Utah Film Center celebrates Black History month with month-long films and discussions

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – February is Black History Month. A month dedicated to remembering the accomplishments, stories, and the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.

The Utah Film Center is inviting the community to join a month-long celebration of Black voices during Black History Month. 

The Utah Film Center says they will be presenting films and discussions all month long that not only highlight the historical and present-day struggles but also celebrate the artistry, fortitude, and historical significance of Black Americans. 

Below is a list of stories and short films the public can dive into to learn more about black history. The public will also be able to participate in a post-film discussion, according to the film center.

Lil’ Buck: Real Swan by Louis WallecanFEBRUARY 2nd @ 7 PM MST “On the streets, parking lots, and slippery floors of the Crystal Palace Roller Rink in Memphis, Tennessee, Charles “Lil Buck” Riley learned the smooth art of Memphis Jookin, igniting a lifelong passion for dance. From the time he was 12 years old, Lil Buck worked to perfect the intricate footwork of Jookin, a fluid street dance style that evolved from the Gangsta Walk, as well as the eye-popping isolated jolts of bucking. Quickly, he became one of the most admired street dancers of his generation. Lil Buck won a scholarship to study ballet and took his dancing to a whole new level, merging street-style Jookin with classical technique. After a breathtaking video was taken of him dancing to Camille Saint-Saëns’ “The Swan” accompanied by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma went viral, Lil Buck’s career exploded.”

Resilience: The Biology of Stress and Science of Hope by James Redford FEBRUARY 4th @ 7 PM MST “Resilience reveals how toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children. Trailblazers in pediatrics, education, and social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from the insidious effects of toxic stress and the dark legacy of a childhood that no child would choose.”

Driving While Black by Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns FEBRUARY 9th @ 7 pm MST “Chronicling the riveting history and personal experiences – at once liberating and challenging, harrowing and inspiring, deeply revealing and profoundly transforming – of African Americans on the road from the advent of the automobile through the seismic changes of the 1960s and beyond – DRIVING WHILE BLACK explores the deep background of a recent phrase rooted in realities that have been an indelible part of the African American experience for hundreds of years – told in large part through the stories of the men, women, and children who lived through it.”

Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed by Shola Lynch FEBRUARY 16 @ 7 pm MST “This compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land.”

Spirits of Rebellion: Black Independent Cinema From Los Angeles by Zeinabu DavisFEBRUARY 23rd @ 7 PM MST “Examine the lives and work of a small critically acclaimed group of black filmmakers and media artists known as the Los Angeles Rebellion, a group brought together through shared experiences as students in the UCLA film production MFA program between 1967 and 1992. Although relatively unknown, the Los Angeles Rebellion was the first collective of minority filmmakers in the US that aimed to reimagine the production process to represent, reflect on, and enrich the day to day lives of people in their own communities. It is now recognized as an important part of the Black Arts Movement on the West Coast.”

Black Bold and Brilliant: Blerd EditionFEBRUARY 24 @ 6 pm MST “Black, Bold, & Brilliant presents the next episode in our series of conversations about Black-centric films and media: Blerds. The term for Black nerds, “Blerds”, was first introduced into the mainstream in 2006 via a reference from the television show, “Scrubs”. Since then, cultural recognition for Blerds has grown exponentially. This cultural explosion, often seen as the sole purview of white America in the media, has unleashed the power, imagination, and beauty of Blerds, which we’re celebrating!” 

Live discussions will be streamed on February 17 at 7p.m. MST and will be streamed all month.

Free tickets can be pre-ordered at utahfilmcenter.org/black-history-month.

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