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Saturday, September 19, 2020
HomePress ReleasesEmerson College Announces Fall 2020 Schedule for Virtual Bright Lights Film Series

Emerson College Announces Fall 2020 Schedule for Virtual Bright Lights Film Series

Free and Open to the Public, Film Series Explores Social Justice Themes

On Thursday, September 17,Emerson College’s Visual and Media Arts (VMA) Department kicks off its virtual Bright Lights Film Series for the Fall 2020 semester, screening twelve films through December, each focusing on aspects of social justice: racial, economic, environmental, mental health and disability, gender and sexuality, and immigration justice.

The series remains committed to crafting a diverse program including filmmakers of color, queer cinema, and films dealing with disability, and identifies those films with a special Bright Lights Series’ rating system. Ratings include W (made by women), F (feminist films), POC (produced by/featuring people of color), SJ (dealing with social justice themes), I (international), LGBTQ, D (by/featuring people with disabilities), and EC (made by a member of the Emerson community). New this year, all films and conversations will have closed captioning available for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Screenings will take place on Thursday evenings. All sessions, which will take place synchronously in a virtual Bright Family Screening Room, are free, open to the public, and feature a 45-minute post-film live discussion. The discussions are moderated and managed by the director of programming, Anna Feder, and will allow audience members to participate in crucial conversations and submit their own questions. Attendance is capped at 175. 

More information on how to access films and conversations can be viewed on the Bright Lights website.

Screenings:

The Dilemma of Desire – Thursday, September 17

Co-presented with the Boston Women’s Film Festival

Directed by Maria Finitzo, documentary, English, 108 minutes, USA, 2020

A vérité film about female sexual desire and the powerful gender politics that revolve around NOT acknowledging female desire. To make matters worse, cultural, religious, and political forces punish women for expressing their sexual desire. Discussion with director and producer Maria Finitzo and subjects Sophia Wallace and Dr. Stacey Dutton to follow. W, LGBTQ, SJ, POC

Through the Night – Thursday, September 24

Presented as part of the Boston Latino International Film Festival with the Boston Women’s and Roxbury International film festivals and SEIU Local 888

Directed by Loira Limbal, documentary, English, 90 minutes, USA, 2020

A vérité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center. Discussion with director and producer Loira Limbal to follow. W, SJ, POC

Bedlam – Thursday, October 1

Presented as part of the Roxbury International Film Festival with Boston Jewish Film, Independent Film Festival Boston, and ReelAbilities Boston

Directed by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, documentary, English, 86 minutes, USA, 2019

Through intimate stories of patients, families, and medical providers, Bedlam is a feature- length documentary that immerses us in the national crisis surrounding care of the severely mentally ill over the course of five year filming. Discussion with director and producer Kenneth Rosenberg and producer Peter Miller to follow. D, POC, SJ

The Reason I Jump – Thursday, October 8

Co-presented with ReelAbilities Boston and the Roxbury International Film Festival

Directed by Jerry Rothwell, documentary, English and Krio with English subtitles, 88 minutes, USA and UK, 2020.

Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of non-speaking autistic people from around the world. Discussion with producer and subjects to follow. I, POC, D, SJ

The Fight – Thursday, October 15

Presented as part of the Boston Women’s Film Festival with Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival, Independent Film Festival Boston, the Boston Asian American Film Festival, and the Boston Latino International Film Festival 

Directed by Josh Kreigman, Elyse Steinberg, Eli B. Despres, documentary, 96 minutes, English and Spanish with English subtitles, USA, 2020

When a mother is separated from her child, a soldier is threatened to lose his career, a young woman’s right to choose is imperiled at the pleasure of a government official, and the ability to exercise our basic right to vote is threatened, the consequences can be devastating to us and to future generations. Discussion with co-directors and producers Eli Despres and Elyse Steinberg to follow. W, LGBTQ, SJ, POC

Code of the Freaks – Thursday, October 22

Co-presented with ReelAbilities Boston, Boston Jewish Film, and the Boston Women’s Film Festival

