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CHOICE Cinema Series: In the Footsteps of Gordon Parks – Leadbelly
May 13, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm$5
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.
Each screening will be followed by conversations with special guests from the Black community of filmmakers to examine the themes of the films and how they are relevant in the Black community today. Actor Art Evans is the special guest for the post-film discussion of Lead Belly.
A biography of Huddie Ledbetter (Roger E. Mosley), this drama follows the life of the highly influential African-American blues singer and guitarist, who was better known as “Leadbelly.” The trouble-prone musician frequently ended up working on chain gangs, and, when not incarcerated, he sometimes traveled around with fellow renowned blues man Blind Lemon Jefferson (Art Evans). The film shows how Leadbelly dealt with the racism of his era and found some degree of peace in his music.
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).
About Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks’ films are recognized for their cultural significance and present positive and powerful media representation of young Black men. Parks used his camera as his “weapon” of choice to fight poverty and racism. His work not only gave the rest of the world a glimpse into the life of a person of color, but offered hope, choice, opportunity, and a platform to many in the Black community. As a nationally recognized photographer, musician, writer, and film director, Gordon Parks’ influence has extended through multiple generations and throughout our nation, beginning in St. Paul with his skill in photography.
This series will honor Gordon Parks’ legacy, his choice to use film and photography to portray the Black experience and be a catalyst for societal change. It will feature themes that remain relevant today, including mass incarceration, racism, and coming of age. For many in the Black community, it will be an opportunity to feature stories and narratives not often seen or represented in the mainstream, while for non-Black communities, it 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, visit the CHOICE Cinema series page at landmarkcenter.org or call 651.292.3063.