The Rehoboth Beach Film Society, in partnership with The Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, has announced the second annual Rehoboth Beach African-American Film Festival.
The mission of this event is to deepen awareness of African-American cultures and experiences, and to explore community differences and commonalities through the art of film.
Four films will be presented over President’s Day weekend, Friday, Feb. 15, to Sunday, Feb. 17.
“Black Is The Color” corrects the record on the place of artists of color within the history of American art. “Father’s Kingdom” examines the complicated legacy of a civil rights leader far ahead of his time. “Service To Man” chronicles a fraught and unlikely friendship at a historically black medical school in the South in the 1960s. Finally, “Everything But A Man” follows the life of a strong independent woman in search of love. This year’s selection of films aims to bring representation, hope, understanding and a little bit of romance to the big screen.
“Black Is The Color” will be screened at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15. In 1969, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York mounted a major exhibit called “Harlem On My Mind.” There was just one thing wrong: the show had no work by African-American artists. The fiasco is emblematic of the barriers black artists have faced when it comes to having their work exhibited and collected. Both comprehensive and lively, “Black Is The Color” is a much-needed survey of great work by artists whose contributions were neglected by the mainstream art world for far too long.
After the film, Reggie Lynch, curator of education at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, will moderate an audience discussion with several local artists of color whose works have been displayed in the museum. The names of the participating artists will be posted on the festival website.
“Father’s Kingdom” will be shown at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16. Father Divine was born in poverty, the son of emancipated slaves. At his peak, he was one of America’s most controversial religious leaders. He preached that he himself was an incarnation of God, and that by following his rules of purity and celibacy, one can live forever in heaven on earth.
His movement was dedicated to integration and communal living. It was an innovator in desegregating neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and the ballot box in the 1930s and ‘40s. He commanded hundreds of properties and businesses, all funded by the work of his thousands of followers. But scandal, suspicion and racism led to clashes with the law. Though he was once a celebrity, and was decades ahead of his time fighting for civil rights, he has largely been written out of history because of the audacity of his religious claims, and doubt about his motives.
Today, Father’s few remaining followers live as a communal family on a magnificent estate outside Philadelphia. As time and mortality confront the followers, they struggle to preserve his legacy. Through unprecedented access to this unique and reclusive community, the film explores the line between faith and fanaticism, between a religion and a cult. Father’s revolutionary ideas on race and identity still resonate today. After the film, Charlotte King of the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, and a member of the festival’s planning committee, will lead an audience discussion.
“Service To Man” will be screened at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16. It’s 1967 and medical student Eli Rosenberg has a problem. Only one medical school in the country will accept him: Meharry Medical College, a legendary all-black school in Nashville, Tenn. Fellow student Michael DuBois also has a problem. Only one medical school in the country will do: Meharry Medical College, his father’s alma mater, and therefore his, whether he likes it or not.
Eli and Michael have a problem. They’re awkward, they’re outsiders, and they hate each other - but the moment they arrive, they’re forced to work together within the explosive pressure cooker of the turbulent 1960s. These uncommon allies battle the mysteries of medicine; demanding professors; crushing parental pressures; and an entire student body distrustful of them both.
Inspired by an exciting true story, “Service To Man” celebrates the courage to honestly look within ourselves, to find ourselves reflected in others, and explores this eternal question: do people measure success in the service to self, or to the service to man.
“Everything But A Man” is set for 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 17. Once in a lifetime, a lover comes along who changes everything. The story follows Vanessa, an ultra-modern, independent career woman who appears to have it all on the outside, but is secretly lonely and unfulfilled on the inside. Things change after she falls into an unlikely romance with Max, a handsome and mysterious, French-speaking foreigner whose radical lifestyle differences clash with hers and cause her to reexamine everything she's come to believe about love, relationships and what it truly takes to be happy. This timely and socially-relevant, laugh-out-loud, romantic comedy-drama explores universal themes of culture-clash, polyamory, gender roles and women's empowerment from a bold, unconventional and thought-provoking perspective.
Admission is $10 per screening. Customers are encouraged to purchase tickets online. If seats are available, tickets can be purchased at the theater, starting 30 minutes prior to each screening.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.rehobothfilm.com, or call 302-645-9095.