Do We Need Black History Month?

36 years after Black History Week expanded to a month, Shukree Hassan Tilghman asks the provocative question, “Do we need Black History Month?”  In his film, More Than a Month, Tilghman examines how Black History Month has evolved and brings into question how we teach history in this country.  What is the role of Black history in the greater scope of American history?  By designating a month, do we time-bound and limit the attention we give to Black history in America?  Who does Black history belong to?  This film offers a great opportunity to see how these interesting issues are being addressed within the African American community, and in the nation as a whole.

More Than a Month will screen at the DCJCC on February 26 as part of our Community Cinema Café series in partnership with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and PBS’s Independent Lens.

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From one film festival to the next!

The Washington Jewish Film Festival was really special this year! Our wonderful audiences, filmmakers, sponsors…everyone came together to enjoy 11 days of some of the best independent film from all over the world. Check our website wjff.org for photos and information about our audience award winners.

But we’re not satisfied resting on our past success (or getting too much sleep).  Nope, not when we can be part of presenting another film festival just six weeks after the WJFF ended.  So that’s what is happening on February 1 when we open the first ever DC-MD-VA ReelAbilities Disabilities Film Festival. Our regional festival is one of the first that is part of the roll out of the national ReelAbilities festival, happening for the fourth year in New York later in February.

Our opening night film, Warrior Champions, profiles four Iraq War veterans who returned home with life-changing injuries that they strive to turn into Olympic dreams.  These people are inspiring and will make you want to get up off the couch or leave your computer and go make the most of the body you have!  The evening at the beautiful Avalon Theater starts at 6:30 with hors d’oeuvres followed at 7:30 by the film and a keynote speech by the very accomplished advocate for the disabled, Richard Bernstein, himself blind since birth and a marathon runner!  Here is a trailer from the film.

The festival runs until February 9, and I’m delighted to say it’s a joint effort on the part of our DCJCC along with the JCCs of Greater Washington and Northern Virginia.  Together, we are bringing ReelAbilities excellent films, programs and discussions to your neighborhood, so check our schedule, film trailers and get tickets atgreaterdc.reelabilities.org.

Some people have asked me what’s “Jewish” about the ReelAbilities festival.  It’s true that only one film, Praying with Lior, has what we would call “Jewish content,” but for me, this festival really brings home both Jewish values and some of the best reasons why JCCs are valuable institutions.  ReelAbilities is  about inclusion for everyone in our regional community and promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.  It’s about providing opportunities for various communities to come together as one to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

And, in the end, the truth is that these are really good films, too.  So come to be entertained and to learn, communicate, share and feel good…just come and check out our first ReelAbilities Disabilities Film Festival.  See you at the movies!

Film trailer: The People v Leo Frank

Ben Loeterman’s riveting documentary about
one of the most vexing criminal cases in history

The New York Times calls the film, “mesmerizingly recreated and explored” in a way that “even those already familiar with this piece of history are likely to find unsettling.”  Set against the backdrop of an American South struggling to shed its legacy of bigotry and xenophobia, the film is both a first-rate murder mystery and an insightful look at racial, religious, regional and class prejudices in the early years of the 20th century. Starring Will Janowitz (The Sopranos) and Seth Gilliam (The Wire).

October 18 at 7:30 at the Washington DCJCC.  More information here.

Film Trailer: Maya

Don’t miss this exciting DC premiere tomorrow, followed by a party on the steps!

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