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Black Film Center/Archive Presents 'The Lost Films of Kathleen Collins' TONIGHT! FREE!

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 21, 2013 11:02 AM
4 Comments
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Losing Ground

African American filmmaker, playwright and professor of film history and production, Kathleen Collins, died of cancer in September 1988. She was just 46 years old.

She may be most known for Losing Ground, a 1982 TV movie she wrote and directed (starring Seret Scott, Bill Gunn, and Duane Jones), which played the international film festival circuit to much acclaim, and would eventually be restored and distributed by Milestone Films

The film is a dramedy about a black American philosophy professor, and her philandering artist husband who are facing marital problems. The husband rents a summer country house to celebrate a museum sale, and their idyll summer challenges their relationship as they struggle to find "ecstatic" experience, both intellectually and emotionally.

It was Collins' second and last produced film, and also one of the very first fictional features by an African American woman filmmaker.

And now, the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University, is co-sponsoring a special screening of Losing Ground TONIGHT, at 7pm, preceded by a screening of her first film, The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy, a 54-minute *short* film about 3 Puerto Rican brothers scraping by while contending with the ghost of their dead father.

The screenings are part of the New Restorations from Milestone Films series at the Indiana University Cinema.  

The Black Film Center/Archive is co-sponsoring tonight's special screenings of both restored films, which it says are USA theatrical premieres. And after the screening, Professor LaMonda Horton-Stallings, who wrote a critical essay on Losing Ground for Black Camera in 2011, will lead a Q&A session.

So if you're in the IU area, this is strongly encouraged viewing. These aren't exactly films that you'll find at your local rental house, or even online, on sites like Netflix nor Amazon. So take advantage of this opportunity. I haven't seen either film myself, unfortunately, and hope the series comes to NYC.

I believe Milestone is traveling with the series, which also includes the recently-restored Portrait of Jason Film, Shirley Clarke's groundbreaking documentary film, which we've highlighted a number of times on this site, and which will screen tomorrow at IU cinema.

By the way, the screenings are FREE!

For more information, visit the Black Film Center/Archive website HERE.

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4 Comments

  • Dennis Doros | March 22, 2013 9:45 AMReply

    Daniel, I absolutely agree with you and would love to see more African-Americans in the film archive world, more funding to restore these films, and new distributors take up the mission of bringing out these films. There's an incredible amount of these wonderful films still stuck in limbo waiting to be discovered. Nina Lorez Collins is actually the person who took up the challenge to preserve her mother's legacy by doing the digital work herself at DuArt and finding a distributor for the films. She is also giving enormous access to scholars to her mother's papers, warts and all. And I'm sure the fantastic people at ImageNation will be working with us to reach the African-American communities when we release the films.

    As for Milestone, it would be very boring if we distributed films only about short Jewish people.

  • Daniel | March 21, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    This is a must-see for anyone not familiar with this challenging and mature filmmaker. I was introduced to this film and the artistic philosophies of Kathleen Collins while a MFA student in Howard University's graduate film program. And I wouldn't be surprised if the film is still being shown to the current students. I'm pleased that Milestone has done this, but wouldn't it be nice if we took more control of our own cultural legacies.

  • Daniel | March 21, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    This is a must-see for anyone not familiar with this challenging and mature filmmaker. I was introduced to this film and the artistic philosophies of Kathleen Collins while a MFA student in Howard University's graduate film program. And I wouldn't be surprised if the film is still being shown to the current students. I'm pleased that Milestone has done this, but wouldn't it be nice if we took more control of our own cultural legacies.

  • urbanauteur | March 21, 2013 12:00 PMReply

    Her along with fellow indie filmmaker Camille Billips are finally getting some degree of praise, which is sadly long overdue.

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