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America + Lime Kiln Club Field Day

Fri, Oct 11, 2019
  • 7:30PM
RUN TIME: 95min
MEMBERS: $8 (free for Level 4 and above)
+  Post-screening discussion with scholar and MacArthur Fellow Saidiya Hartman and Garrett Bradley
October 2019
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Friday October 11, 2019
Performances no longer available.

Post-screening discussion with scholar and MacArthur Fellow Saidiya Hartman and Garrett Bradley


Dir. Garrett Bradley
With Donna Crump, Edward Spots
2019, 30min, DCP


Taking as its starting point the recently rediscovered Bert Williams feature Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913)—the first known film to feature an all-Black cast—Garrett Bradley’s extraordinary new short imagines an entire lost lineage of African-American cinema, where images of Black joy, strength, and beauty live on forever in a free-floating celluloid dream space. Shot in gorgeously poetic black and white and set to an intricately layered audio collage, America is an ecstatic sensory experience that rewrites our visual history in the name of Black empowerment.

An Aubin Pictures production. Produced by Lauren Domino and Catherine Gund.

Lime Kiln Club Field Day

Dirs. T. Hayes Hunter & Edwin Middleton
1913/2014, 65min, 35mm


Considered to be the oldest surviving film with an all-Black cast, this lost-and-found 1913 unfinished romantic comedy stars legendary Bahamian-American vaudeville performer Bert Williams as a dandy competing with two rivals for the love of a woman (played by Harlem entrepreneur and actress Odessa Warren Grey). Williams—wearing blackface in a concession to entertainment standards of the day—proves to be a leading man of striking depth, blending impressive slapstick gifts with emotional range.

Live musical accompaniment by Jimmy Cobb and Darrian Douglas.

Garrett Bradley
Garrett Bradley

Garrett Bradley’s multimedia work draws together broad themes of oppression and conflict with a particular emphasis on place and location. Across a body of moving-image productions that blend elements of documentary and fiction, cinema and video art, Bradley’s camera situates wider themes in the minute textures of the everyday, exploring her subjects’ struggles and dreams and rooting the sociopolitical in personal and physical experience. Bradley consistently locates her subjects in particular places—frequently her home city of New Orleans—that become sites of a confrontation between personal narratives and larger historical and political ones.

Saidiya Hartman
Saidiya Hartman

Saidiya Hartman is a MacArthur Fellow and scholar of African-American literature and cultural history. In her work she explores the afterlife of slavery in modern American society, bearing witness to lives, traumas, and fleeting moments of beauty that historical archives have omitted or obscured. She weaves findings from her research into narratives that retrieve from oblivion stories of nameless and sparsely documented historical actors, such as female captives on slave ships and the inhabitants of slums at the turn of the 20th century.

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