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Covid-19 Distance Learning Assistance

California Newsreel joins with a number of film and video distributors in offering resources for the classroom during this period of Institutional closure. If you or your institution have previously licensed a title on DVD from California Newsreel (with or without Site/Local Streaming) and have a distance learning need for that title that you can't meet through your institution's resources, we can send Vimeo-On-Demand "coupon" links for Teachers and facilitators to distribute to each student.

Vimeo will require students to have a free login account (email, facebook, google and password) to use the link, but once logged in these links function as a coupon for a free single user "rental" of the title. Each "coupon" link is unique and supplies may be limited, so please conservatively estimate your need.

To make this request email us at contact@newsreel.org with the following information:

  1. The title of the film needed
  2. A proof of purchase (an order number, scanned receipt or we can query your history)
  3. The number of students you wish to grant access to (links are limited)
  4. The start and end dates of when access is needed. (Please limit to 3 months or less) 

We hope to respond to all requests with a list of links for you to distribute. Links will be good for at least 48 hours from activation and may expire after a month or 2. Please note that this program is experimental and a work in progress. We hope to turn around requests within 24 hours but this policy is subject to change.

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A Movement for Black Lives

The explosion of protests across the U.S. and around the world in response to acts of police violence and killings, anti-Black racism, as well as government militarism is reminiscent of the era when California Newsreel was founded more than 52 years ago. People are revolting against centuries of oppression and discrimination. We are in solidarity with those in the streets calling for justice. Rather than use policing to deal with problems in the community, activists are advancing bold proposals to disinvest from the police and incarceration and invest in other systems for both community support and public safety.

Sites to offer support. Resources.

RACE – The Power of an Illusion How the Racial Wealth Gap Was Created

To help people understand how U.S. government housing policy after WWII produced segregated suburbs and a persistent racial wealth gap - California Newsreel has posted a 30-minute segment entitled How the Racial Wealth Gap Was Created. It is an excerpt from Race - The Power of an Illusion that is available on Vimeo for free video streaming.

Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart

  • Peabody Award Winner
  • John E. O’Connor Award winner The American Historical Association
  • Named 2019 Notable Video by the American Library Association
  • NAACP Image Award winner

May 19, 2020 would have been Lorraine Hansberry’s 90th birthday. On that date, New York's Town Hall sponsored a special virtual event “Lorraine Hansberry: Black Radical”. Filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain and Hansberry biographer Prof. Imani Perry were in conversation with host Melay Araya. The program is archived.

Lorraine Hansberry wrote the classic play A Raisin in the Sun. Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart (broadcast on PBS' American Masters Series in January 2018) is the first ever feature documentary on her complex life and it explores both her artistic achievements and political activism. The film features interviews with the play’s original cast members, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Glynn Turman, director Lloyd Richards, producer Phil Rose, supporter Harry Belafonte as well as writer Amiri Baraka along with excerpts from the 1961 Hollywood movie.

Many people only know Hansberry for that achievement but Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart makes abundantly clear that there is much more to know. Filmmakers Tracy Heather Strain and Randall MacLowry combed archives worldwide and had unprecedented access to Hansberry’s personal papers, archives, home movies and photos. Like her writing and activism, the film draws attention to some of the most outstanding issues of the mid-Twentieth Century and beyond (racial justice, colonialism, feminism, class divisions, sexuality) and addresses the role of artists and intellectuals in bringing them to center stage. In addition to being attainable from California Newsreel, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart is now available through the educational streaming platforms Kanopy, Alexander Street and Films Media Group. Kanopy is including the film among the "Must-See Films for Every Major". Please visit the film's page on the California Newsreel website for information on public screenings.

New Additions to Companion Website for
Race – The Power of an Illusion

Since its 2003 PBS broadcast and video release, millions of people have used California Newsreel's series Race – The Power of an Illusion to scrutinize their own deep-seated beliefs about race and racism and explore how our social divisions are not natural or inevitable, but made. A new companion website, www.racepowerofanillusion.org was recently launched. There, educators, trainers and civic leaders will find video clips, discussion guides and lesson plans, transcripts, a "Race Literacy Quiz", interviews with scholars, handouts and other updated resources keeping Race – The Power of an Illusion salient and timely and helping them integrate the series effectively into their classes and programs. A special element for educators features video clips of professors from different disciplines illustrating how they use specific scenes from the series in their courses.

Most recently the site added a post by Prof. Ruha Benjamin referencing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic entitled, “Black Skin, White Masks: Racism, Vulnerability & Refuting Black Pathology

The companion website was created by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, the American Cultures Center and the Media Resource Center at the University of California-Berkeley in partnership with California Newsreel.