Directed by Salome Chasnoff, documentary, English, 68 minutes, USA, 2020

Using hundreds of clips spanning over 100 years of moviemaking and a cast of artists, scholars, and activists with disabilities, it’s a scorching critique of some of Hollywood’s most beloved characters. This revelatory documentary investigates the power of movie imagery to shape the beliefs and behaviors of the general public toward people with disabilities, and of people with disabilities toward themselves. Followed by a conversation with producers Susan Nussbaum and Carrie Sandahl. W, D, SJ

Councilwoman – Thursday, October 29

Co-presented with the Boston Latino International Film Festival, the Boston Women’s Film Festival, and SEIU Local 888

Directed by Margo Guernsey, documentary, English and Spanish with English subtitles, 57 minutes, USA, 2019

Carmen Castillo is a Dominican City Councilwoman who maintains her job cleaning hotel rooms as she takes on her new role in politics. She faces skeptics who say she doesn’t have the education to govern, the power of corporate interests who take a stand against her fight for a $15/hourly wage in the City, and a tough re-election against two contenders—all of this while balancing the challenges of managing a full- time job cleaning hotel rooms and a personal relationship. Panel discussion with director and producer Margo Guernsey to follow. W, POC, SJ, EC

Cured – Thursday, November 5

Co-presented with Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival

Directed by Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer, documentary, English, 80 minutes, USA, 2020

Following the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, the battle that culminated in the APA’s decision marked the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. Cured sheds new light on this victory— which was far from inevitable— while situating the APA story within the larger context of the modern movement for LGBTQ equality. Discussion with director and producer Bennett Singer and guests to follow. LGBTQ, SJ

A Woman’s Work – Thursday, November 12

Co-presented with the Boston Women’s Film Festival, Emerson College School of Communication, and SEIU Local 888

Directed by Yu Gu, documentary, English, 80 minutes, USA, 2019

Football and feminism collide in this feature documentary that follows two former NFL cheerleaders who file class-action lawsuits against their teams and the league, alleging wage theft and illegal employment practices. Their fight is a microcosm of the battle women wage across all industries today. Discussion with director and producer Yu Gu and professors Cheryl Jackson and Lauren Anderson to follow. W, SJ, POC

Dope Is Death – Thursday, November 19

Co-presented with the Boston Women’s Film Festival, the Roxbury International Film Festival, the Boston Latino International Film Festival, and the Boston Underground Film Festival

Directed by Mia Donovan, documentary, English, 78 minutes, Canada, 2020

Dope Is Death utilizes an abundant archive while giving us insight into how the acupuncture clinic rose to prominence and, despite funding challenges, still functions to this day. Some of those who benefited from the program became acupuncturists themselves. Dr. Mutulu’s legacy is cemented within this profound story of community healing and activism. Discussion with director Mia Donovan to follow. W, POC, SJ

The Condor & the Eagle – Thursday, December 3

Co-presented with the Boston Women’s, Boston Latino International, and Roxbury International film festivals

Directed by Clément Guerra, Sophie Guerra, documentary, English and Spanish with English subtitles, 90 minutes, Canada, Ecuador, France, Peru, USA, 2019

In the midst of the burning of the Amazon, the mega-fires in Australia, and the global climate strikes, this award-winning documentary documents the ongoing collective climate awakening and the imperative of urgent change. As world climate scientists predict unprecedented global catastrophe, The Condor & the Eagle features Indigenous women leaders deploying unparalleled global response. Discussion with climate activists to follow. W, POC, SJ, I

Queering the Script – Thursday, December 10

Co-presented with the Boston Women’s Film Festival, Boston Jewish Film, the Boston Underground Film Festival, and Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival

Directed by Gabrielle Zilkha, documentary, English, 85 minutes, USA, 2019

In 2016, a record number of queer women died on fictional shows, which broke the hearts of queer fans and launched a successful fight for better, more diverse LGBTQ2S+ representation. Stars such as Ilene Chaiken, Stephanie Beatriz, Lucy Lawless, and Angelica Ross join with the voices of numerous kickass fangirls in this fast-paced history of queer women’s representation on contemporary television. Discussion with director Gabrielle Zilkha and subjects Dana Piccoli and Flourish Klink to follow. W, LGBTQ, POC, SJ

About Emerson College

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic as well as its new Global Portals, with the first opening last fall in Paris. The College has an active network of 51,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit Emerson.edu.

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