The Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA) is diversifying the focus of their annual DOC FORTNIGHT festival, this year and highlighting Black filmmakers and musicians.
DOC FORTNIGHT is a space that centers on showcasing fresh voices and stories, documentary-style. The festival also features premieres and Sundance favorites.
In the 2017 line-up and falling in line with Black History Month, are three cinematic docs that discuss politics and activism through the art of music and education: The Book of Clarence, The Revolution Won’t be Televised, and Tell Them We are Rising.
Learn more about the films below.
The Book of Clarence
2017. USA. Directed by Lee Breuer. 99 min.
A founding member of The Blind Boys of Alabama, one of the world’s most successful gospel groups, Clarence Fountain has lived a remarkable life, full of music and passion. Now in his eighties, slowed by age and diabetes, Clarence retains his brash charm, and wistfully recalls his decades of glory, from beginnings in the choir of a school for the blind, to the group’s sudden rise to stardom as “Oedipus” in the experimental musical The Gospel at Colonus. Here, that show’s iconic creator, Lee Breuer, brings his artistry to bear on Clarence’s story, with inventive editing, extensive interviews, archival footage—and a great deal of soul.
Post-screening discussion with Breuer and producer Eric Marciano
Saturday, February 18, 7:00 p.m. T1
Sunday, February 26, 2:00 p.m. T1
The Revolution Won’t Be Televised
New York premiere
2016. Senegal. Directed by Rama Thiaw. 110 min.
In 2012, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade began a highly controversial run for a third term, in violation of the nation’s constitution. Among the forces that rose up in protest was a peaceful political movement, an alliance of hip-hop artists and journalists. Rama Thiaw shadows rappers Thiat and Kilifeu and their manager Gadiaga as they crisscross Dakar to rock the youth vote. In Wolof, French; English subtitles
Preceded by #Bars4Justice
2015. USA. Directed by Queen Muhammad Ali, Hakeem Khaaliq. 9 min.
While performing a benefit gig in St. Louis, Missouri, on the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown, hip-hop activist Jasiri X has his own encounter with the Ferguson police force.
Post-screening discussion with Thiaw, Ali, and Khaaliq
Friday, February 17, 7:30 p.m. T2
Saturday, February 18, 3:00 p.m. T2
Tell Them We Are Rising
New York premiere
2017. USA. Directed by Stanley Nelson. 80 min.
Following the huge success of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, which opened Doc Fortnight 2015, Stanley Nelson turns his eye to another branch of African American history: education. Expressly denied prior to the Civil War in order to keep blacks subordinate, higher learning flourished at the more than 100 black colleges and universities founded in the century that followed. Nelson shows how these institutions cultivated generations of leaders in innumerable areas, including the Civil Rights movement, while redefining what it means to be black in America.
Post-screening discussion with Nelson
Friday, February 24, 7:00 p.m. T1
Saturday, February 25, 2:00 p.m. T1
The DOC Fortnight festival runs Feb. 16-26. Visit, moma.org for more information.
*Featured image: Tell Them We Are Rising. 2017. USA. Directed by Stanley Nelson. Moma.org/ Courtesy of Firelight Media