Doc Watchers Presents: Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

Monday, September 9th, 7:00pm

Doc Watchers

Curated by Hellura Lyle

In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Doc Watchers presents: Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

Nancy Kates & Bennett Singer, 2003, 83 mins.

During his 60-year career as an activist, organizer and "troublemaker," Bayard Rustin formulated many of the strategies that propelled the American civil rights movement. His passionate belief in Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence drew Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders to him in the 1940's and 50's; his practice of those beliefs drew the attention of the FBI and police. In 1963, Rustin brought his unique skills to the crowning glory of his civil rights career: his work organizing the March on Washington, the biggest protest America had ever seen. But his open homosexuality forced him to remain in the background, marking him again and again as a "brother outsider." Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin combines rare archival footage — some of it never before broadcast in the U.S. — with provocative interviews to illuminate the life and work of a forgotten prophet of social change.

Q&A with director Bennett Singer and reception to follow.




Doc Watchers: You Laugh But Its True

Doc Watchers

Curated by Hellura Lyle

Monday, June 3rd, 7:00pm

You Laugh But Its True

David Paul Meyer, 2011, 84 min, US/South Africa

In South Africa’s emerging world of stand-up comedy, comedians of color have only recently started performing on stage. With the opportunity to finally command the attention of a large audience, they go beyond just settling for easy laughs and confront the legacy of apartheid head on in their material. Against the backdrop of this volatile environment, 25-year-old Trevor Noah ambitiously pursues his passion to entertain. Yet his fledgling career as a comedian is largely relegated to headlining at corporate events due to the country’s comedy scene being so small. Determined to pursue his dream of performing all over the world, Trevor decides to produce his first one-man show, despite his lack of experience performing on stage. Based on the size of the proposed venue alone, it will be the most ambitious debut ever attempted by a comedian in South Africa. To prepare for the show, Trevor revisits his past, creating material from memories of growing up in the township under apartheid. As the child of an interracial couple, a union that was illegal in South Africa at the time of his birth, Trevor’s life reveals the story of an outsider who has somehow figured out a way to relate to everyone through his comedy. Despite this progress, the preparation for the show becomes increasingly difficult as Trevor faces a multitude of challenges: an underdeveloped comedy scene, criticism from other comics, strained personal relationships, lingering racial tension, and a shocking family tragedy. They combine to form a crisis that threatens not just the success of the show, but Trevor’s dreams of lifting himself and the South African comedy scene to the global stage.





African Film Festival Inc, Doc Watchers' Inc, and Maysles Cinema Presents: Footprints of my Mother

Sunday, May 5th, 1:30pm

Footprints of My Other

Directed by Claude Haffner, 2011, 52 min, France/Congo

Claude Haffner, daughter of a French father and Congolese mother, sets off for Congo in search of her African identity. Her starting point is the archive of photos left by her late father, a specialist in African cinema. She also speaks with her mother, who tells of life in Congo and adjusting to France. In 2004, Claude and her mother visited Congo for the first time since the family left in 1981. This experience has inspired Claude to return again, now alone, to deepen her relationship with her mother’s family. Her journey brings her face to face with the diamond trade, and with her sense of otherness, both in Congo and back home in France.

Post-Screening Skype Q&A with Director Claude Haffner.


Sunday, May 5th, 3:00pm


Dir. Chai Vasarhelyi, 2013, 83 min, Senegal/USA

Touba chronicles the Grand Magaal pilgrimage of one million Sufi Muslims to the holy city of Touba, Senegal. This observational film takes us inside the Mouride Brotherhood, one of Africa's fastest growing religious organizations.


Q&A with director Chai Vasarhelyi to follow screening.


The Karlton Hines Story

Monday, April 1st, 7:00pm

Doc Watchers

Curated by Hellura Lyle

The Karlton Hines Story

Troy Reed, 2005, 57 min

Karlton Hines was one of the most fierce basketball players on the streets of New York City. From the age of 12, he dominated the game. His talent caught the eye of every top Division I college in the nation. Coaches and scouts flocked from suburban areas into the inner-city projects to recruit him. In the end, he disappointed them all.

Post-screening Q&A with director Troy Reed.




Doc Watchers Curated by Hellura Lyle

Monday, March 4th, 7:00pm

Doc Watchers

Curated by Hellura Lyle

(A Women’s History Month Special)


Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê

Carolina Moraes-Liu, 2010, 20 min

Directed by Carolina Moraes-Liu

Filmmaker Carolina Moraes-Liu's documentary Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ilê Aiyê tells the story of three young women searching for identity and self-esteem as they compete to be the queen of Ilê Aiyê. The documentary explores the contest’s role in reshaping the idea of beauty around Afro-centric notions of beauty, as opposed to prevailing standards in Brazil, a country famous for slim supermodels and plastic surgery.

