Through the lens of independent films, this series tells the many stories of a transforming American culture and its broad diversity. It takes an unfiltered look at relevant domestic topics (healthcare, immigration, the workplace, and politics) with personal storytelling tied to programming social themes. The series showcases films that will give viewers a "snapshot" of the transforming American life - the guts, the glory, the grit of a new and changing America. From contemporary life on Native American reservations to stories of recovery on the Gulf, from hardships and revitalization in towns big and small, to stories from city streets across the country, these independent, personal and opinionated films document the times in which we live.
9-Man (#318) Duration: 1:59:23 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
9-Man is a story about streetball battle in the heart of Chinatown featuring a chaotic, Chinese-only game played competitively in parking lots and alleys since 1938. Through revealing verite scenes, archival material and primary source interviews, the film broaches conversations about Chinatown's Bachelor Society, the Chinese Exclusion Act, cultural belonging and loss, masculinity, genetic disparity in sports, immigrant culture, the Chinatown diaspora, microaggressions, reverse racism, Asian-American identity politics, self-doubt and social isolation.
My Life In China (#416) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Director Ken Eng's documents his father's first trip back to the rural Chinese village where he was raised since immigrating to the US in the 1970s. Father and son visit various family members who stayed through communism and who are now part of the "new middle class." A film about a father's journey back home and a son's journey into his own heritage.
Baddddd Sonia Sanchez (#406) Duration: 1:56:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
For 80-year-old Sonia Sanchez, writing is both a personal and political act. She emerged as a seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement, raising her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women's liberation, and peace as a poet, playwright, teacher, activist and early champion of the spoken word. She is among the earliest poets to have incorporated urban black English into her poetry; she was one of the first activists to secure the inclusion of African American studies in university curricula. Deemed "a lion in literature's forest" by poet Maya Angelou and winner of major literary awards including the American Book Award, Sonia Sanchez is best known for 17 books of poetry that explore a wide range of global and humanist themes, particularly the struggles and triumphs of women and people of color. In BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sanchez's life unfolds in a documentary rich with readings and jazz-accompanied performances of her work. With appearances by Questlove, Talib Kweli, Ursula Rucker, Amiri Baraka, Haki Madhubuti, Jessica Care Moore, Ruby Dee, Yasiin Bey, Ayana Mathis, Imani Uzuri and Bryonn Bain, the documentary examines Sanchez's contribution to the world of poetry, her singular place in the Black Arts Movement and her leadership role in African American culture over the last half century.
A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone (#501) Duration: 56:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Long before Black Lives Matter became a rallying cry, Edythe Boone embodied that truth as an activist, an educator, a great-grandmother, and foremost an artist. When a deeply personal tragedy ignites a national outcry, everything that Edy has worked so tirelessly for comes into question. From humble Harlem beginnings herself, the indefatigable "Edy" has for decades introduced underserved youth and seniors to the transformative power of art. Having helped her students use mural making to grapple with the disproportional shootings of young black men, the issue hits home when her nephew Eric Garner dies in police custody, his last words: "I can't breathe." The tragedy evokes the powerful and deep questions that many artists and activists face: has her nearly eight decades of social justice work meant something? Has it been worth the sacrifice? Can building multicultural bridges through art bring about positive change? Edy's reaction shows the depth of her clear-eyed, compassionate commitment to building a just and peaceful community. A New Color illuminates the social issues of our time and shows how the work of one woman reverberates throughout a community to inspire a powerful chorus: "Our lives matter and we will not be disempowered by those who judge us for our age, gender, or the color of their skin."
70 Acres In Chicago (#502) Duration: 56:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
Twenty-years in the making, 70 Acres in Chicago tells the story of the Cabrini Green public housing development located on the most hotly contested 70 acres of land in Chicago. With its prime central location, Cabrini Green was initially hailed as a public housing triumph, then later demonized as an urban disaster. It was demolished over a period of 15 years beginning in 1995, and repackaged as a "mixed income" development. Critics contend that the motivation was economic gain, as public housing's prime real estate became too valuable for the low-income Black communities that once lived there. The few Cabrini residents who were able to move into the highly regulated mixed income settlement are negotiating through difficult cultural territory. Encounters between the former Cabrini residents and the new white middle-class homeowners comprise the very real tensions of a newly constructed community in transition. 70 Acres in Chicago tells the volatile story of these 70 acres, while looking unflinchingly at race, class, and who has the right to live in the city. The film uses personal stories, expert commentary, and informative history to celebrate the spirit of a unique community and to mourn its betrayal and destruction.