Expired November 27, 2020 4:59 AM
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Presented in partnership with Speller Street Films and The Luminal Theater as part of their monthly BLK Docs series. The $2 minimum charge for this program allows us to cover the associated Eventive fees.

“The archive” has never been a neutral body of material. Documents, images, and ephemera—often viewed as objective witnesses of history—themselves reflect the power dynamics and material conditions under which they were made and collected. Tension between what’s been captured and, more tellingly, what’s been excluded, renders the archive a site of both presence and absence.

Drawing on a wide range of archival material, the filmmakers in this program attempt to cohere questions of Black identity that have been obscured, suppressed, or erased by white supremacy and other dominative forces. These films move seamlessly between personal and political—between family albums, home movies, text correspondences, official documents, news clips, historical footage, and advertisements. 

Like the narrator of The Otolith Group’s In the Year of the Quiet Sun, we use the phrase “instant ancestry” with knowledge of the limits of excavating identity from what's been institutionally preserved. The series attempts not to instantaneously recover lost and retrievable histories, but to illuminate gaps in the archive and these filmmakers’ ongoing efforts to fill them.


Meditation on Migration (Vonnie Quest, 2010, 5:23 min.)

“Meditation on Migration” is a short video that explores one woman’s relocation from Duncan, Mississippi to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Odester Love (narrator) reflects upon her refusal of the Jim Crow south and what she ultimately finds once she arrives in the North. Through the experimental juxtaposition of live and found footage, we are presented with a narrative about determination. Meditation ponders upon the idea of opportunity. What did opportunity mean for Black Americans moving to Milwaukee, WI in the fifties and sixties? What does opportunity now mean to Milwaukee’s Black population, who are beginning to relocate back to the south.

Movie Tote (Ephraim Asili, 2006, 8 min.)

One of my first two movies, constructed entirely from clips gleaned from the digitized contents of the Prelinger Archives. MOVIE TOTE explores the history of race and class in the United States.


All That You Can't Leave Behind (Ufuoma Essi, 2019, 14 min.)

All That You Can’t Leave Behind is an experimental appropriated video archive film that explores the relationship between black women’s collective experience with music, history and the act of reclamation. The film was made for the Barbican Young Visual Artist exhibition Concrete Salon at the Barbican Centre in April 2019. 

I’ll Finish When I Can (Cat Jones, 2020, 13 min.)

The discovery of my adoption at the age of 24 has shifted everything I know, have known and will come to understand about myself in time. In archiving this moment, a collection of digital collaging, audio/video recordings, paintings, sketches, and explorative writing emerged. All in a process lending its hands toward my resilience and healing.

The film works as a living archive of my process of self-discovery with collages created in reflection on past family conversations, painting and sketches that landscape my emotional sentiments, and images that are a symbolic call & response to my childhood experiences. I use audio & video recordings to capture the range of feelings experienced while unpacking these revelations and to communicate the complexities of the world I was/am in.

King of Sanwi (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2020, 7 min.)

Re-worked footage from an unfinished film by Senegalese director Mamadou Johnny Sekka forms a re-examination of The Jackson 5’s 1974 trip to Dakar.

Halimuhfack (Chrisptopher Harris, 2016, 4 min.)


A performer lip-syncs to archival audio featuring the voice of author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston as she describes her method of documenting African American folk songs in Florida. By design, nothing in this film is authentic except the source audio. The flickering images were produced with a hand-cranked Bolex so that the lip-synch is deliberately erratic and the rear-projected, grainy, looped images of Masai tribesmen and women recycled from an educational film become increasingly abstract as the audio transforms into an incantation.


Dancing in the Absence of Pain (Terence Price II, 2018, 25 min.)

This is footage that my grandfather shot in the 70's-90's. After my grandfather's passing in March 2018, I went through most of the tapes that he shot, and I mixed a few of them together to honor him and the family that raised me, The "Pigatt" family. Although this is my family, I did not create this to show off my family, but to allow it to translate to other families as well, activate the good times and the memories shared within the walls of a community. When I showed this film during my first solo show at ArtCenter South Florida, titled "Dancing in the Absence of Pain," my grandmother knew of the footage, but other family members didn't, so being given the space and time to create something like this was deep and emotional for us all. I like to think from this, we will be tighter as a family, and others will become too. or just be able to feel something, ya know.. My grandfather Franklin Pigatt was the artist behind the work, I love you & Thank you. Rest in Peace Bubba.

BLK Docs

Started by Speller Street Films and The Luminal Theater, BLK Docs is an initiative to help build an authentic documentary film culture within the African-American community through film screenings, webinars, and more interactive film events.