Author: Andrea

Welcome to our 2018 season of the St John Film Society. This year we will present three films, one each in February, March and April. Take a break and come out to support and share with your community. See you at the movies!

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018: THE GROOVE IS NOT TRIVIAL

 7:30 pm/ St. John School of the Arts  /  $5 donation St John Film Society and  St John Arts Festival presents: The Groove Is Not Trivial 62-minute documentary Producer / Director:  TOMMIE SMITH The Groove is Not Trivial follows master fiddler Alasdair Fraser’s personal journey in search of self expression, a quest that has led him to dig deep into his Scottish musical roots. There he finds a universal pulse —a  groove — that runs through his virtuosic performances with cellist Natalie Haas and his dynamic teaching at his wildly popular, freewheeling fiddle camps in California, Scotland, and Spain. At his gatherings around the world for musicians of all ages and abilities, ‘the groove’ is a through-line from the past that sparks hopeful possibilities for the future. Fraser is at the epicenter of a movement in which people are finding their own voices and a deep sense of community through the shared love and joy of music. A subversive empowerment is happening as people reclaim cultural roots in jeopardy of being lost. The irrepressible Fraser proves that the groove in traditional music transcends toe-tapping fun – it can be a source of personal and political liberation. “A GOOD TUNE IS HARD TO KEEP DOWN…” –Alasdair Fraser FILMMAKER TOMMIE SMITH Tommie Dell Smith was Associate Producer on the production of Broken Rainbow, which an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Her own award-winning documentaries include Breaking Silence: The Story of the Sisters at DeSales Heights. She also is producer of a series of Oral History projects. She has been a member/owner of New Day Films since 1994, where she has served on the Executive Committee several times.  

Faubourg Treme

Tuesday, March 7, 2017: FAUBOURG TREMÉ, The Untold Story of Black New Oreleans

7:30 pm/ St. John School of the Arts/ $10 donation  The raffle for this screening is being donated by North Shore Deli & Driftwood Dave Sushi. A 68-minute documentary by Dawn Logsdon Executive produced by Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Nelson, “Faubourg Treme” is a riveting tale of hope, resistance, and heartbreak.  It sheds important new light on both African American history and current issues of racial inequality. This is the true story of the neighborhood that inspired David Simon’s fictional HBO television series “Treme”. Past and present collide in this powerful documentary about Faubourg Treme, the fabled New Orleans’ neighborhood that gave birth to jazz, launched America’s first black daily newspaper, and nurtured generations of African American activists. Faubourg Treme is the riveting story of one community’s epic struggle for racial equality – from slave revolts and underground free black antebellum resistance, through the challenges of post-Katrina rebuilding today – all set to a fabulous soundtrack of New Orleans music through the ages. This award-winning film gives the depth of history to current racial strife and challenges viewers to think historically and critically about the links between race, class, conflict, and cultural expression in our modern communities. Long ago during slavery, Faubourg Treme was home to the largest community of free black people in the Deep South and a hotbed of political and artistic ferment. Here black and white, free and enslaved, rich and poor co-habitated, collaborated, and clashed to create America’s first civil rights movement and much of what defines New Orleans culture up to the present day. In many ways its story encapsulates the dramatic path of African American history over the centuries. Our guide through the film and three centuries of black history and culture is New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Lolis Eric Elie (later a writer for the HBO TV series “Treme”) who decided that rather than abandon his heritage he would invest in it by rehabilitating an old house in the neighborhood. His 75 year-old contractor, Irving Trevigne, whose family has been in the construction business there for over 200 years, becomes a symbol of the neighborhood’s continuity and resourcefulness; Irving Trevigne is a man who, unlike many Americans, is deeply rooted in his community and its traditions.Renowned historians John Hope Franklin and Eric Foner and Louisiana Poet Laureate Brenda Marie Osbey explain what made Treme such a fertile ground for rebellion and creativity.  “Faubourg Treme” was largely shot before the Katrina tragedy and edited afterward, giving the film both a celebratory and elegiac tone. It is a film of such effortless intimacy, subtle glances and authentic details that only two native New Orleanians could have made it. The Treme district was damaged when the levees broke as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Many Treme residents are still unable to return home, and the neighborhood is fighting some of the same civil rights battles first launched here 150 years ago.    DIRECTOR: Dawn Logsdon is an award-winning documentary director, producer and editor based in San Francisco and...

