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Cities & Theaters Freida Mock's Anita Hill Documentary Will Play When It Opens This Friday

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 18, 2014 10:20 AM
2 Comments
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It was on October 11th1991, in Washington, when Anita Hill testified before a senate panel, about her claims that then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her.

Thomas denied the claims, denouncing the hearings as a "high-tech lynching."

Thomas was eventually confirmed anyway.

Surprisingly (or maybe not-so-much), despite the fact that this was a story ripe with enough drama and intrigue to support several feature films (scripted or documentary), there've actually been very, very few movies (short or feature-length) made based on the case.

The only one that I'm immediately aware of was made 8 years later, in 1999 - a made-for-tv movie titled, Strange Justice, based on the investigative book of the same name on the Hill/Thomas case, written by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson, that would air on the Showtime network.

The film starred Delroy Lindo as Clarence Thomas, and Regina Taylor as Anita Hill, with Ernest Dickerson directing. Mandy PatinkinPaul Winfield and Louis Gossett Jr. co-starred. 

With a cast and director of that caliber, as well as the substance of the story, it should've made for must-see cable TV, right?

The fact that it's not even on DVD, maybe says something about how much interest there is/was in seeing it. It's obviously not on Netflix; the only copy I found was on VHS on Amazon.com, being sold second-hand. 

I will note that it was nominated and did win a couple of awards - a Peabody and a Satellite award for Best Motion Picture Made For Television (both of those wins in the year 2000).

I couldn't even find a trailer for it.

Skip ahead to last year, when a feature documentary on Anita Hill premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, in the Documentary Premieres category.

Titled simply Anita, the film comes from Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, writer and producer Freida Mock

Here's how it's described:

Anita Hill, an African-American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991 – bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issues.

The film follows "the life and times" of Anita Hill, with, of course, the above sexual harassment charge and its aftermath, in focus. 

Given Mock's stellar resume, I'd say that this should be a solid piece of documentary filmmaking, and I'm certainly interested in seeing it.

Jai screened at the ongoing Pan African Film Festival earlier this month, and reviewed it HERE.

Announced last summer, Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired U.S. rights to Anita.

We are excited to be working with the talented Freida Mock in bringing Anita’s powerful, life-changing story to not only the people who lived through the circus of the hearings but also to a new generation. Anita’s impact on the course of history over the last 20 plus years shouldn’t be forgotten and this film celebrates her legacy,” said Peter Goldwyn, Senior Vice President of Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Goldwyn has set an official release date of March 21 (this Friday), 2014 for the film, in a limited release, opening in NY and CA first, followed by a gradual expansion. Below you'll find exact cities and theaters the film will play in from its March 21 premiere, through early April.

Starting March 21, 2014, it opens in 5 California cities and in 2 New York City theaters; followed by play-dates in Massachusetts and D.C., debuting on April 4.

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2 Comments

  • Mary Dailey | June 25, 2014 10:30 PMReply

    Will the movie be shown in Chicago ?

  • filmloverladyeo | March 18, 2014 7:43 PMReply

    Saw this doc at the Pan African Film Festival in February. I highly recommend it. It is well researched with information clearly laid out. It will appeal to those of us who were around to witness and remember the events as well as to those who were too young (or not born) at the time.

    Starting out with the Jenni Thomas' obscenely ignorant phone message to Prof. Hill was absolutely brilliant! After seeing the film, you have to wonder about this Mrs. Thomas' gullibility, if not her judgement and the horrible reality that she is in a position to regularly influence American policy, not only through her relationship with her husband but also with her leadership position with the so called "tea party". Really? That this person has influence anywhere, is testament to the irrationality of present-day American politics.

    I had great admiration and respect for Ms. Hill when the events n the film were happening. After seeing this film, with all the behind the scenes information that we were not made aware of at the time, my respect and admiration for Prof. Hill's strength and integrity is even higher. She is a true heroine of our times. Not only did she "speak truth to power", she also changed the course of American social, political and legal sensitivity with respect to workplace rights and freedom from sexual harassment. Every worker in America, regardless of gender, should give thanks to her courage.

    As for "Justice" Thomas, I've always thought that some of the irrational decisions he has made, given his background, were a result of coercion. We used to call him "Scalia's ditto". After seeing this film, it is obvious that he will forever be at risk of indictment for lying under oath and to Congress. You be the judge.

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