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Southern Glossary: Social justice documentaries at Film Fest

This post comes from our friends at Southern Glossary, who are bringing us New Orleans Film Festival spotlights throughout the week, leading up to tonight’s opening (Thursday, October 16). Here’s a quick list of social justice doc screenings: 

Evolution of a Criminal

Darius Clark Monroe’s documentary film is an autobiography of sorts. The young filmmaker examines a central moment in his past — a bank robbery he committed and was convicted of when he was 16 years old in Texas — and attempts to qualify the circumstances that led him to participate in it. His self-inquiry is woven through interviews and re-enactments, taking in all the societal factors that create a criminal and what one can do after being given that distinction. Produced by Spike Lee – Saturday, October 18, 2014, 1:15 p.m. – Theatres at Canal Place & Saturday, October 18, 2014, 4:15 p.m. (Free Screening) – Marsalis Center, 1901 Bartholomew St.

Gideon’s Army

Gideon’s Army is a stripped-down documentary that captures the early careers of three young public defenders in the Deep South. Filmmaker Dawn Porter portrays the reality of dealing with an overwhelming caseload, providing a street-level look at the energy and focus of these often overlooked defense lawyers who offer the only guidance through the legals system that some people have. This film was nominated for a 2014 News & Documentary Emmy. A panel with Dawn Porter and New Orleans Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton will follow the screening – Saturday, October 18, 2014, 1:15 p.m. (Free Screening) – Contemporary Arts Center

Oil & Water

Oil & Water presents a look at the history of oil production and the price many coastal parishes have had to pay in order to reap the benefits of supporting the oil industry alongside the evolution of more traditional trades like fishing. The film tells the story of one couple as they watch their business dry up in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill and using their situation to shed light on a long, usually imbalanced relationship between the local Cajuns and the oil corporations – Sunday, October 19, 2014, 8:45 p.m. – Joy Theater (read Brian Friedman’s interview with the filmmaker here.)

Private Violence

This film brings the realities of domestic violence to light through the voices of two women. Deanna Walters, a young woman from Ashe County, NC, was kidnapped by her estranged husband and beaten over the course of several days on a cross-country nightmare. When she went to local prosecutors, she was told her injuries amounted to only a misdemeanor. Fellow survivor and advocate Kit Gruelle helps Walters along on her search for justice. Throughout the film, traditional responses (or non-responses) to women in crisis are explored and explained, leading to a long look at a problem too often unnoticed – Friday, October 17, 2014, 6:00 p.m. & Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 12:00 p.m – Theatres at Canal Place

Buy tickets and see full listing info, including information about filmmakers in attendance at these films, at the New Orleans Film Society website. Visit Southern Glossary for feature previews and more through the festival.


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