturday, February 20th at 1:00 p.m. – The Wiz
When Harlem schoolteacher Dorothy (Diana Ross) tries to save her dog from a storm, she’s miraculously whisked away to an urban fantasy land called Oz. After accidentally killing the Wicked Witch of the East upon her arrival, Dorothy is told about the Wiz (Richard Pryor), a wizard who can help her get back to Manhattan. As Dorothy goes in search of the Wiz, she’s joined by the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), the Tin Man (Nipsey Russell) and the Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross).
Tuesday, February 23rd at 6:00 p.m. – Do the Right Thing
Salvatore “Sal” Fragione (Danny Aiello) is the Italian owner of a pizzeria in Brooklyn. A neighborhood local, Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito), becomes upset when he sees that the pizzeria’s Wall of Fame exhibits only Italian actors. Buggin’ Out believes a pizzeria in a black neighborhood should showcase black actors, but Sal disagrees. The wall becomes a symbol of racism and hate to Buggin’ Out and to other people in the neighborhood, and tensions rise.
Monday, February 29th at 6:00 p.m. – Shaft
John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is the ultimate in suave black detectives. He first finds himself up against Bumpy (Moses Gunn), the leader of the black crime mob, then against black nationals, and finally working with both against the white mafia who are trying to blackmail Bumpy by kidnapping his daughter.
The Muhammad Ali Center will also partner with KET for a free Indie Lens Pop-Up screening of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution on Wednesday, February 10th. Doors to the Center’s auditorium open at 5:30 p.m. A discussion will follow.
Film synopsis: Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph, and many others, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America.
Tags: Black Film Festival