Creatively Speaking Presents:
Marisol + A Prayer for America + Voting Matters
Director: Zoé Salicrup Junco / A.K. Sandhu /
USA / 2019 / 2017 / 2018 / 15 min / 5 min / 26 min
Live Screening introduced by Michelle Materre, lead curator, producer, and host of Creatively Speaking, and followed by a conversation with Zoé Salicrup Junco, A.K. Sandhu, and Donita Judge. The Q&A portion of the talkback will be conducted via a LIVE Facebook and Twitter chat with the hashtag #WeThePeopleAtMetrograph.
More than 50 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most extensive pieces of Civil Rights legislation, people of color across the United States are still engaged in a battle to protect their right to vote. The documentary Voting Matters follows civil-rights attorney Donita Judge as she helps several voters in Ohio cast ballots even though they initially were turned away, while highlighting how many hoops must be jumped through simply to vote and how cries of voter fraud are exaggerated. Voting Matters is preceded by Marisol and A Prayer for America. The title character of the narrative short Marisol is a hardworking, undocumented Latina single mother living in New York City willing to do anything for the well-being of her daughter, even skirting the law and risking the anonymity of her identity. The film, which tackles the complex subject matter of immigration, has won numerous awards at festivals and serves as an important conversation starter, especially in the current political climate of the country, leading up to November’s election. And in A Prayer for America, a Muslim prayer group in the San Francisco Bay Area holds Friday Jumu’ah prayers in a Catholic mission while their mosque undergoes repairs and finds hope despite anti-Muslim sentiment under the T-word presidency.
Creatively Speaking Presents:
“We the People: The Shoestrings of Democracy”
As one of the most important elections in our lifetime approaches, we present this three-day series. With a nod to the 2011 art installation by New York City–based visual artist Nari Ward, “We the People: The Shoestrings of Democracy” ties together films with themes addressing one universal right: free and fair access to voting for every U.S. citizen. Shoestrings have several meanings within the cross-cultural meccas of our mostly urban existence. When sneakers are thrown over telephone wires, their shoestrings indicate the locations where the lives of young people of color have been lost. Mass incarceration require the removal of shoestrings from convicts’ sneakers, presumably to obstruct suicide attempts, though it’s more likely that a man or woman of color will die on the streets at the hand of law enforcement than within the confines of prison walls. From another standpoint, we see these shoestrings as a less effective but more real “bootstrap” with which immigrants and African Americans are supposed to “pull themselves up” even though the odds are often purposely stacked against them. We also see these “shoestrings” as a tool to unite citizens by collectively performing their “civic duty” to vote. With these shoestrings of our program, we hope to at least temporarily pull you into a more inclusive, thoughtful, and just world where the art of film can encourage a productive, progressive dialogue that can ideally lead to constructive, societal change.
Zoé Salicrup Junco is an award-winning director, writer, and producer born and raised in Puerto Rico. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, her short films have screened in festivals including Tribeca, Palm Springs, Clermont Ferrand, and HBO NY Latino Film Festival. In 2012, her film GABI garnered her many prizes and her commercial body of work includes creating content for brands such as Sony, ESPN, and Bausch + Lomb. She is a 2013 Cinefestival/Sundance Latino Screenwriters Project Fellow, a 2016 Sundance Women’s Financing Intensive Project Fellow, and a 2012 HBO/DGA Directing Fellowship semifinalist and an active member of New York Women in Film & Television and the NYC Women Filmmakers group.
A.K. Sandhu is an internationally published photographer and filmmaker who specializes in fine-art portraiture, commercial photography, and documentary film. Inspired by her father’s photographs of their family, Sandhu exited a career in finance to pursue her love for visual storytelling. She has earned degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley and is the co-founder of Re-Present Partners, a woman- and BIPOC-owned, Oakland-based production company that embraces the expansion of how underrepresented communities are depicted in media. She is also an active member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Collective of Documentary Women Cinematographers, and Cinefemme.
Donita Judge is Associate Executive Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a nationally recognized expert in voting rights. Prior to joining the CCR, she was Co-Director of Advancement Project’s National Power and Democracy Program in Washington, DC and co-counsel in the 2016 landmark North Carolina “monster” voter suppression case, NAACP v. McCrory. Judge also challenged voter suppression schemes in every federal election in Ohio from 2004-2012. The recipient of numerous awards, Judge also serves on the National Board of the ACLU and the New Jersey State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Over the course of 25 years, Creatively Speaking has become the leading, curated film series offering a diverse forum that highlights independent film by and about women and people of color. Working outside the mainstream, often with limited resources, the filmmakers represented provide a model for working within and around a historically underrepresented system that continues to this day. Founded by lead curator, host, and producer, Michelle Materre, their mission is to change the cultural narrative, one image at a time, and to expand audiences for independent film and video artists of color through community screenings, followed by lively and thoughtful discussions about the subject matter, as well as the art and craft of filmmaking.