One of the film’s most revolutionary contributions is Gerima’s portrayal of enslaved people, not slaves. They are people struggling with love, loss, denial, and guilt. He takes them out of the one-dimensional, passive, “victim” role, and embodies them with complications that manifest in active resistance, personal conflict, and compelling stories. -- IndieWire
In Sankofa, a black fashion model is transported back in time to a plantation, where she witnesses and experiences the brutality of slavery. Through the ordeal, she learns the value of reclaiming one’s roots. Produced as part of the L.A. Rebellion film movement, the film examines gender, interslave relations, cultural conflicts, and Christianity. Director Haile Gerima succeeds in documenting the oppression of slavery from the vantage point of the slave and balances the realistic portrayal of oppression with a portrayal of slave resistance. Gerima, who was at the Walker for a Dialogue and Retrospective in 1995, will introduce the screening. 1993, 35mm, 124 minutes.
Join director Haile Gerima, Sankofa Film Festival founder E.G. Bailey, and others for a conversation after the screening.
Copresented with Tru Ruts, this screening is part of the Sankofa Film Festival.
About the Sankofa Film Festival
Dedicated to fostering a diverse cinematic experience for and about people of African descent, the Sankofa Film Festival showcases narratives of the divergent and dynamic stories of black life in the United States and internationally. The festival takes place in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, home to not only a vibrant African American community but also one of the largest African communities in the country.
Haile Gerima is an independent filmmaker and professor of film at Howard University in Washington, DC. After completing his thesis film, Bush Mama (1975), Gerima received international acclaim with Harvest: 3000 Years (1976), an Ethiopian drama that won the Grand Prize at the Locarno film festival. Gerima filmed his epic Sankofa in 1993. This formally ambitious tale of a plantation slave revolt was ignored by US distributors, but Gerima tapped into African American communities and booked sold-out screenings in independent theaters around the country. Gerima continues to distribute and promote his own films, including his most recent Teza (2008), which won the Jury and Best Screenplay awards at the Venice Film Festival.
E.G. Bailey is an Ivey Award–winning spoken word artist, thespian, filmmaker, and producer. He is the cofounder of Tru Ruts Endeavors and the MN Spoken Word Association. Bailey’s latest work includes the co-curation of America Now!, a film project taking place during the 2016 Tampere Short Film Festival in Finland. He is currently directing a new film titled New Neighbors.
Robin Hickman is the CEO and executive producer of SoulTouch Productions, a television and film production, youth mentorship, and media consulting company, with a mission to make meaningful media and produce powerful social impact experiences. Hickman’s film work includes the Emmy- and NAACP Image Award–nominated documentary Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks, on the life of her great-uncle. In 2011, the Minnesota Council on Black Minnesotans and the Minnesota Humanities Center awarded SoulTouch a Humanities Legacy grant to develop In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks, a youth development initiative and celebration of Parks’s legacy.
Craig Laurence Rice is an entertainment executive, entrepreneur, educator, and award-winning producer and director nationally recognized for his distinguished career in the music industry as well as the commercial, television, and feature film industries. His credits include executive producer and director for the feature-length documentary Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks for HBO, which was nominated for three Emmy Awards and an NAACP Image Award.