BLK DOCS: New Monthly Series Dedicated to Black Documentarians
Wilmington NC is still on fire. Yesterday three local police officers were fired for calling for a ‘slaughtering’: https://bit.
BKL Docs: A new partnership between Speller Street Films, The Luminal Theater, and Seed&Spark
Tickets @ $5: https://www.seedandspark.com/
June 25 – July 2: WILMINGTON ON FIRE by Christopher Everett
June 25, 8pm, Live online Q&A with the director, moderated by actress/writer/producer Erika Alexander, co-founder of Color Farm Media
June 30, 7pm, Live online Q&A with one of the film’s subjects–writer, activist Larry Reni Thomas, moderated by Camille Kauer, host of The E-Spot with Camille
July 30 – Aug 6: MILES IN THE LIFE by Shaun Mathis
July 30, 8pm, Live online Q&A with the director and the film’s subject Jabari Hayes
NEW YORK, Tue June 23, 2020 – At this time, when the vulnerability to Black lives is at the forefront, it is even more critical that Black storytellers thrust their stories to the center. Founded by Speller Street Films and The Luminal Theater, BLK Docs’s mission is to build an authentic documentary film culture within the African-American community through film screenings, webinars, and other interactive film events.
As producers, programmers, and archivists of Black cinema, WILMINGTON ON FIRE director Christopher Everett, and The Luminal Theater’s founder Curtis Caesar John started BLK Docs after being increasingly frustrated by being unable to find enough contemporary documentaries by Black filmmakers to showcase. “Of course there are “I Am Not Your Negro,” “Whose Streets?” and others, but for the most part Black-subject documentaries, especially those highlighted by big festivals, are made by non-Black directors,” says John. “While those directors are usually well meaning, by putting the focus on Black documentarians directly, BLK Docs will literally show that we are the most keen interpreters of our own stories and create a system in which they can thrive.”
For the June 25th opening of the monthly series, the curators have selected a timely documentary that exposes a long buried and still impactful violent event. Grounded in the bloody history of American racism, “Wilmington on Fire” unpacks the truth behind the Wilmington Massacre, the only successful coup d’etat. In 1898, in Wilmington, NC, an armed mob of Democrat-backed white supremacists opened fire on thriving middle-class African-American neighborhoods, slaughtering hundreds and exiling thousands out of the city for good. Tulsa and Rosewood have long been infamous, but Wilmington came first and was even more devastating in its effects.
Using rare photographs, original research, and testimonies from the descendants of the victims, this documentary directed by Speller Street Films founder Christopher Everett, reveals how the massacre became the springboard for white supremacy and Jim Crow throughout the American South, and how the devastation still affects Black American life to this day.
Also featured in “Wilmington on Fire” are Dr. William “Sandy” Darity, economist and author of the new book “From Here to Equality, Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” activist, scholar, and radio host and North Carolina historian Larry Reni Thomas, and Queen Quett, chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, and certified clinical psychologist Dr. Umar Johnson.
Extra-special for this screening is a sneak peek to the film’s long-awaited sequel, “Wilmington on Fire 2,” which will play exclusively with each virtual screening. BLK Docs will also host two Q&A sessions: on June 25th, Everett will share how “Wilmington on Fire” came to be, and how this 100 year old story still impacts everyday life in Wilmington and beyond (8pm), and on June 30th with film interviewee Larry Reni Thomas (7pm).
The July edition of BLK Docs features Shaun Mathis’ 2017 documentary “Miles In The Life,” a chronicle of Atlanta limousine driver Jabari Hayes (below), who trafficked large quantities of cocaine across the country for the then largest African-American drug organization in the southeast known as Black Mafia Family.
Future BLK Docs lineups and to purchase tickets, visit www.blkdocs.com. To submit a feature length or short film documentary to this monthly series, all to be held virtually for the immediate future, email BLK Docs at [email protected].
About The Luminal Theater
The Luminal Theater is a nomadic cinema that provides fully-curated exhibitions of diverse cinema and media of the Black/African diaspora, allowing these artists to present their work within our unique brand of shared audience experiences, and centered in predominantly Black communities. The Luminal serves an eager population of filmmakers, mediamakers, film enthusiasts, multiple discipline artists and art-minded people, all looking to use Black cinema to reignite imagination and media storytelling in the Black community.
About Speller Street Films
Founded in 2015, Speller Street Films is a Durham, North Carolina based creative film studio committed to developing and producing cinematic content in a variety of mediums for the global marketplace. Speller Street Films also serves as a film marketing and distribution consulting agency providing a new lane for hybrid distribution and community engagement strategies.
Seed&Spark connects people through stories that matter. Since 2012, their platform has helped thousands of creators bring stories to life and to audiences via story-centric crowdfunding, on-platform streaming, live community events and workplace programs that cultivate a culture of equity and inclusion. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seed&Spark launched a complete online festival platform, keeping creators, sponsors and audiences connected while ensuring the survival of the independent creative ecosystem.