Keisha Rae Witherspoon, T, Third Horizon, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

Keisha Rae Witherspoon, T, Third Horizon, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

Online Event

Screening: New Labor Movements: Movement IV. Creation/Emergence

Filmmakers discuss contemporary visions of America and concepts of transnational Blackness as embodied in this collection of short and eclectic films.

Across four “film movements,” curator Leila Weefur’s New Labor Movements establishes labor outside of the physical implications of the body and escorts the viewer into a concept of labor that is experienced across all sensorial and psychological planes. The fourth and final movement, Creation/Emergence, is available for online viewing from February 16 to 18, 2021 via the Roxie Theater’s Virtual Cinema platform while Movement III. Freedom/Liberation is on view at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts through March 13.

Creation/Emergence opens with Nkiru’s Rebirth is Necessary (2017), a “multi-sensorial therapeutic experience,” that suggests an almost synesthetic interpretation of Black existence. An adjacent sense of catharsis is explored in T (2019), Keisha Rae Witherspoon’s profound look at how Black people grieve one another, while Elegance Bratton and Jovan James’ Buck (2020) explores the process of surrendering to the difficulties of acceptance. Also included are films by Terrance Daye and Onyeka Igwe. Weefur states, “Movement IV. ​Creation/Emergence is what you hope to find on the other side of liberation—to discover a continuum, not of struggle but of complexity that is Blackness as gestalt.” 

In conjunction with the online presentation, Rizvana Bradley moderates a free online discussion on February 18 at 12pm PST with Weefur and filmmakers Elegance Bratton, Jovan James, and Jenn Nkiru.

ABOUT THE FILMS

All descriptions written by Leila Weefur, curator

Jenn Nkiru
Rebirth is Necessary, 2017
Digital video, color, sound, 10 min. 30 sec.

To define the sounds, shapes, and textures of a Black future is to provide a multi-sensorial therapeutic experience. Director Jenn Nkiru’s Black Star: Rebirth is Necessary, embodies the Black transnational future in colors and rhythms to match almost any expression of Blackness. This film is an affirmation, “I am the blended colors of life that light the bridge into a new age.”

Terrance Daye
Cherish, 2018
Digital video, color, sound, 6 min.

Cherish is a spiritual journey to liberation through the sensorial explorations of a young Black boy. This short and delicate story delivers us the impossible, showing us that in this corner of the American South, Black boys can fly.

Keisha Rae Witherspoon
T, 2019
Digital video, color, sound, 14 min.

Deep down in the Floridian South is a visually arresting display of the ways Black folks grieve one another. T is a reminder of the infinitude of Black creative existence and the unity found in the process of healing. This short documentary-style film shows that even in the throes of violence we celebrate, we dance, we adorn, we cry, we laugh, we mourn.

Onyeka Igwe
Specialised Technique, 2018
HD video, black-and-white, sound, 6 min. 57 sec.

“Pulse, pulse, pulse…” A voice, a drum, a cadence of contrast is used by Onyeka Igwe to conjure the “livingness” present in the archival documentation of Black dance. Consecutive questions that appear as mere title cards, words adorning the edges of a body, or as an independent character in the frame are all self-reflexive exchanges between the director, the subjects, and the audience.
“Do you not want me to see your face?” is a question steeped in self-awareness and the issue of the spectacle ever-present in colonial cinema.

Elegance Bratton, Jovan James
Buck, 2020
Digital video, color sound, 14 min.

To be gay, black, and looking for relief. The leading
young man, Lynn, is looking to sex to free him from a psychological paralysis and refusal to heal. His journey only reveals to him what many already know, the search for joy and happiness is complicated and cannot be realized in isolation. Bratton and James guide us through the process of surrendering to the difficulties of acceptance.

PROGRAM PARTNERS

The Roxie Theater, a San Francisco landmark in the Mission District, brings people together to meet and connect through distinctive cinematic experiences. Guided by the passionate belief that engaging with a movie doesn’t end with the credits, the Roxie invites filmmakers, curators, entertainers, and educators to interact with its audiences. The Roxie provides inspiration and opportunity for the next generation and serves as a forum for the independent film community reflecting the spirit of the diverse Bay Area population.

This program is presented in conjunction with the West Coast premiere of Lessons of the Hour at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts. The immersive, ten-screen film installation by Isaac Julien offers a contemplative, poetic journey into the zeitgeist of Frederick Douglass. Online conversations with these artists and invited thinkers and scholars take place throughout the run of the exhibition. Admission to the exhibition and conversations is free.

This screening and conversation is co-presented with the Roxie Theater.