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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Stories in black and white

    It may be your first time watching a film shown with a film projector.

    Today through Saturday, the UA Hanson Film Institute and the School of Media Arts will host a symposium, “”In Our Own Voice: African American Film Makers Oscar Micheaux, Spike Lee and Noland Walker.””

    This free, four-day event features screenings and discussions with guest film scholars as well as an anniversary-celebration screening of Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed movie “”Do The Right Thing.”” A 35-mm copy of the film will be shown in the Gallagher Theatre at the Student Union Memorial Center.

    Vicky Westover, symposium organizer and director of the Hanson Film Institute, said that this event is the first of its kind on campus. “”But, every year, we try to do something that focuses on African-American film.””

    The symposium came about after a brainstorming session between Westover and her colleague, Pearl Bowser, a Hanson Film Institute program advisory board member and expert on the works of Oscar Micheaux, the first Black feature filmmaker in the United States.

    “”Not many people know about Oscar Micheaux. He not only was the father of Black filmmaking, but also the father of independent filmmaking. Film historians need to know about him,”” Westover said.

    Amidst the rampant racism of the times, Micheaux created more than 40 films, his first nearly a century ago in 1919. His classic works will be shown at this symposium.

    The symposium is a fantastic tie-in to Black History Month, but its greater significance is two-fold. Not only will the guest scholars guide attendees through the works of the Black filmmakers Micheaux, Lee and Walker, they will also provide a glimpse into Black history and the portrayals of life at that time.

    Bowser will screen and discuss “”Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies”” today. Bowser and Dr. John Howard, who had just completed a book about Micheaux, will discuss Micheaux’s silent film, “”Body and Soul”” on Thursday. According to Westover, a reel of this movie will be accompanied by live music, just the way it was done in the silent film era.

    Dr. John Howard will be at the screening Friday to present and sign copies of his book, “”Faces in the Mirror: Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee.”” Immediately afterwards, Lee’s “”Do the Right Thing,”” will be screened. The movie was groundbreaking at the time for its confrontation of race relations and was even nominated for an Academy Award in 1989.

    To cap off the symposium, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Noland Walker will be on hand Saturday to discuss and show clips of his films including “”Citizen King,”” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and documented the last five years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.

    The symposium brings together discussion, history and education on Black filmmaking, which is sure to be a scholarly treat.


    This Week’s Events

    Day One: Feb. 3, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

    “”Representation of Race in the Media”” Showing of Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies with guest film maker and scholar Pearl Bowser

    Marshall Building, 845 N. Park Ave., Room 212   

    Day Two: Feb. 4, 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

    Screening and discussion of Body and Soul by Oscar Micheaux. Discussion led by Pearl Bowser and film scholar Dr. John Howard


    Holsclaw Hall, 1017 N. Olive Rd., Room 100A   

    Day Three: Feb. 5, 4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

    Presentation and book signing of Faces in the Mirror: Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee with Pearl Bowser and Dr. John Howard

    —Following presentation is a free screening of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

    Gallagher Theatre (Student Union Memorial Center)   

    Day Four: Feb. 6, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

    Filmmaker Noland Walker discusses and show clips of his work: Citizen King, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, and Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.

    Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building, Room 202, 1130 N. Mountain Ave.



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