We the People: Required Watching
MSP Film Society presents We the People: Required Watching, an ongoing screening series of films that speak powerfully to systemic inequality, followed by conversations with filmmakers and community leaders discussing ways we can support social justice and anti-racism efforts within our communities.
We the People: Required Watching Community Conversation guests thus far have included: Civil Rights Attorney and Activist Nekima Levy Armstrong, Filmmaker and Activist D.A. Bullock, Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano, Filmmaker Deirdre Fishel, Playwright Christina Ham, Former Minneapolis Police Inspector Catherine Johnson, Theater Educator and Director Dawn Renee Jones, Attorney and Former Ramsey County Prosecutor Donald M. Lewis, screenwriter Ken Rance, Community Editor of Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder Mel Reeves, Theatre Producer and former Minneapolis City Council Member Ralph Remington, Writer and Activist Aaron Smothers, Criminal Defense Attorney F. Clayton Tyler, and Distinguished Scholar and Activist Dr. John Wright. All of these conversations can be viewed at any time on MSP Film Society’s Facebook page.
This series is generously supported by the George Family Foundation and KNOCK, Inc. All We the People online discussions are generously supported by Kelly and Mike Palmer.
Zoom Conversation: Monday, November 22 at 7:00pm. FREE.
MSP Film Society and Magers & Quinn Booksellers present a special We the People: Required Watching live virtual conversation with Wil Haygood, writer of the new book "Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World" and MSP Film Society Programmer Craig Laurence Rice.
About "Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World"
From Wil Haygood, the acclaimed author of The Butler and biographies of Thurgood Marshall and Sammy Davis, Jr., as well as an award-winning journalist of the Washington Post and Boston Globe, here is an unprecedented, groundbreaking examination of Black cinema—from Gone with the Wind to Blaxploitation films to Black Panther—using the struggles and triumphs of the artists, and the films themselves, as a prism to explore Black culture, civil rights, and racism in America.
Beginning in 1915 with D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation—which glorified the Ku Klux Klan and became Hollywood’s first blockbuster—which showed Black Americans that they 'had yet one more enemy: cinema' Haygood gives us an incisive, fascinating, little-known history, spanning more than a century, of Black artists in the film business, on-screen and behind the scenes.
He considers the films themselves—including Imitation of Life, Porgy and Bess, Lilies of the Field, Blackboard Jungle, Shaft, Superfly, Roots, Do The Right Thing, 12 Years a Slave, Green Book and BlacKkKlansmen. And he brings to new light the careers and significance of a wide range of historic and contemporary figures: Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Berry Gordy, Alex Haley, Spike Lee, Billy Dee Willliams, Richard Pryor, Halle Berry, Ava DuVernay, Jordan Peele, and Barry Jenkins among many others.
A fascinating and pioneering perspective on race and racism in twentieth- and twenty-first-century America.
Check back often for announcements of upcoming We the People programming.
Executive Order (Medida Provisória)
Director: Lázaro Ramos | Fiction | Brazil | 2020
Screening Dates: 9th Cine Latino - October 8 & 13, 2021.
Video Conversation: A recorded conversation with Executive Order director/writer Lázaro Ramos and MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice.
Part of 9th Cine Latino Film Festival festival.
In Brazil’s near future, two roommates become unwitting symbols of resistance when a voluntary ‘back-to-Africa’ program for ‘high melanin’ citizens quickly becomes a violent round-up of all Black citizens in this powerful debut feature from writer/director Lazaro Ramos.Watch the Conversation
A Bruddah's Mind (Cabeça de nego)
Director: Déo Cardoso | Fiction | Brazil | 2020
Screening Dates: 9th Cine Latino - October 8-17, 2021.
Zoom Conversation: A live conversation, Cine Latino edition, with A Bruddah's Mind (Cabeça de nego) writer/director Déo Cardoso and MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice.
Part of 9th Cine Latino Film Festival festival.
As a member of his school’s Student Council, Saulo is on a mission to promote changes in his school and neighborhood. During a classroom quarrel, Saulo reacts to a racial insult from a classmate and is expelled. Outraged, he refuses to leave the school until justice is done.Watch the Conversation
Director: Jessica Beshir | Documentary | Ethiopia, USA | 2021
Screening Dates: September 17-23 2021.
Zoom Conversation: September 20 at 7:00pm. A live virtual conversation with Faya Dayi director / producer / cinematographer Jessica Beshir and MSP Film Society Programmer Craig Laurence Rice
In her hypnotic documentary feature, Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir explores the coexistence of everyday life and its mythical undercurrents. Though a deeply personal project—Beshir was forced to leave her hometown of Harar with her family as a teenager due to growing political strife—the film she returned to make about the city, its rural Oromo community of farmers, and the harvesting of the country’s most sought-after export (the euphoria-inducing khat plant) is neither a straightforward work of nostalgia nor an issue-oriented doc about a particular drug culture. Rather, she has constructed something dreamlike: a film that uses light, texture, and sound to illuminate the spiritual lives of people whose experiences often become fodder for ripped-from-the-headlines tales of migration.Watch the Conversation
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Director: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler | Documentary | USA | 2021
Screening Dates: MSPIFF40 - May 14-23 2021.