The Wind That Blows

Tuesday Feb. 7, 2017: THE WIND THAT BLOWS

7:30pm / St. John School of the Arts / $5 donation Raffle prizes donated by: Caravan Gallery & St. John Hardware  60-minute documentary Filmmaker TOM WESTON will be present for discussion  In the mid-19th century, Yankee whalers enlisted seamen from such places as tiny Bequia in the Grenadine islands of the British West Indies. One of those men purchased two whaleboats from the Yankees and Bequia’s history of whaling began. To the consternation of many, Bequia’s whalers continue the tradition to this day. The Wind That Blows affectionately examines the lives of this unique group. These men, whose lives are entwined with nature, seek sustenance for their families and neighbors but, in the process, bestow something else: identity. Production of this award-winning documentary began in 1989 and continued through 2013. During that time, tourism established itself as Bequia’s prime industry, luring people away from the trades and traditions of the past. Hotels, new roads, an airport, and other improvements transformed Bequia’s appearance… and its soul. Amidst the clamor of globalization, The Wind That Blows gives a deserved voice to a humble community on a tiny island clinging to a proud past. DIRECTOR TOM WESTON: Tom is a New York based cinematographer having worked on a wide variety of productions in his 35-year career from Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories” as camera assistant to camera operator on Craig Brewers indie, “Hustle and Flow”.  In recent years, he served as director of photography of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and CBS’s “A Gifted Man.”  Other credits include camera operator and Second Unit director of photography on “Sex and the City”, “The Big C”, “The Black List” and numerous feature films.  Tom also served two terms as National Vice President of the International Cinematographers Guild.   Weston discovered the story of the whalers of Bequia in 1988 while on holiday. His vacation spun into a life altering 20-year journey to tell the small Caribbean island’s story.“Sometimes we are drawn to a story that is so filled with irony, ambiguity, beauty, dismay and truth that it compels us to take a drastic departure from our normal lives and try to capture a fleeting moment. In hindsight it may seem reckless, even foolish. So be it. This movie is my labor of love.”– Tom Weston The raffle for this screening is being donated by Caravan Gallery & St. John Hardware in Cruz Bay. $5 suggested donation / $5 raffle ticket.  This screening is being co-sponsored by CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD)  the first full-service film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean, and is the reference point for producers and buyers of Caribbean-themed content.  CTWD supports community organizations and partnerships with not-for-profit organizations and charitable entities in an attempt to bring the Film Caribbean brand to communities who may not be able to see them otherwise.

Timeless

TIMELESS, a film by Ed Laborde: Jan. 10, 2017

7:30 pm, St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay  TIMELESS, a film by Ed Laborde  Our opening season’s  film by local filmmaker, Ed Laborde Jr. Timeless is the story of Ajuwa, a young Ghanaian warrior, who loses her soulmate to the slave trade long ago. Their souls reunite in the present in the form of Malinda Benjamin, a Senator in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Alphonse Walcott, a gifted writer who has returned home from New York. The kindling of the relationship goes sour when Alphonse meets Bianca, an illegal immigrant from the Dominican Republic, sent to work in a seedy brothel in St.Thomas and falls in love with her instantly. DIRECTOR: Ed Laborde Jr. is a native Virgin Islander. With his film production company Afro-Flicks, Ed developed and produced dozens of short films. TIMELESS is his second feature film produced entirely in the Virgin Islands by Virgin Islanders. The raffle for this screening is being donated by FULL MOON GALLERY in Coral Bay.

Tuesday May 5th: Twenty Feet from Stardom

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few.  However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film. See the trailer at twentyfeetfromstardom.com/tagged/videos