Shine On: Richard Trice and the Bull City Blues
Thursday, February 11th, 2016 | 4:30PM
320 King Library
Introduced by Jerome Conley, Dean of University Libraries
The story of one man’s journey through blues music to spiritual redemption. 82-year-old Richard Trice was one of the last survivors of the heyday of the blues in Durham, North Carolina in the 1930s. Through his memory and the memory of others, a world of African American family, music and community emerges. The film is both a celebration of the Piedmont blues and an intimate document of Trice’s attempt to look back and give meaning to his life. - thegrooveproductions.com
The Believers: The First Transgender Gospel Choir
Thursday, February 18th, 2016 | 4:30PM
320 King Library
Introduced by Shevonne Nelson, Assistant Director, Office of Diversity Affairs, Coordinator of GLBTQ Services
Recipient of the Frameline30 Audience Award for Best Documentary and of a 2005 Frameline Film & Video Completion Fund grant, The Believers is an unprecedented feature documentary that shatters assumptions about faith, gender, and religion. Built around the world's first transgender gospel choir, the film portrays the choir's dilemma - how to reconcile their gender identity with the widespread belief that changing one's gender goes against the word of God.
Set against the story of the Transcendence Gospel Choir's founding, the documentary reveals the lives of its members, including Tom, once a radical lesbian feminist; Ashley, choir founder and professional sound engineer; and Bobby, a recovering drug addict and former sex worker. The film takes us from the Transcendence Gospel Choir's shaky beginnings - a heartwarmingly chaotic, cacophonous group unable to agree on much of anything, arguing over appropriate wardrobe and learning to sing with transitioning voices - through their transformation into the polished, award-winning choir and close-knit family they are today, garnering major performances and winning an Outmusic Award in 2004 for the album Whosoever Believes.
The intimate personal stories shed light on the complexity of balancing social change, family history, religion and identity. At the heart of their dilemma is a struggle for acceptance within two worlds historically at odds with one another. As one of the film's subjects eloquently says, "I'm living in a window. I get to see both sides."
The Believers is a unique story of determination and perseverance and an important look at the intricacy and diversity of spirituality and the LGBT community. - Frameline.org
Prom Night in Mississippi
Thursday, February 25th, 2016 | 4:30PM
320 King Library
Introduced by Ronald Scott, Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity
In 1997, Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman offered to pay for the senior prom at Charleston High School in Mississippi under one condition: the prom had to be racially integrated. His offer was ignored. In 2008, Freeman offered again. This time the school board accepted, and history was made. Charleston High School had its first-ever integrated prom - in 2008. Until then, blacks and whites had had separate proms even though their classrooms have been integrated for decades. Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman follows students, teachers and parents in the lead-up to the big day. This seemingly inconsequential rite of passage suddenly becomes profound as the weight of history falls on teenage shoulders. We quickly learn that change does not come easily in this sleepy Delta town. Freeman's generosity fans the flames of racism - and racism in Charleston has a distinctly generational tinge. Some white parents forbid their children to attend the integrated prom and hold a separate white-only dance. "Billy Joe," an enlightened white senior, appears on camera in shadow, fearing his racist parents will disown him if they know his true feelings. PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI captures a big moment in a small town, where hope finally blossoms in black, white and a whole lot of taffeta. -David Courier, Sundance Film Festival