Zoom Conversation: May 17 at 7:00pm. MSPIFF Programmer Craig Laurence Rice, Who We Are filmmakers Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, ACLU’s Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson, and Dr. Tiffany Crutcher
Part of Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival festival.
As an 11-year-old, marching with his father and brother alongside Martin Luther King in the 1968 Memphis sanitation strikes, Jeffery Robinson witnessed first-hand the persecution of the peaceful protesters. The searing images made an indelible impression and, eventually, inspired him to become a criminal defense attorney. Years later, raising his then 13-year-old nephew, he struggled with how to articulate the ways in which racism in America affected both of them. For the last decade, Robinson, now the ACLU’s Deputy Legal Director, has been sharing what he learned in community centers, concert halls, and houses of worship to anyone who will listen. Directors Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler bring Robinson’s searing Town Hall talk to vivid life.Watch the Conversation
Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities
Screening Dates: February 14 - 28, 2021. Tickets: $9 MSP Film Members | $12 General. Reserve Tickets and Watch Here Starting February 14
Zoom Conversation: Monday, February 22 at 7:00pm. FREE.
MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice in conversation with filmmakers Kyla Sylvers (Producer, Writer - The Black Banshee), Antu Yacob (Co-Writer, Executive Producer, Lead Actress - Love in Submission), and Lande Yoosuf (Director - Love in Submission).
About Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities
In this collection of six shorts, filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back. From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary. The program is designed to support the participating filmmakers first and foremost – structured so that they receive adequate compensation for their work.
THE BLACK BANSHEE
Directed by John D Hay, Jr. | Produced by Kyla Sylvers
Convinced by her friends and boyfriend to enjoy a night out after losing her job, Yvie begins to question her own mind when the visions she's been having start to have dangerous consequences.
LOVE IN SUBMISSION
Directed by Lande Yoosuf | Produced by Antu Yacob
Worlds collide when two different Muslim women meet each other for the first time through a mutual third party.
First Daughter and the Black Snake
Director: Keri Pickett | Documentary | USA | 2017
Screening Dates: January 28 - February 8, 2021. All tickets: $5.
Zoom Conversation: Sunday, January 31 at 7:00pm. MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice in conversation with filmmaker Keri Pickett and Economist and Executive Director of Honor the Earth Winona LaDuke.
Part of The Great Northern festival.
Winona LaDuke believes Big Oil is the black snake predicted in indigenous prophecy to bring the earth’s destruction. When new oil pipelines threaten sacred wild rice lakes, Winona dreams of riding her horse against the current of oil, organizing a spiritual ride, because a horse can kill a snake.Watch the Conversation
Director: Sam Pollard | Documentary | USA | 2020
Free Preview Screening: January 13, 2021.
Zoom Conversation: Wednesday, January 13 at 7:00pm. MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice in conversation with MLK/FBI Director Sam Pollard.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered today as an American hero: a bridge-builder, a shrewd political tactician, and a moral leader. Yet throughout his history-altering political career, he was often treated by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies like an enemy of the state. In this virtuosic documentary, award-winning editor and director Sam Pollard (Editor, 4 LITTLE GIRLS, MO’ BETTER BLUES; Director/Producer, EYEZ ON THE PRIZE, SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME) lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged King’s activism throughout the ’50s and ’60s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover. In crafting a rich archival tapestry, featuring some revelatory restored footage of King, Pollard urges us to remember that true American progress is always hard-won.Watch the Conversation
We Are the Radical Monarchs
Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton | Documentary | USA | 2019
Zoom Conversation: Monday, November 23 at 7pm
In late 2014, with gentrification displacing increasing numbers of longtime residents, the shooting death of Michael Brown bringing the issue of police brutality into the national dialogue and out into the streets—and in the midst of the most contentious presidential campaign in history–Oakland-based community organizers Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest set out to create a lasting, and necessary, change within their community.
Join MSP Film Society Programmer Craig Laurence Rice in conversation with Filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Radical Monarchs Co-Founder Anayvette Martinez, and Radical Monarchs Alumni Lupita Martinez and De’Yani Dillard.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story
Director: N.C. Heikin | Documentary | USA | 2016
Zoom Conversation: Monday, October 5 at 7:00pm
Packed with thrilling music, Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story is an absorbing documentary about a gifted alto sax player and Charlie Parker's protégée, Frank Morgan. To bring the past into the present, director N.C. Heikin brought an all-star band together for a concert. This hyper-emotional event forms the backbone of this riveting film.
MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice will lead a virtual conversation on October 5 at 7:00pm with filmmaker N.C. Heikin, author Michael Connelly, and legendary musicians Ron Carter, George Cables and Grace Kelly.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
Director: Melissa Haizlip | Documentary | USA | 2020
Zoom Conversation: Monday, August 31 at 7:00pm
Mr. Soul!, the documentary feature film directed and produced by Melissa Haizlip, celebrates the groundbreaking PBS series from its genesis to its eventual loss of funding against the backdrop of a swiftly changing political and social landscape, while profiling Ellis Haizlip, the charismatic man behind one of the most culturally significant and successful television shows in U.S. history.
MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice will moderate a FREE virtual conversation with filmmaker Melissa Haizlip, CEO and Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions Robin Hickman, and director and playwright Dawn Renee Jones.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
Jim Crow of the North
Director: Daniel Pierce Bergin | Documentary | USA | 2019
Zoom Conversation: Monday, August 17, 2020
On Monday, August 17, MSP Film Society Programmer Craig Laurence Rice will host a community conversation with Director Daniel Pierce Bergin and Anthony R. Scott, President of Minnesota's Black Community Project.
Roots of racial disparities are seen through a new lens in this film that explores the origins of housing segregation in the Minneapolis area. But the story also illustrates how African-American families and leaders resisted this insidious practice, and how Black people built community — within and despite — the red lines that these restrictive covenants created. A Twin Cities PBS Original.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
John Lewis: Good Trouble
Director: Dawn Porter | Documentary | USA | 2020
Watch the Movie Here
Zoom Conversation: Monday, August 3, 2020
MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice will lead a conversation with Attorney General of Minnesota Keith Ellison on August 3 at 7:00pm.
John Lewis: Good Trouble chronicles the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Representative from Georgia. Using interviews and rare archival footage, John Lewis: Good Trouble chronicles John Robert Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
Director: Yance Ford | Documentary | USA | 2017
Watch Movie for FREE on Youtube!
Zoom Conversation: Monday, July 20 at 7:00pm
MSP Film Society presents a FREE community screening of the powerful documentary, Strong Island on Sunday, July 19, followed by a conversation with Director Yance Ford on Monday, July 20, 2020.
Strong Island is a true-crime documentary that chronicles the arc of a family across history, geography and tragedy - from the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South to the promise of New York City; from the presumed safety of middle-class suburbs, to the maelstrom of an unexpected, violent death. It is the story of the Ford family and how their lives were shaped by a violent murder and the enduring shadow of race in America. A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice, and how one grapples with the complicity of silence, which can bind a family in an imitation of life, and a nation with a false sense of justiceWATCH THE CONVERSATION
Director: Ava Duvernay | Documentary | USA | 2016
Watch Movie for FREE on Youtube!
Zoom Conversation: Monday, July 6 at 7:00pm
We the People: Required Watching continues on Sunday, July 5 with a free screening of Ava DuVernay’s groundbreaking documentary 13th. On Monday, July 6 at 7:00pm, MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice will present another community-focused conversation that explores the themes of the film and how we can collectively move forward toward a more just and inclusive society.
The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 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.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
Women in Blue (Work in Progress)
Director: Deirdre Fishel | Documentary | USA | 2020
Zoom Conversation: Monday, June 29, 2020
MSP Film Society kicks off We the People: Required Watching on Sunday, June 28 with an encore screening of the MSPIFF39 Redefined closing night film, Women in Blue. The film will be available to screen for free for a 24-hour window on beginning at 11am on Sunday, June 28. On Monday, June 29 at 7:00pm, MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice will moderate a conversation with Director Deirdre Fishel, Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano, Civil Rights Attorney and Activist Nekima Levy Armstrong, and former Minneapolis City Council Member Ralph Remington about the ongoing efforts of police reform and women's roles in leadership and community safety.
Offering an unprecedented view into the inner workings of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), Women in Blue chronicles a police force—and a community—grappling with racism and a troubled history of police misconduct long before an MPD officer killed George Floyd in May of 2020. The film reveals the limitations of police reform through incremental change and asks questions that apply well beyond the city of Minneapolis: Could increased gender equity and more women—especially women of color—contribute to greater public safety?WATCH THE CONVERSATION
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders | Documentary | USA | 2019
Zoom Conversation: June 22, 2020
MSP Film programmer Craig Laurence Rice, writer, director and theatre educator Dawn Renee Jones, playwright Christina Ham, and civil rights attorney, activist, national expert on racial justice, former law professor, and legal scholar Nekima Levy Armstrong.
This artful and intimate meditation on legendary storyteller Toni Morrison examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career. Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, history, America and the human condition.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
Director: NAME | Documentary | USA | YEAR
Zoom Conversation: Monday, June 15, 2020
Following the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown at the hands of police, the residents of the St. Louis metropolitan area were pushed past their breaking point. In this documentary, directors Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis, who live in St. Louis, were on the front lines, confronting police units that were as militarized as if in the midst of combat, and talked to the people on the streets, people who are literally fighting for their lives and the lives of their children.
Zoom Discussion with MSP Film Programmer Craig Laurence Rice and Mel Reeves, Editor of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Filmmaker/Activist DA Bullock, and Writer/Activist Aaron Smothers on Monday, June 15 at 7:00pm.WATCH THE CONVERSATION
I Am Not Your Negro
Director: Raoul Peck | Documentary | USA | 2016
Zoom Conversation: Sunday, June 8, 2020
In his incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic James Baldwin's unfinished book Remember This House. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material.
Zoom discussion with MSP Film Society Programmer Craig Laurence Rice and distinguished scholar and activist Dr. John Wright on Monday, June 8 at 7:00pmWATCH THE CONVERSATION