2nd Annual Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest Set for April 25-26

Jason Gourdine

The second installment of the annual Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest will take place on April 25 and 26, 2018. Anticipation is high this year after the event debuted to wide acclaim in 2017, with the Charleston premiere of Stanley Nelson’s Tell Them We Are Rising in addition to an appearance by Danny Glover, who visited Burke High School to screen a feature based on the voting rights movement in Mississippi, Freedom Song.

The 2018 Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest will begin on Wednesday, April 25 with the presentation of the Septima Clark Emerging Filmmaker Award, presented to Jason Gourdine, co-founder of the Black Collective. Gourdine will then show his film Vesey, about the Denmark Vesey’s plotted slave uprising in the Lowcountry in 1822.

That will be followed by the Charleston premiere of ‘63 Boycott, a dynamic documentary about the forgotten story of youth protests in Chicago in 1963 that connects that resonates profoundly with current issues around race, protest, and youth activism. Rachel Dickson, one of the films producers, will be in attendance.

“One of the things we’re trying to accomplish with this festival is to show how the crusade for civil rights and equality is not something trapped in the past, but very much an ongoing and continuous presence in American life,” said Festival co-director Benjamin Hedin, who recently received a Grammy nomination for his work in film. “The opening night’s films vividly demonstrate this and also complement each other in unusual and dynamic ways.”

Vesey and ‘63 Boycott will screen at the Alumni Center at the College of Charleston. The address is 86 Wentworth. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and there is no charge for admission.

On Thursday Hedin will emcee a shorts program that includes Muhiyidin, another film by Gourdine, which is about the life and death of local activist Muhiyidin d’Baja; Teach, by Catherine Murphy on the Freedom Schools; and Standing at the Scratch Line: An Elegy for the Great Migration. Daron Calhoun, one of the producers of Standing at the Scratch Line, Gourdine, and Murphy will join Hedin for a panel discussion on the challenges of making a film about civil rights. Students and aspiring filmmakers are encouraged to attend. The shorts program will be held at the Alumni Center at the College of Charleston at 86 Wentworth.

Also on Thursday will be a matinee presentation at the American Theater on 446 King Street of You Got to Move, a documentary by Lucy Phoenix that looks at the long history of protest in the Lowcountry and the connection of local activists with the Highlander Folk School.

At 7:00 the Fest will close with the Charleston premiere of Human Flow, a captivating, award-winning documentary that viscerally exposes the human cost of immigration and the contemporary immigration and refugee crisis. College of Charleston professor Mari Crabtree will lead a panel discussion afterward, with local experts on ICE, immigration, and those with firsthand knowledge of the effects of immigration policy on the Lowcountry,

“Charleston has historically been an important site of the Civil Rights Movement, yet this history and the potential for honoring it through activism is often ignored,” said College of Charleston professor and founding director of the Film Fest Jon Hale. “The Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest showcases how film has and can be used to inspire social change.”

The Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest is free and open to the public. Visit www.CharlestonCivilRightsFilmFest.com for more information.

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