Posted on December 7, 2014
Written by Tova-Beck Friedman, Director of Red Father
It is rewarding when a documentary you worked on for some time appeals to a wide audience. We screened RED FATHER in diverse venues — from Human Rights to Jewish to African Diaspora Film Festivals — and were pleased to always find enthusiastic and interactive viewers.
RED FATHER is the story of Bernard Ades, a Jewish lawyer who fought for racial justice during the Jim Crow era. Researching the topic was, for me, an eye opening experience, from reading Joseph Moore’s MURDER ON MARYLAND’S EASTERN SHORE: RACE POLITICS AND THE CASE OF ORPHAN JONES, to grasping the extent of the prevailing racism. Going through photographs of lynchings, I was overwhelmed by the fact that nothing was done behind closed doors — everything was in the open, “On the Court House Lawn,” as Sherilynn Ifil’s book title suggests. White folks dressed up in their Sunday best, looking straight into the camera, treating the event as entertainment.
Ades was born into an affluent Jewish family in Baltimore, Maryland. Radicalized by the Great Depression, he leaves the comfort of his surroundings to fight for equality. Believing in Communist ideals, he joins the Party and works as a lawyer to defend African Americans in capital cases. When the white judicial establishment takes revenge and tries to disbar him, young Thurgood Marshal joins the defense team — the first African American to defend a Caucasian litigant in Maryland. Thurgood Marshal will later use the outcome of his defense, In Re Ades, to successfully argue in front of the Supreme Court in the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education which resulted the end of segregation.
Bernard Ades’s story is narrated by his daughter. She admires the father who confronted legal racism, fought fascism in Spain, and was repeatedly blacklisted. Nonetheless, she does not spare her criticism of the Communist Party’s conduct. She ends the film with a powerful and poignant statement: “I also have great sympathy for the ideals that he had and even that the Party had, of equality and social responsibility for one another… but those ideas were poisoned by the way the Soviet Union behaved …They poisoned the well and that is very sad and it also defeated his ideas — those of them that were noble.”
Posted on November 23, 2014
On December 7th at 3PM, New Light Baptist Church will host a screening of the documentary, Ending Silence, Shame & Stigma: HIV/AIDS in the African American Family. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion lead by filmmaker Kat Cheairs.
New Light Baptist Church is at 213 E. 125th Street between 2nd and 3rd in New York City.
Posted on November 9, 2014
We are happy to announce that Matt and Katie Celia’s new documentary, Off the Floor, was reviewed and recommended in the November-December issue of Video Librarian magazine. In October, their film was an official selection of the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis and also of the Indie Memphis Film Festival.
On November 17th there will be a special screening and discussion of Tova Beck-Friedman’s doc, Red Father, at the Sandra Kahn Wasserman Jewish Studies Center at Baruch College. Last month, the film was screened at Anthology Film Archives by New York Women in Film and Television.
Ending Silence, Shame & Stigma: HIV/AIDS in the African American Family will screen on November 14th at the Berean Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Director Kat Cheairs.
Arribes: Everything Else is Noise will be screening on November 10, 2014, at Copa de Cava in London. Tickets may be purchased here. The documentary screening will be followed by a tasting of some of Spain’s finest, award-winning extra virgin olive oils.
Posted on November 1, 2014
There is wall-to-wall coverage in the news about Syria’s embattled Kurds. Read Kevin McKiernan’s New York Times Op Ed on Why Kobani Must Be Saved.
Posted on October 6, 2014
Written by Mariah Wilson, Director of Volunteer
A recent study by WWF reported that the world has lost half its wildlife since 1970 – and humans are to blame. Between habitat degradation, deforestation, and poaching, we’re taking quite a toll on our planet’s biodiversity. But here’s the hopeful part: there are many who want to turn this trend around. Many for whom the call to help cannot go ignored. I feel strongly that my generation has an opportunity and duty to do something. We’re living in the era that saw environmental awareness become the norm, not the exception.
After stumbling across a sea turtle conservation program while on a trip in Costa Rica in 2007, I was inspired to embark on my own environmental adventure. A few years later, I set off on a volunteering voyage to two conservation programs on opposite sides of the world. One program in Africa focused on endangered and threatened animals, the other on coral reefs and oceans in the South Pacific. Not knowing what I might find, I decided to bring a small camera along and make a volunteering video diary of my experiences in order to inspire others to make their own cross-continental conservation excursions. Volunteer is the result of that journey – I hope you find it informative, inspiring, and that it makes you giggle a bit along the way. I mean, if chimpanzee farts can’t make you laugh, what can, really?
For those interested in volunteering themselves, here’s some more info on the places I featured in the film. Happy Travels!