Now in its 2nd year, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s (MXGM) Black August Film Festival "uses film to speak to the lives, culture, resistance, organizing, social movements, and social and political matters of people of the African Diaspora."
This year's festival is scheduled for August 13th at Harlem's National Black Theatre.
Featured films and synopses are listed below:
“Native Sun” directed by Terence Nance & Blitz the Ambassador (21 minutes)
A boy journeys from the village to the city in search of his father. Shot entirely in Ghana, the film features the music of hip hop artist Blitz the Ambassador, from his album of the same name.
“The Prodigal Son” directed by Kurt Orderson (64 minutes)
Kurt Orderson a Rastafarian and young filmmaker, from Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, came to an understanding of the meaning of black consciousness and thus sought to retrace his great grandfather’s epic journey and legacy, Joseph Orderson, who came from Barbados to Cape Town in the 1890’s and was part of the Universal Negro Improvement Association UNIA, founded by the great Marcus Garvey, the father of contemporary Black Nationalism and Pan Africanism. “The Prodigal Son” retraces the lost history of the Orderson family, and the West Indian community who left the Caribbean in the late 1800’s as emancipated slaves, to settle in District Six, Cape Town. The film was shot on location in South Africa, USA, Barbados and St. Vincent.
SHORT FILM: “A Crocodile Story” directed by Hisham Haj Omer (3 minutes)
Refugee Club celebrates the first day of the Referendum Vote in South Sudan, with the release of a short animation created by its founder, Hisham Haj Omar. The first animation released by RC, this effort features a traditional Sudanese song titled “Habibi Taal” sung by Alsarah and produced by Ehab of NasJota Productions.
“Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty” directed by Kurt Orderson (37 minutes)
The arrival of the Dutch in the Cape in 1652 signaled the beginning of a violent and destructive process, which placed their greed for land and possessions before the rights of the original inhabitants of the land. Suddenly, throughout the Cape, and indeed throughout Africa, following the arrival of other European colonizers, Land, which belonged to Africans, was marked as the private property of Europeans who enslaved Africans. Today, The Right to Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign is asking critical questions about the lack of transformation and land reform in South Africa, post apartheid, and through popular education have mobilized people to recognize their ancestral rights and reclaim land for the purpose of black, emerging, small scale, organic farming.
Black Resistance in the USA
“Know Your Rights: How to Deal With Police Confrontations” directed by the students of Satellite Academy (16 minutes)
In the Spring 20011, through a program offered by Educational Video Center and facilitated by teaching artist and documentary filmmaker Dennis Flores, students at Satellite Academy High School produced a short documentary entitled “Know Your Rights: How to Deal With Police Confrontations.” Satellite Academy High School is an alternative public high school and the last educational opportunity for many at risk adolescent youth in New York City. Under the guidance of their instructor, students collectively decide on the theme of the documentary, the script, the scenes to film, and who to interview. In the first part of the documentary, youth decided to interview diverse people on the streets of New York City to engage their experiences with police and law enforcement in general. Through their poignant questions and interactions, we learn that current policing tactics, namely NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” are disproportionately affecting communities of color; whereby 80% of those stopped and frisked are African American or Latino/a. In the last part, youth address the legal rights and recourse people have when confronted by the police.
“Cointelpro 101″ directed by the Freedom Archives (56 minutes)
Beginning in the 1950s with a focus on the Puerto Rican independence movement and continuing through the 1960s and into the 1970s when much of its focus had shifted to the Black Liberation, Chicano Liberation and American Indian Movements, COINTELPRO racked up a number of assassinations, false imprisonments and ruined lives. No government official was ever punished for actions taken under the program’s auspices. The film by Freedom Archives details this history through the artful use of still photos and moving images of the period covered. Films of police attacks and protests; still photos of revolutionary leaders and police murders graphically remind the viewer of Washington’s willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain its control. Organizers who began their political activity during the time of Cointelpro discuss the effect the program had on them and the organizations and individuals they worked with. Indeed, several of the interviewees were themselves targets and spent years in prison (some under false accusations, as in the case of Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt) or on the run.
“Panther Cubs” (Trailer) directed by Ksisay Sadiki (12 minutes)
SHORT FILM: “A Creation Story” directed by Natasha Ngaiza (9 minutes)
“A Creation Story” is Natasha Ngaiza’s 2nd year film at Temple University. It is shot on super 16mm film and uses clay animation to reveal the magic of storytelling, hair maintenance and the special relationship between mothers and daughters.
Dinner Break (30 minutes) Food and snacks will be available at the festival throughout the day.
SHORT FILM: “Mirror Mirror” directed by Tamika R. Guishard (4 minutes)
Reflections of Love. This silent film is an exercise in purely visual storytelling. Shot on 16mm. B & W film, Mirror Mirror is a chance meeting between two people that are picture-perfect. Their potential for a match made in heaven is undeniable despite the fact that they have never met…happily ever after?
Hip-Hop, Spoken Word, and Activism
“Black Womyn Griots” directed by Helen Yohannes (9 minutes)
Black Womyn Griots is a film that explores the black literary genre of spoken word. Toronto-based female poets share how they use storytelling as an act of resistance and language as a site of power. This film depicts spoken word as a powerful means to build communities, organize resistance and tell our stories.
“Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation” directed by Existence is Resistance (98 minutes)
Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation is a documentary about a ten day journey of artists traveling through Palestine, teaching and performing Non Violent Resistance through the arts. The tour included M1 of Dead Prez, Shadia Mansour, Marcel Cartier, Mazzi of Soul Purpose, DJ Vega Benetton, Lowkey, Jody McIntyre and Trinidad, Brandon and Lavie from the South West Youth Collaborative/University of Hip Hop Chicago. Staying in the heart of Balata Refugee Camp @ the Yafa Cultural Center in Nablus the group witnesses night raids, meet families of shaheeds as well as young Palestinians who have been jailed, shot, humiliated, they come face to face with Daniel Luria in the heart of Jerusalem and confront him, they visit Hebron where there are roads for the Jews and Roads for the Arabs, the group visits Bi’lin where they get shot at and tear gassed and experience first hand what it felt like living under occupation
For more information on the event, visit the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.