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America and the Race Film

Tue, Oct 15, 2019
  • 7PM
RUN TIME: 90min
MEMBERS: $8 (free for Level 4 and above)
+  Intro by Ina Archer (Media Conservation & Digitization Assistant, Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture)
October 2019
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Tuesday October 15, 2019
Performances no longer available.

Intro by Ina Archer (Media Conservation & Digitization Assistant, Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture)


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.

Hellbound Train

Dir. James and Eloyse Gist
1930, 50min, DCP


This outré silent curio warns against the evils of drinking, gambling, and dancing via a parable about Jazz Age sinners on a one-way trip to eternal damnation. Husband and wife Eloyce and James Gist were evangelists and DIY filmmakers who toured the country exhibiting their morality tales at Black churches.


Dir. Murray Roth
1930, 10min


Produced by Warner Bros., this strikingly stylized surrealist fantasia follows a young Black man from the country as he learns about the perils of life in the big city—envisioned as a topsy-turvy funhouse of jazz and vice.

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.

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