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Birmingham Civil Rights Inst. Tackles Apartheid

BIRMINGHAM, AL - From January 28 through March 18, 2011, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) will present a series of documentary films about the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Have You Heard From Johannesburg is a seven part series by filmmaker Connie Field revealing how everyday people in South Africa and around the world successfully challenged one of the greatest injustices the world has ever seen.

The screenings are presented in partnership with the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA). BCRI will screen six of the films, while BMA will host one in conjunction with its exhibition DARKROOM: PHOTOGRAPHY AND NEW MEDIA IN SOUTH AFRICA SINCE 1950. Local individuals with connections to South Africa will introduce the films and lead brief discussions. Ten youth from BCRI will use the films in preparation for an upcoming exchange visit to South Africa.

Active Voice, a team of specialists in strategic uses of film and media to spark social change, is using the series as a catalyst to help partners around the world make the connection between this important history and their continuing work. The series will foster discussion about the parallels and differences between Birmingham, known before the Civil Rights Movement as “the Johannesburg of the South,” and South Africa, which struggled for decades under the apartheid system of government.

About the film series: The Have You Heard from Johannesburg series is produced and directed by acclaimed American filmmaker Connie Field, whose previous work includes the multi‐award winning The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter and the Academy Award®Ã¢â‚¬Ânominated Freedom on My Mind. The series is the first attempt in any medium to pull together the many threads of global anti‐apartheid action that formed the international movement. Ten years in the making, the series features interviews that span 12 countries and three decades. The dramatic series forms the basis of a global campaign spearheaded by Active Voice, Clarity Films and Steps International, with major funding from the Ford Foundation. 

Friday January 28 5:30pm BCRI Road to Resistance
As the U.N. adopts the Declaration of Human Rights, South Africa heads in the opposite direction and implements apartheid. A mass movement is born and then crushed, and Nelson Mandela is jailed for life.
Friday February 4 5:30pm BCRI Hell of a Job and The New Generation
In Hell of a Job, the future of the movement is on the shoulders of Oliver Tambo, who escapes into exile and begins a 30‐year journey to engage the world in a struggle to bring democracy to South Africa.
In The New Generation, youth in South Africa and around the world join the growing movement against apartheid, and the brutal suppression of a youth uprising in the South African township of Soweto galvanizes public support for sanctions against South Africa.
Thursday February 10 6:00pm Birmingham From Selma to Soweto
Museum of Art
African‐Americans alter U.S. foreign policy for the first time in history, successfully pressuring the U.S. to impose sanctions against the apartheid regime. From Selma to Soweto, released as an independent feature film in 2006 under the title Apartheid and the Club of the West, received Best Feature Documentary awards from the Canadian Film Board and the Pan African Film Festival.
Friday February 25 5:30pm BCRI Fair Play and The Bottom Line
In Fair Play athletes and activists around the world hit white South Africa where it hurts: on the playing field. The international sports boycott becomes the first campaign to successfully isolate apartheid South Africa.
The Bottom Line is the story of the first‐ever international effort to successfully use economic pressure to help bring down a government. Grassroots campaigns against Polaroid, Shell, Barclay’s, General Motors and others doing business in South Africa remove crucial economic support for the apartheid regime.
The Bottom Line recently premiered to rave reviews at the London International
Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Documentary and praised by Time Out London for offering “a clear and rousing study of how economic sanctions, initiated by grassroots protests, can have a significant political effect – especially when the boards of corporations find themselves in a forced position of embarrassment.”
Friday March 11 5:30pm BCRI Free at Last
An uprising in South Africa becomes the final blow in the cumulative world effort to topple apartheid. Nelson Mandela becomes a household name as the campaign to free him ignites a worldwide crusade.



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