A Sense of Place
In 1976, an extraordinary group of Black feminist artists and activists organized the first ever Black women’s film festival: the Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts. Films by Michelle Parkerson, Ayoka Chenzira, Edie Lynch, and Madeline Anderson, among others, were screened. The festival was simultaneously a celebration of the emerging world of Black women’s filmmaking as well as a radical call for the kinds of socio-political and institutional changes necessary for a Black women’s film culture to thrive. Four decades later, the Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts, 2023 commemorates the 1976 festival with a nine-week screening series, held in conjunction with Professor Allyson Nadia Field’s winter 2023 course “Creating a Different Image: Black Women's Filmmaking of the 1970s-90s,” and a two-day symposium about the original festival and the tradition of Black feminist filmmaking. For more information, visit voices.uchicago.edu/sojourner
The films in this program explore negotiations of space and place, mobility and impasse. Monica Freeman’s documentary A Sense of Pride—Hamilton Heights (1977) explores the relationship between community, location, and identity through a focus on the Harlem neighborhood. Jackie Shearer’s A Minor Altercation (1977) is a drama based on a true story about a fight between a Black and a white schoolgirl in 1970s Boston. Kathleen Collins’s landmark feature Losing Ground (1982) stars Seret Scott and Bill Gunn as a couple at a crossroads in their lives and their marriage. The film traverses the bustling city and the idyllic countryside in a journey of personal discovery. (DCP and 16mm, 131 min.)
A Sense of Pride—Hamilton Heights courtesy, Black Film Center & Archive, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. A Minor Altercation courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Losing Ground courtesy of Milestone Films and Kino Lorber.
Presented by the Film Studies Center, Sisters in Cinema, and South Side Projections, and co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture.