Shukree Hassan Tilghman, 2012, 60 min.
Shukree Hassan Tilghman, a 29-year-old African-American filmmaker, sets out on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. He stops in various cities, wearing a sandwich board, to solicit signatures on his petition to end the observance. He explains that relegating Black History Month to the coldest, shortest month of the year is an insult, and that black history is not separate from American history. Through this thoughtful and humorous journey, he explores what the treatment of history tells us about race and equality in a “post-racial” America. His road trip begins in Washington, D.C., crisscrosses the country during Black History Month 2010, and ends with an epilogue one year later. Each stop along the journey explores Black History Month as it relates to four ideas: education, history, identity, and commercialism. Tilghman’s campaign to end Black History Month is actually a provocative gambit to open a public conversation about the idea of ethnic heritage months, and whether relegating African American history to the shortest month of the year — and separating it from American history on the whole — denigrates the role of black people and black culture throughout American history. But it is also a seeker’s journey to reconcile his own conflicting feelings about his own identity, history, and convictions. More Than a Month is not just about a yearly tradition, or history, or being black in America. It is about what it means to be an American, to fight for one’s rightful place in the American landscape, however unconventional the means, even at the risk of ridicule or misunderstanding. It is a film about discovering oneself.
After the screening: Q&A with director Shukree Hassan Tilghman and Anthony Riddle, Managing Director of the Maysles Insitute and descendant of Dr. Carter Woodson, creator of Negro History Week. Reception to follow, co-presented by DocWatchers
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Filmmakers Henrik Regel and Björn Birg dives deep into the universe of train-writers in Berlin with never befpre screened materials. The film investigates background information to specific actions and historical material from the legendary corner on the Friedrichstrasse, the place to meet for sprayers since the 90’s. The place where legends of the Berlin Writing- culture had its origins.
In this sense, UNLIKE U is not a normal Spray Painting Video, in which action after action and train after train gets shown, rather the Video is a sympathetic portrait of scenes which has never before shown. This film writes the fascinating story of a culture, which usually aims to exists undercover, but exhibits all the characteristics of an art historical movement with all its spacial and periodic developments.
The film makers have worked on this documentation for over 7 years and have thus established a good relationship in the scene, described as a ,closed party‘. Never the less the film makers never loose their desire to demonstrate the flip-side of the sprayer’s existence, social isolation, loosing of reality in the moment and even suicide.
The intensity with which these artists live out their passion is fascinating, but the film also shows the radical determination which one needs to pose in order to lead this lifestyle. Out every night, at half past one, just so they may know when the security guards do their rounds to plan the hit. To make the project colorful, to maybe see it on the tracks. This is not much, but for some, its life.