Cinderella of the Cape Flats: Volume 2 of Real Stories from a Free South Africa

Jane Kennedy, 2004, 58 min.

Everyday the working class women of color in the garment industry of the windswept flats around Cape Town toil anonymously to make clothes so that other women will look beautiful. Invariably they cannot afford these garments themselves. But for one day a year they come out in all their glory at the Annual Spring Queen pageant. The pageant is created by the workers and their trade union to bring their families together for an evening of solidarity and fun. After working for weeks on glamorous costumes, which one will be queen for a day? Set against the preparation for the 2003 pageant, this film explores the lives of working women and celebrates them as creators of beauty. Although the end of apartheid has not taken away the drudgery of repetitive factory labor, this pageant shows working class women inventing their own lively folk culture.

Reception to follow screening.



Doc Watchers Inc. & the African Center for Community Empowerment Present: A Special Fundraiser Screening of Pray the Devil Back To Hell

Monday, February 4th, 6:30pm

Doc Watchers Inc. & the African Center for Community Empowerment

Present A Special Fundraiser Screening of Pray the Devil Back To Hell

6:30pm: Reception (For reception and screening Doc Watchers Inc. is requesting that you make a $25 tax-deductible donation)

One hundred and twenty miles from Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, there is a small village called Goyazu, which is in the midst of repairing itself after more than a decade of war, which nearly destroyed this community. Since the reestablishment of peace in Liberia, formerly displaced villagers have returned and have been working together to rebuild their community from the ground up. Currently, the residents of Goyazu are completing the village’s first school, and starting to build a clinic. As you can imagine, this has been no small undertaking. Goyazu is not as far away as it may seem. This community was founded by the grandfather of a Harlem resident and good friend of Doc Watchers Inc., Kolu Zigbi. And in a few months Kolu and her family will be traveling to Goyazu to assist in the rebuilding efforts.

On Monday, February, February 4th, Doc Watchers Inc. will be hosting a fundraiser screening of Pray the Devil Back To Hell, a film which chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. All of the donations will go directly to supporting the village’s rebuilding project. The evening will begin with a cozy reception at 6:30, during which we will enjoy live West African Kora music, yummy food & drinks. We will also have the opportunity to hear Kolu and her family speak about the village and the project.

7:30: Screening  (for screening only $10.00 suggested donation)

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Gini Reticker and Abigail E. Disney, 2008, 72 mins.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell chronicles the remarkable story of the courageous Liberian women who came together to end a bloody civil war and bring peace to their shattered country. Thousands of women — ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim — came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about a agreement during the stalled peace talks.

Screening will be followed by a Panel Discussion

Doc Watchers Inc. is requesting that you make a $25 tax-deductible donation and come out and share this experience with us.

I hope that you will join us, but if not, don’t despair, you can still make a tax-deductible donation through PayPal or by mailing a check to:

The African Center for Community Empowerment

111-20 Farmers Blvd., Building A, St. Albans, NY 11412.

(Please make checks payable to: African Center for Community Empowerment and write Village Project in the memo line.)



Doc Watchers: Real Stories from a Free South Africa

Monday, January 7th, 7:00pm

Doc Watchers: Real Stories from a Free South Africa

Curated by Hellura Lyle

How have the ten years of freedom from apartheid since Nelson Mandela’s election in May, 1994 effected the lives of ordinary South Africans? In 2003, South African Broadcasting 1, the most widely-watched channel in South Africa, with the support of the National Film and Video Foundation, decided to find out. They commissioned fourteen emerging filmmakers from different classes and racial groups to make video portraits of South African society. Real Stories from a Free South Africa is a fascinating experiment in empowering people to tell their own life stories as they are unfolding. It provides a unique grassroots view of the first decade of one of the most ambitious and radical experiments in social reconstruction in human history.



Minky Schlesinger and Khetiwe Ngcobo,  2004, 52 min.

Born into exile as the daughter of political émigrés, Kethiwe Ngcobo and her family returned to their longed-for homeland, South Africa in 1994. Ten years later, Kethiwe, a hip, young woman with a British accent finds herself struggling to find her place in the new South Africa. This is a personal and honest look at one person’s quest for identity.


Hot Wax

Andrea Spitz, 2004, 49 min.

Ivy is a black woman who managed to run her own beauty salon surreptitiously during the dark days of apartheid. She lives in Alexandra, a restless and poor township, while her white, mostly elderly, clients live in the tree-lined suburbs of Johannesburg. In her salon she is part beautician, long-time friend, lay counselor and honest commentator to her customers. While she masks her clients’ imperfections, she also peels away layers of difference separating the races.

Reception to follow screening

Brown Paper Ticket: