13TH | Official Trailer

The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.

 

The 13th debuts on Netflix and in select theaters on 7 October, DuVernay, best known for directing 2014’s Oscar-nominated Selma, had kept the project a secret from the public during its production.

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Loving Vincent Trailer

I’ve always loved Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. His psychedelic brush strokes instantly struck a cord with me the first time I encountered his work. Like countless others, I also believed I could relate to his struggles as an artist. I fell for the popular image—the iconic figure of the tortured artistic soul—which is no doubt a caricature of the man, a cartoon that has been (re)constructed and (re)presented to render him the poster boy for unrequited love, mental illness, and suicide. As I’ve matured I’ve learned to reject all such stereotypes as bullshit, no matter how romantically appealing they seem.

Several years ago I made a pilgrimage to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to encounter the man’s genius firsthand. Sadly, I departed somewhat underwhelmed by the experience. The magic eluded me. The impact of his artistry got subsumed in the space with so much of its focus on selling reproductions and memorabilia of all kinds—from umbrellas to coffee cups. I don’t expect any museum to be a cathedral of austerity. I recognize it takes funds to keep the doors open, but I felt this was a case where commercialism sucked all of the oxygen out of the exhibit.

My admiration for the artist, however, remains undiminished.  Over two decades ago, inspired by his work, I wrote this poem. But that’s not what this is about. Below I have posted a trailer for an amazing new film that brings Van Gogh’s work to life. As you will see, it goes far beyond typical animation to achieve something extraordinary. I’m trying to wait patiently for the release in 2017.

 

 

 

The Prophecy Full Documentary

Concerned about the environmental issues that Senegal is facing, the photographer Fabrice Monteiro in collaboration with the designer “Jah Gal” created “The Prophecy”, a photographic project which objective is to raise awareness to the Senegalese population and to the rest of the world by combining art, culture and tradition.

The series of surrealist photographs details the most representative sites of Senegal’s environmental destruction. The essence of each site’s is characterized by a Jinn – supernatural genies omnipresent in African cultures – merging with its environment.
The documentary “The Prophecy” communicates and shares the objectives and process of realization of the creators in showing the results that have been achieved so far.

 

In French & Wolof with English subtitles.

DIRECTOR: Marcia Juzga
PRODUCER: Fabrice Monteiro / Ecofund
EDITOR: Marcia Juzga

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me (Random House, 2015), National Book Award nonfiction nominee, and McArthur Grant Fellow spoke at the Cramton Auditorium at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, October 7.

Special thanks to Januwa Moja.

Así somos: Afro Identities in the Coast

The Coast of the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero have the highest population of afro-descendants in the entire country. This documentary was created because the people from the coast of Oaxaca requested that I film our talks on identity and blackness. The recordings take place in the towns of Charco Redondo and Chacahua, both in Oaxaca.

This is something I put together last minute because I had no intention of making a documentary. I wish only to give the people from the Coast representation as invisibilization of the Black race in Mexico is common. Rarely does someone think about Mexico when they think of the African diaspora but more enslaved Africans went to Mexico and Perú combined than the United States.

This documentary is intended to bring awareness of the African diaspora in Mexico and to help begin conversations on identity and blackness. — Andy Amaya

For more information on the director, Andy Amaya, and his film, check out this article by Andrew S. Vargas at Remezcla.

Why is my curriculum white?

This film from the UK examines Eurocentric bias in curriculum design, content and delivery from the perspective of university students in London. It offers an intelligent exposure and critique of whiteness in academia. Whiteness, however, is explained primarily through the lens of colonialism, imperialism, and empire. {The word slavery is never uttered, nor is it referred to in other ways.} CORRECTION: I somehow missed the reference to “slavery” in the film. Nevertheless, I maintain the point I made below that slavery is central to the social construction of whiteness.

Whiteness emerges through the process of racializing slavery. Europeans became “white” by “blackening” Africans and consigning them by law to permanent and hereditary servitude. For the sake of context, I thought I should add that point. But I sincerely don’t want it to detract from this fine film and the brilliant people it features.