The second annual Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest begins Wed. April 25 and runs through April 26 with four film screenings, awards presentations, a shorts program, and panel discussions. Founded last year, the fest was created by locals Jon Hale, a professor of education and history at College of Charleston, and Benjamin Hedin, an accomplished scholar of the civil rights movement.


“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 Hedin in a press release. “The opening night’s films vividly demonstrate this and also complement each other in unusual and dynamic ways.”

[content-3] The opening night films start at 7 p.m. with Vesey, a film by Black Collective co-founder Jason Gourdine, about Denmark Vesey’s 1822 plotted slave uprising. Vesey is followed by the Charleston premiere of ’63 Boycott, described as a “dynamic documentary about the forgotten story of youth protests in Chicago in 1963 that resonates profoundly with current issues around race, protest, and youth activism.” One of the film’s producers, Rachel Dickson, will be in attendance.
[content-1] Thursday’s shorts program kicks off at 1 p.m., emceed by Hedin. The shorts include Muhiyidin, another film by Gourdine about the life and death of Black Lives Matter activist Muhiyidin d’Baha; Catherine Murphy’s Teach, about the Freedom Schools, which were originally formed in the ’60s to instill in African-American students the power of learning and civic activism; and Julie Dash’s Standing at the Scratch Line: An Elegy for the Great Migration. One of the Scratch Line’s producers, Daron Calhoun, will join Gourdine, Murphy, and Hedin for a panel discussion of making a film about civil rights.

The fest’s grand finale will be the Charleston premiere of Human Flow, an-award winning documentary that “viscerally exposes the human cost of immigration” and the contemporary immigration and refugee crisis. College of Charleston prof. Mari Crabtree will lead a panel discussion after the film with local experts on ICE, immigration, and those with firsthand experience of immigration policy in the Lowcountry. 

Check out the film fest’s full schedule here.

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