Recognizing Marlon Riggs, a Resource Page

2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Marlon Riggs' groundbreaking documentary Tongues Untied. It was also the 25th anniversary of his untimely death. His classic and widely used film on anti-Black stereotypes Ethnic Notions is regrettably still relevant as recent events indicate. In 2019 programs took place in the US and internationally to recognize Marlon and his body of work. Events will continue into 2020 and will be listed on this Resource page. All of his works are now available for digital licensing. We have created a Marlon Riggs Critical Resource page featuring articles, guides, transcripts and media. We are streaming the 58 minute personal and artistic biography of Marlon Riggs, I Shall Not Be Removed by filmmaker Karen Everett for free. Riggs became the youngest ever tenured professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism.

Home Video Streaming Now Available For California Newsreel Films

Scores of films from California Newsreel are now available for short term digital rentals via Vimeo. These include titles from our various collections: African American Perspectives, the Library of African Cinema, Health and Society and Labor and Global Economy.

Agents of Change. The Fight for Campus Equity and Inclusion

Current struggles to make colleges welcoming and relevant for students of color continue movements which swept across campuses fifty years ago. The documentary Agents of Change tells the timely and inspiring story of how successful protests for equity and inclusion led to establishing the first Black and Ethnic Studies departments at two very different universities, San Francisco State (1968) and Cornell (1969). The film offers eye-opening accounts by the young men and women at the forefront of these groundbreaking efforts, which today’s young racial justice activists are boldly carrying forward on college campuses and beyond.

Sonia Sanchez Receives the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award

Poet/activist Sonia Sanchez is the subject of the documentary BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez. She is now the recipient of another well-deserved accolade, the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award. For over 80 years, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards have recognized books that make important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.

The Raising of America - Evaluation Report

After a two-year campaign to change the conversation about early child development with our film series The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, we are excited to share The Raising of America Evaluation Report. The report examines use patterns, presents case studies and suggests how to use film for social justice.

Unnatural Causes Explores Root Causes of our Alarming Health Inequities

We’re pleased the media is beginning to spotlight the harm done to Americans’ health by the nation’s glaring class and racial inequities. Join those around the country expanding the conversation beyond health care and ‘right choices’ by using California Newsreel’s prize-winning series, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, along with the resources on its acclaimed companion website to explore how social and economic conditions can get under the skin, affecting health and well-being.

The New Black-LGBT Rights and African American Communities

This award-winning and timely documentary boldly examines the challenging issues facing African American communities and gay civil rights with a particular focus on the role of faith institutions. While respectfully presenting the activism on differing sides, it makes a compelling case that the fight for LGBT rights in Black communities is an extension of the Black Freedom Struggle. Here is the TED Talk and an interview by director Yoruba Richen describing why she made the documentary. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled same gender couples have the right to marry in all 50 states, there is renewed interested in the film, and both institutions and home viewers can purchase the film on DVD.

James Baldwin

Since the release of Raoul Peck’s celebrated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, there has been an upsurge of interest in James Baldwin. California Newsreel’s classic release James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket is the essential primer on the life and work of this visionary writer/activist.

Furious Flower III – Seeding the Future of African American Poetry

Furious Flower III compiles close to five hours of the highlights from the 2014 Furious Flower conference featuring thirty-two of today’s leading African American poets in performance and conversation (among them Rita Dove, Toi Derricotte, Elizabeth Alexander, Quincy Troupe, jessica Care moore and Jericho Brown). This collection constitutes a video anthology of a vital decade in one of the most exciting and influential practices driving American literature in the Twenty-First Century. California Newsreel also released the highlights from previous Furious Flower conferences, Furious Flower I and Furious Flower II, and is now releasing Furious Flower – The Complete Edition composed of all of the Furious Flower conferences. Furious Flower – The Complete Edition is a multiple volume video collection constituting fourteen hours of once-in-a-lifetime readings by and encounters with leading African American poets.

Celebrating the 50th Pan African Film Festival (FESPACO)

In February 1969, the Pan African Film Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso held its first edition and 2019 marked 50 years of continuing festivals. Inspired by the work of African filmmakers, California Newsreel launched its Library of African Cinema in 1991, with 8 films from 5 countries. It now includes more than 50 films from 25 nations, including classic features by internationally renowned masters like Ousmane Sembene (Faat Kine), Djibril Diop Mambety (Tales of Ordinary People and Gaston Kaboré (Wend Kuuni and Zan Boko)

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