Black independent cinema focus of 'L.A. Rebellion' film series

By Caitlin Ryan | Emory Report | Nov. 13, 2013

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A partnership between Emory, Georgia State University and the Atlanta Film Festival is bringing the UCLA film series "L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema" to Atlanta as part of its national tour. The series kicked off at Atlanta's Plaza Theater in October and continues with ongoing free screenings at Emory, in White Hall 205, until Nov. 24.  

"This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Emory and Atlanta community to see the groundbreaking work of this first generation of African American filmmakers trained in film school," says Matthew Bernstein, professor and chair of Emory's Department of Film and Media Studies. "You cannot find the vast majority of these films to view any place else, so we are very proud to be hosting the series and so pleased to be collaborating with our colleagues at Georgia State University's Moving Image Studies program and the Atlanta Film Festival."  

The series features 36 films from UCLA's archives of the groundbreaking works of the L.A. Rebellion, a school of black independent cinema that began in the late 1960s by a group of students enrolled as part of a diversity enrollment initiative in UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television.  

"Determined to respond to the political turmoil and anti-black backlash of their time, as well as transcend the mainstream Hollywood cinema's limitations in representing black life on screen, these filmmakers sought new aesthetic forms that would more adequately respond to the exigencies and specificities of black lives," says Alessandra Raengo, a communications professor at Georgia State University and coordinator of liquid blackness, a research initiative on blackness and aesthetics at Georgia State that was instrumental in bringing the series to Atlanta.  

The series continues this weekend with screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 15-17, at 7:30 p.m. in White Hall 205. Haile Gerimina, a leading filmmaker of L.A. Rebellion and professor at Howard University, will be present for two Q&A sessions after the screenings on Friday and Saturday.  

The final weekend of the series features Q&A sessions with Larry Clark, filmmaker and professor at San Francisco State University. On Sunday, Nov. 24, the series will conclude with a screening of "Daughters of the Dust," a film by Julie Dash, the first African American woman to direct a feature film.  

The Atlanta stop of the tour is presented by Emory's Department of Film and Media Studies, the Atlanta Film Festival and the Department of Communication at Georgia State University, in association with the UCLA Film & Television Archive. It is curated by Allyson Nadia Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, Shannon Kelley, and Jacqueline Stewart.  

View the full schedule of screenings and conversations.