Artist Fellow Kevin Epps presents works by local filmmakers that explore cultural challenges and the heroes that emerge.
The Black Rock: Friday, August 12, 7 pm
Black August: Saturday, August 13, 1 pm
Confessions of a Burning Man: Saturday, August 20, 1 pm
Reading Minds: Friday, August 26, 7:15 pm (time tentative)
Flags, Feathers, and Lies: Sunday, August 28, 1 pm
Connecting the Dots: Friday, September 9
You Don't Know Jack: Saturday, September 10, 1 pm
All events are free and take place in either the Koret Auditorium or the Kimball Artist Studio at the de Young.
The Black Rock
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
The Black Rock (2009, 50 min.) is a documentary feature about the African-American experience at Alcatraz from the 1930s to the 1960s, examining the lives of the black prisoners who played an important role in its history. Q&A with the Producer-Director Kevin Epps and Historian John Templeton immediately follows the film.
Then, next door, the African American Arts and Culture Complex hosts an Artist Salon.
Community activist and award-winning filmmaker Kevin Epps developed his skills through public access shows and classes at the Film Arts Foundation into a film career with the acclaimed documentaries Straight Outta Hunters Point and The Black Rock. Epps has collaborated on projects with Google, Yahoo, Discovery Channel, Current TV, and a host of other media partners. His passion for advocacy of underserved communities has led him to give back by working with various community art spaces as well as serving on the boards of two local nonprofit organizations. Epps currently has several projects in the works and looks forward to shooting his first feature film this summer.
Black August and Q&A with Director Samm Styles
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
Black August (2007, 116 min.) is a searing account of the life and death of George L. Jackson, prison activist and author of the incendiary New York Times bestseller Soledad Brother. Gary Dourdan (of the CBS hit series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) is electrifying as Jackson, an icon of the revolutionary 1960s prisoners’ rights movement and philosophical inspiration for the most militant civil rights movement in American history. As the world outside Jackson’s prison walls roiled with long-suppressed resentment, he expressed his fury at the dehumanizing conditions in which he lived and outlined the world-shattering political philosophy that drove the Black Guerilla Family.
“Black August is a fascinating film that both educates and entertains,” said Jeffrey Baker, Warner Home Video senior vice president and general manager, theatrical catalog. “We hope it inspires viewers to reflect on a critical moment in black history.”
Confessions of a Burning Man with Director Paul Barnett
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20
The experience shared by four first-timers demonstrates how Burning Man dissolves the barriers between races, nationalities, and economic classes and includes Kevin Epps in the cast.
Flags, Feathers and Lies
SUNDAY, August 28
Behind the luxury and extravaganza of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations, on its desolate back streets in the lower 9th ward, devastated by Katrina, one of the oldest and, to most Americans, unknown traditions of African-American culture survives: The Mardi Gras Indian.
Featuring tribal chief, acclaimed saxophonist, and creative force behind HBO series Treme, Donald Harrison Jr., as well as tribal chief and community leader, Darryl Montana, Flags, Feathers, and Lies is a provocative, passionate look at how the African-American community of New Orleans is preserving its unique heritage in the historic neighborhood of the lower 9th ward. Produced by civil rights activist Julie Belafonte, Flags, Feathers, and Lies explores the other side of New Orleans Mardi Gras – the untold story of the African-American Mardi Gras Indians and their community fighting for their lives in the wake of Katrina and political indifference.
Co-presented with the San Francisco Black Film Festival and featuring a Q&A with SFBFF special guests. (2010, 120 min)
FRIDAY, August 26
This powerful short film shares the inspiring work of Project Read—the adult literacy program of the San Francisco Public Library. It portrays the challenges and triumphs of Leon Veal and Maurice Roberson, two adult learners who have improved their basic literacy skills and continue to achieve important life goals. (2008, 5 min.)
Connecting the Dots
FRIDAY, September 9 (tentative)
This short film was collaboration with YMCA youths who interviewed elders in the communities of Bayview–Hunters Point, Fillmore/Western Edition, and Ingleside/Lakeview. (2011, 13 min.)
You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story
SATURDAY, September 10
You Don’t Know Jack tells the fascinating story of a pioneering American entertainer Jack Soo, an Oakland native who became the first Asian American to be cast in the lead role in a regular television series (Valentine’s Day, 1963), and later starred in the popular comedy show Barney Miller (1975–1978).
Featuring rare footage and interviews with Soo’s co-stars and friends, including actors George Takei, Nancy Kwan, and Max Gail, comedians Steve Landesberg and Gary Austin, and producer Hal Kanter, the film traces the actor's early beginnings as a nightclub singer and comedian, to his breakthrough role as Sammy Fong in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway play and film version of The Flower Drum Song. The film also explores why Soo, a former internee who was actually born Goro Suzuki, was forced to change his name in the post–World War II era, in order to perform in clubs in the Midwest. Because of his experiences, throughout his career in films and television, Soo refused to play roles that were demeaning to Asian Americans and often spoke out against negative ethnic portrayals.
Directed by Jeff Adachi, whose award-winning film The Slanted Screen premiered at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in 2006, You Don’t Know Jack reveals how Jack Soo’s work laid the groundwork for a new generation of Asian American actors and comedians.