THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975

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September 21, 2011, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Outside the Box [Office] and Sundance Selects invite you and a guest to a special preview screening of

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

 
Directed by Göran Hugo Olsson
Produced by Annika Rogell

7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

The Ray Stark Family Theatre

George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
 
 
 
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL, WORLD DOCUMENTARY EDITING AWARD
 
BERLINALE, BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL; MIAMI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL; TRUE/FALSE FILM FEST; SAN FRANCISCO FILM FESTIVAL

Opens in Los Angeles on Friday, September 23rd

About The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

At the end of the 1960’s, numerous Swedish journalists came to the US, drawn by stories of urban unrest and revolution. Filming for close to a decade, they gained the trust of many of the leaders of the black power movement – Stoakely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, and Eldridge Cleaver among them – capturing them in intimate moments and remarkably unguarded interviews. Thirty years later, this lush collection of 16mm film, peppered with footage of Black Panther activities and B-roll images of black America, was found languishing in the basement of Swedish Television. Director Göran Olsson and producer Danny Glover bring this mesmerizing footage to light and, integrating audio interviews with prominent African-American artists and activists who were influenced by the struggle – from Erykah Badu to Harry Belafonte – craft a dynamic chronicle of the birth and life of a movement.

35mm print provided courtesy of Sundance Selects. Not Rated. Running time: 96 minutes.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, click here.

 

Director's Notes

There was a rumor around for years among filmmakers that Sweden had more archive material on the Black Panthers than the entire USA.  A couple of years ago, I was working on a film on Philly Soul and was browsing the archives at the Swedish Television and found out that it was true.  Maybe not exactly, but the stuff on the Black Power movement was amazing and rich.  I immediately knew this was golden.  Absolutely crisp footage with amazing personalities, shown only once a long time ago, in Sweden.  The moment we saw the archive footage that makes up the film, we knew we where going to do The Black Power Mixtape 1967-75, one way or another.  We didn’t sit and wait for approval from anyone; we started doing what we believed in, and found the funds along the way.  I also saw it as my duty to take these fantastic images from the cellar and make them accessible to an audience.

My interest and dedication to this project has its roots in the 1970s when, as a student, my school years were infused with a sense of solidarity with liberation movements.  Many of my classmates were children of Holocaust survivors or expelled Jews from the 1968 pogroms in Poland, others were part of the Allende-Chilean exile community living in Sweden.  We raised monies for the ANC after the Soweto uprising in South Africa, and in 1980-81 all of us were engaged in support work for the Solidarity strikes in Poland.  My own consciousness was deeply affected by these struggles.

The film is a Mixtape, not a remix.  I wanted to keep the feeling of the material, not cut it into pieces.  My respect for not only the personalities in the images, but also for the filmmakers, is total.  The people in the film changed the world for the better.  Not only for black people in America, or any marginalized group, but for all people.  They showed that you couldn’t sit around and wait for someone to give you your rights; you have to take a stand and realize them.  And this goes for every individual, even if you are a white middle-class male living in Sweden.  It´s about self-empowerment as well as empowering others.

I decided to riff on the popular ‘70s ‘mixtape’ format, which I feel will appeal aesthetically and formally to younger generations, and to include audio interviews with key contemporary figures to complement the unusual beauty of 16mm archival, putting the images in context and creating a formal mosaic that is uplifting and moving in impact.

To me the biggest surprise in making THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 was meeting one of my subjects - Angela Davis.  I had admired her for so many years from seeing her on TV and her biography.  The footage that we assembled in the film is something that no one outside of Swedish television had seen before.  While watching those segments from years ago, I was moved by her interviews and the way she spoke so directly and with knowledge and a subtlety that was so powerful.  Then, when I actually met her, I was blown away completely.  I felt kind of chastened presuming she was this solely this ultra-serious scholar, only to find out she was a humorous, witty and very warm person.  It was great.

Further, this same feeling of surprise resonated with all the other persons I had interviewed for the film.  As a documentary filmmaker, you aren’t quite sure how your subjects and interviewees are going to respond especially on a film that covers many sensitive issues.  But everyone involved with THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 that we approached for interviews and participation has been so generous and giving including: Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Harry Belafonte, Kathleen Cleaver, Sonia Sanchez, Bobby Seale and Questlove who also provided the film with best imaginable music.

The hardest part of doing The Black Power Mixtape 1967-75 was to leave out wonderful stuff that didn't fit into the storyline.  For example, we had some awesome footage about the Shirley Chisholm campaign in 1972, and I still have sleepless nights for cutting it out.  But we just could not make room for it.

My desire is to create a film that illuminates the remarkable people, society, activism, culture and styles that fuelled a change.

- Göran Hugo Olsson - Filmmaker

About Outside the Box [Office]

Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain. The weekly screenings will be on Wednesday and Sunday nights (and other select dates, as they arise) in the School of Cinematic Arts Complex, George Lucas Building.

To view the calendar of screenings, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the general public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

Parking

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Email: aago@cinema.usc.edu
Phone: 213.740.2330