The goal of the bi-monthly series Masterclass is to identify and survey exemplary careers in documentary production through an expansive lens. Eric V. Tait Jr’s career as journalist (print, network and independent television), documentary filmmaker, media watchdog and advocate for excellence in journalism and documentary film, comprises a robust contribution to the documentary tradition, through his own work and the paths he created for others to follow. Wearing the hat of organizer and media activist, Mr. Tait crafted the panels that follow his films himself, placing greater concern for how his work can be employed in examining current social issues and the media’s representation of them than receiving congratulations and praise for his 40 years in media. Mr. Tait says it best: “The goal is to use my 40th Anniversary Retrospective to take a good hard look at where we've been, what's been gained and/or lost, and what's now in store for all of us.”
“OUR WORLD-Fear & Frustration: Winter 1952”
Dir. Eric V. Tait, Jr., (1987) 58 min.
An unpopular war (Korea), xenophobia, Communist witch-hunts, restrictive and still racist Immigration Laws and Policies… a riveting one hour look at a time when fear ruled in the USA; a time that unfortunately now seems to be repeating itself…
XENOPHOBIA RIDES AGAIN
Attorneys and Journalist-Filmmakers discuss Xenophobia in the US today: Islamophobia (e.g. the lower-Manhattan Mosque), the Patriot Act, racist immigration laws and policies, how it all affects Constitutional Rights and individual liberties, and the role of media in alerting the general public to possible dangers now, as it unfolds, NOT 35 years later.
PANELISTS: Attorneys Abdeen Jabara and Alison Berry; Educator Debbie Almontaser; Documentarian/Media Critics Danny Schechter and Eric V. Tait, Jr.; Michelle Materre (moderator).
Thursday, October 14th, 7:30 pm
Masterclass: Eric V. Tait, Jr.
“Across The River with Hedrick Smith”
Dir. Eric V. Tait, Jr. (1995) 57 min.
An uplifting look at the Anacostia section of Washington, DC and its modern struggle to break the yoke and legacy of the Slavery/Jim Crow system that Inner-City residents continually battle: from lack of economic opportunity and gentrification, to uncaring, discriminatory Policing and Criminal Justice practices.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
Activists, Elected Officials, and Journalist-Filmmakers discuss what’s changed for the Inner City Residents, especially Harlemites since the mid-1990s: Gentrification, the NYPDs Stop & Frisk Program, Empowerment Zones-- who’s really benefited in the past 15 years, and what’s in our future? How’s the story being told?
PANELISTS: Attorney Bonita Zelman; City Council Member, 8th District, Melissa Mark-Viverito; Filmmaker Duana Butler, Pearl Barkley; author and activist Herb Boyd (moderator).
Friday, October 15th, 7:00 pm
Masterclass: Eric V. Tait, Jr.
“Then I’ll Be Free To Travel Home (Pt. 1)”
Dir. Eric V. Tait, Jr., 2000, 90 min.
The last film that the legendary Lena Horne worked on,
As Texas tries to propagate textbooks that re-write an even more exclusionary version of American History, and the Elmendorf Reformed Church, the oldest church in Harlem (est. 1660) battles to reclaim and restore it’s 330-year old Colonial African Burial Ground –another chapter of that untold American History-- we look at that history with a more in-depth and inclusive perspective.
WHO TELLS (& WHO “SELLS”) THE STORY?
Educators, activists, elected officials and journalist-filmmakers discuss the state of public education, political power and education decisions, inclusive/non-inclusive American History (and the lack of mandated history/social studies curricula in NY State), Glen Beck and the Fox faux-news’ attempts at usurping the Civil Rights movement, and other related highly crucial issues…
PANELISTS: NY1 anchor Cheryl Wills (moderator); Dr. Alan Singer, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Hofstra University, Rev Patricia Singletary, Pastor of East Harlem’s Elmendorf Church; educational consultant Gene Peterson; City Councilman Robert Jackson.
Reception to follow sponsored by Sugar Hill Ale