17th annual Anti-Racism Film Festival in Greenfield to discuss current issues

Staff Writer
Published: 5/3/2019 5:47:22 PM
Modified: 5/3/2019 5:47:09 PM

GREENFIELD — While Mohawk Trail Regional School wrestles over whether to change its mascot and as the debate over whether to scrap the state seal continue to remain conversation points in communities, Molly Chambers sees this year’s Anti-Racism Film Festival as an opportunity to have rich discussion over the issues. 

“It’s to address racism and divisions among people in our community based on religion, ethnicity and class,” Chambers, a co-organizer of the festival, said. “We’re trying to bring people together to share these films.” 

The 17th annual Anti-Racism Film Festival is Saturday, May 3, at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Greenfield on Main Street. The first of three films will screen at 1:30 p.m. Following films will air at 3:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with a supper planned at 6:30 p.m. Group discussions will follow each film.

The event is free to the public and people are encouraged to pay a sliding donation of $4 to $10 for the dinner, which will be cooked by the Stone Soup Cafe. No one will be turned away. 

“I think it’s kind of become a tradition in our community that many people attend this in the springtime and want to have more of an understanding about racism in our society,” Chambers said. 

The first film, “Dawnland,” is about children who have been torn from their families and deprived of their culture. The 86-minute movie by Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip from 2018 tells the story of the country’s first Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated the fallout of Maine’s child welfare practices on the Wabanaki people. 

A discussion will follow with Strong Oak, who has spoken out about issues to native peoples in the community at different forums. 

The second film, “Do You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?” is about the 1946 murder of an African American man by his white supremacist grandfather. Directed by Travis Wilkerson in 2017, the 90-minute film will be followed by a discussion facilitated by Carl McCargo.

The third film, “The Hate U Give,” is a two-hour tale directed by George Tillman Jr. in 2018, and based on a novel by Angie Thomas. The movie is about a black community that deals with the shooting of a black youth by a white police officer during a contrived traffic stop. A discussion will be led by Momadou Sarr. 

“We address broader issues and certainly when people are asking questions, broader questions get brought into the film,” Chambers said. “The films are just the starting point to address racism and the other isms in our society as well as people’s individual experiences.”

She hopes to see the public schools in the area continue to address issues of racism in curriculum. 

“These are troubling times of conflict and division and we’re trying to bring people together and confront the things that separate us,” Chambers said. “It’s done in a respectful way. You’re going to hear people expressing different opinions. Nobody has said they are right or wrong.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264


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