Day 5: Black Perspectives Showcases New Insight, It Came From the Big Muddy Returns in Support of The Varsity Center, Andrea Luka Zimmerman Speaks on Erase and Forget

Black Perspectives is a showcase in which we illustrate the importance of the recognization of the African American experience. We live in a political and often, a social climate that ignores the struggle and overall experience that people of color typically face and we set out to change that with the implementation of this showcase. The film screening will take place at the African American Museum of Southern Illinois from 4-6 pm.

Dan Parris’ Show Me Democracy documents the efforts of The Scholarship Foundation’s Education Policy Internship Program, which empowers students to research education policy issues that affect them and their peers and to coordinate efforts to influence public policy around increasing post-secondary educational access for low-income students. The documentary follows the interns’ initial frustrations with police brutality and failing school systems; their first meetings as a team; one student’s experience of being tear-gassed on the streets of Ferguson; and the group’s visits with Missouri representatives. At the state capitol, they advocate for educational reforms that would improve educational access for students of color, those with limited financial resources, and immigrant students in Missouri. The film examines the students’ personal lives and diverse backgrounds, follows them as they cope with the events in Ferguson, and will ultimately reveal whether a group of committed young people can make a difference in complex and imperfect systems.

For Parris, the story quickly evolved to be about a lot more than Ferguson as an event or a place or a movement, but about how inequity shows itself most in education systems. His vision was to connect what was happening in Ferguson with police-community relations with the history of systematic injustice in St. Louis specifically in terms of education.

Imagine the lifetime of a gun and all the hands it passes through. It’s Just A Gun is just one chapter in that story.

When a young boy named Gabe finds a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, it will set in motion a series of events that will change him forever.

Brian Robaus states that “the idea for It’s Just a Gun transpired during a conversation with Daniel Klein, the writer of the film, about how many hands a gun might pass through in its lifetime. Given the nature of the world we live in, the conversation of guns and gun control is an important one. This film’s intent was not to provide an answer to this problem, but to further conversations that can lead to change.”

“At the heart of this film is a story about a kid who faces the difficult issues that plague our society today, such as bullying, domestic abuse, police brutality, and gun violence. We hope that this film will lend a voice to these issues.”

Also happening is The Remeber the Past Documentary Showcase. It features two innovative and engaging documentaries that touch upon the lives of past veterans and ways in which the war affected them and how they adjusted in coming home. They’re issues that are highly significant, but little-known and this showcase aids in starting the conversation surrounding these topics. The showcase will occur from 7-9 pm in the Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library.

Some Things I Can’t is an experimental animated documentary based on an anonymous interview with a US Army veteran who served in Afghanistan. The interview deals with the traumatic experiences of war and the difficulties of returning to civilian life—both through what is recounted and in the gaps of what can never be said.

Erase and Forget is a new documentary which explores ‘the deep bonds between Hollywood’s fictionalized conflicts and America’s hidden wars’. It charts the extraordinary life and times of Bo Gritz, one of America’s highest decorated veterans and the ‘inspiration’ for Rambo and Brando’s Colonel Kurtz. ERASE AND FORGET is an inquiry into the nature of human conscience and the limits of deniability, and embodies contemporary American society in all its dizzying complexity and contradictions.

Filmed over ten years, Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s portrait is an artist’s perspective of an individual and a country in crisis. She explores the implications on a personal and collective level of identities founded on a profound, even endemic violence. She examines the propagation of that violence through Hollywood and the mass media, the arms trade and ongoing governmental policy. She will be answering audience questions and speaking on the film during the showcase.

Moving far beyond political reportage or investigation, necessary as they are, lies a compelling inquiry into the nature of human conscience and the limits of deniability (whether to oneself or others). When redemption is no longer an option, the psyche needs to find other ways to live with itself. Erase and Forget asks what those ways might be. It looks into the heart of darkness; it looks for slivers of light.

The Late Night Transmission Experimental Showcase is an experimental film lover’s paradise. The world of experimental film has a history just as vast and engaging as narrative, but often, we don’t have access to such work unless we actively search for it. With this showcase, we intend to highlight not only the importance of providing work like this for all to see, but to have a variety of films that allow people to engage themselves in new ways. The showcase will take place at WDBX from 7-9pm and seating is limited, so be sure to get there early! 

The films that will be screening are: Empty Nightclub, Bending the Line, Farewell Transmission, House, Nonoko / Kaos No Ma, Circles of Confusion, Corridory, A Great Green Desert (of surpluses and embargoes), and Camera Threat. 

And lastly, our biggest and more terrifying festival showcase returns! It Came From the Big Muddy is a showcase of terrifying and thought-provoking sci-fi and horror shorts intended to shock all your senses. It will be taking place at The Varsity Center from 8-10pm and donations are highly encouraged. All of the donations taken at this venue go towards the funding and support of The Varsity Center, who we thank tremendously for letting us use their space. The films screening are: The Cure, Next Time You’ll Know Better, The Past Inside the Present, BAUMU, Real Artists, Nothing a Little Soap and Water Can’t Fix and WHITE. 

For more information on the films and general screening information, please see our festival schedule here.