In honor of his 75th birthday, Metrograph pays tribute to St. Clair Bourne, Harlem-born and Brooklyn-bred filmmaker, writer, activist, teacher, and organizer. Screenings include selections from a career dedicated to portraying what was ignored by mainstream media representation, along with work from a number of the many filmmakers Bourne mentored—including Thomas Allen Harris’ Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela—and many other projects that came to fruition due to Bourne’s engagement, ingenuity, and passion.
Bourne produced an essential chronicle of African-American life, from his early days as a producer, director, and cameraman for the pioneering series Black Journal (alongside colleagues Lou Potter, William Greaves, Kent Garrett, and Madeline Anderson), to the founding of the Black Documentary Collective (BDC)and the journal Chamba Notes. He passed away in 2007, a towering figure in the documentary film world. Metrograph’s series on St. Clair Bourne opens on Friday, February 16 and runs until Monday, February 19.
Thomas Allen Harris / 2005 / 75 mins / Digital
Monday, February 19 7:00 pm
Producer/writer Don Perry will be in attendance Monday night for a special introduction followed by a post screening discussion and explains the tie of themes between the film and the new public television series Family Pictures USA hosted by Thomas Allen Harris.
“I had the idea to invite young people, neighbors of these anti-apartheid heroes, to engage with Lee’s album and re-enact the stories that led to their exile. It was the return of his family album to Bloemfontein that became a transformative experience for everyone – the young people took personal journeys performing the histories of their city, their neighbors and their country and the Disciples were re-united with their own personal story seeing themselves now in a larger public story of the country and the liberation struggle. This synthesis of archive and remembrance, of myth and origin, changed the national family album of South Africa.”
“I thought, how could I take this experience and use it to create an American family album? How do I help get the images of lost, suppressed and hidden stories? How do we get images from the boxes in their attics or under beds or hard drives or on their phones to build a collective album to help us to understand who WE are as Americans?”– Thomas Allen Harris
Watch an excerpt of the film below!
A lesser-known story from the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa about the generation of young men who left their country to clandestinely build the African National Congress (ANC) and spread its liberation message. One of many great films by Harris on which St. Clair Bourne advised and assisted, who shares the common refrain from filmmakers of “the extent of appreciation for [Saint’s] honesty, activism, support and nurturance of their work and careers.