CHOICE Cinema Series: In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks

SoulTouch Productions and Landmark Center, in partnership with Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF), present “CHOICE Cinema Series: In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks”, a screening of films by legendary artist Gordon Parks. The selection of films includes Half Past Autumn at 1 pm on Saturday, May 7; The Learning Tree at 3 pm on Sunday, May 8; and Leadbelly at 7 pm on Friday, May 13 in Landmark Center’s F.K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium.

Post-screening conversations with special guests will discuss the ever-relevant themes and topics of Parks’ work, including mass incarceration, racism, and coming of age. Hear from Director Craig Rice and Producer Robin Hickman-Winfield after the screening of their documentary Half Past Autumn. Craig Rice is an award-winning producer and director who is nationally recognized for his distinguished career in music video, commercial, television, and film industry. Hickman-Winfield is the Executive Producer and CEO of SoulTouch Productions. Hickman-Winfield is the great niece of Gordon Parks and is honoring her great uncle’s legacy with the “CHOICE Cinema Series: In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks”.

Actor Kyle Johnson is the special guest for post-screening discussion of The Learning Tree. Johnson has appeared in multiple TV shows such as The Fugitive (1963-1967) and Mod Squad (1968-1973). He played the son of Simon of Cyrene in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) and appeared in Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971) and Brother on the Run (1973). His most notable performance is from The Learning Tree, where he portrayed Newt Winger, a young Black man attempting to adhere to his morals through the experience of racial injustice.

Actor Art Evans will be the special guest for Leadbelly. Evans is known for his roles in A Soldier’s Story (1984), Die Hard 2 (1990), Ruthless People (1986), and Trespass (1992). He portrayed Blind Lemon Jefferson in Gordon Parks’ Leadbelly, where his ability to play a number of musical instruments by ear came in handy. Evans studied drama at the Theater of Being under the tutelage of Frank Silvera. Evans will be in conversation with Kokayi Ampah, acclaimed film industry Location Manager and Producer who was mentored by Gordon Parks in his early career, assisting on Shaft (1971) and Leadbelly. Ampah’s illustrious career spans over 50 years, with 40 films to his credit such as Poetic Justice (1993), The Color Purple (1985) and Shawshank Redemption (1994).

For many in the Black community, “CHOICE Cinema Series: In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks” will be an opportunity to feature stories and narratives not often seen or represented in the mainstream, while for non-Black communities, the series will further the understanding of the Black experience, break down barriers and stereotypes, and provide a fuller context to Parks’ work.

“CHOICE Cinema Series: In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks” is supported by the Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program. For more information on the series, call 651.292.3063.