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Q & A(rnold)

It’s no surprise action heroes are Hollywood’s single greatest export. Amid wildfires, mudslides, drought, and rolling blackouts, it’s a wonder the filmmaking capital of the world has survived any better than its on-screen alter ego, regularly ravaged by everything from earthquakes to alien invasions. The cost of living is untenable, the traffic is intolerable, even [...]
J.R. McMillan

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It’s no surprise action heroes are Hollywood’s single greatest export.

Amid wildfires, mudslides, drought, and rolling blackouts, it’s a wonder the filmmaking capital of the world has survived any better than its on-screen alter ego, regularly ravaged by everything from earthquakes to alien invasions. The cost of living is untenable, the traffic is intolerable, even the most groundbreaking feature film of last year was titled simply Get Out—and like most movies and television series these days, it wasn’t filmed there either.

California has in many ways become the star of its own disaster film. How can you tell? After years of economic malaise and mismanagement, the voters there actually asked Arnold Schwarzenegger to save them, and maybe we in Columbus should too.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Arnold Sports Festival, held the first weekend of this month. What started three decades ago as the Arnold Classic, the former bodybuilding championship has ballooned into a four-day health and fitness expo celebrating more than 75 established and obscure sports, from fencing to axe throwing.

But Schwarzenegger’s ties to Central Ohio run much deeper than just a long weekend once a year.

Back in 1970, Worthington Mayor Jim Lorimer invited a 23-year-old Austrian bodybuilder to the World Weightlifting Championship’s new Mr. World competition in Columbus to vie for the title and a cash prize of $500.

Arnold passed. The three-time consecutive winner of the Mr. Universe competition was already scheduled to defend his title in London, but Lorimer wasn’t taking no for an answer. He offered to fly Schwarzenegger back from London to Columbus immediately after the event there so he could compete.

Outside the then close-knit bodybuilding community, Arnold was just some guy who struggled to shop off the rack. That was all about to change. He won both Mr. Universe and Mr. World in the same weekend, a feat that was featured on ABC’s wildly popular Wide World of Sports, introducing him to his largest audience to date.

Schwarzenegger confided in Lorimer his dream of sponsoring his own tournament after he retired from the sport, and a seed was planted. After hosting several successful Mr. Olympia competitions here in the ’70s, and a brief acting hiatus in the early ’80s, Arnold ultimately launched his own competition in Columbus 30 years ago this month.

So what does that have to do with our fledgling film industry? More than you think.

Arnold has become an ambassador for Columbus for more than just sports. His annual health and fitness expo celebrates the city as much as the events and athletes. His own celebrity doesn’t just rub off on us; he’s helped introduce us to new audiences, just like we did for him with that first Mr. World competition.

He could have talked his action hero buddies Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis into opening Planet Movies anywhere on Earth, the motion picture rival to Hard Rock Café that coupled a Planet Hollywood restaurant with an upscale movie theater complex. But he chose Easton Town Center, and even though the concept was short-lived, the investment and effort shouldn’t be forgotten.

Action heroes also have a reputation for formulaic personas from one film to the next. Schwarzenegger is the exception, never afraid to try something unexpected or face the critics if an endeavor falls flat.

Yes, he’s been a barbarian, a commando, a spy, a hitman, and a killer cyborg from the future. But he’s also been a kindergarten teacher, Danny DeVito’s genetic better half, and even pregnant. His blockbuster appeal hasn’t stopped him from making fun of his own typecasting or being cast against type. Recent performances in Maggie as the protective father of girl slowly succumbing to a global pandemic that turns victims into zombies, and in Aftermath as an anguished survivor determined to avenge his family’s death from a mid-air collision, show an unexpected range and depth.

As soon as you think you know Arnold, he’s going to do something to prove you wrong.

How did your experience with the Arnold Classic influence the decision to shoot the film Aftermath here? What makes Columbus ideal as an emerging film city? Columbus is a fantastic place for anything and everything. I’ve spent time in Columbus for 48 years through our bodybuilding championship, that then developed into the world championships in many different sports through our sport and fitness festival. It’s a perfect place that I use as an example, where the private sector and public sector work really well together. They’re very well coordinated. There’s no “we” against “them.” It’s always “us,” and it’s always what is best for the community. It doesn’t matter if it’s Republicans or Democrats in office, they all know they ultimately have to serve in a way to bring more businesses here. I have seen the great growth of the Arnold Classic and how dedicated the city officials are, and also the people at the state level. They’ve helped us every step of the way to make the Arnold Classic Sports and Fitness Festival successful. This is how it became the biggest in the world. This year we have 20,000 participants from 80 different nations. It’s gigantic, and we wouldn’t be able to do it anywhere else than Columbus.

When I did the movie Aftermath, I told the production company when there was a debate about should we go to Atlanta, or New Mexico, or Cleveland, I said to them, “Look, let me explain to you a little about Columbus…”. I told them basically what I told you. It’s an extraordinary place, and that I’ve talked to the mayor many times, the governor many times, and they all said if you come here with a production, we will help you because we want to establish ourselves as a city where you should go to shoot movies. Big movies, small movies, documentaries, whatever you want to do. So I took the risk. I said, “I’m not going to do the movie unless we shoot it in Columbus.” They decided to investigate, to check into it, and this is why after looking around, talking to the film commission, they realized this is a very friendly place where they are opening up their arms to productions. So we shot the movie here and the producers walked away absolutely delighted with one of the best experiences they’ve ever had.

My idea was that this would be the opening, and those production people would go to Hollywood and tell others about it. That’s exactly what happened.

This is why I think it’s a great place. Because people work together, they work tirelessly. People are talented here—the stage crew, the people who build sets —they’re energetic, they’re passionate. This is something you cannot buy. It’s not just tax credits. I made this clear, Columbus maybe doesn’t have the best tax credits, but you will get your money’s worth in many other ways, and it paid off.

Why is it important to take risks in film? Why do actors need to take risks, why do filmmakers need to take risks? Why is it important to get out of your box? I don’t think there’s a difference from one field to another. One cannot say, why do you need to take risks in movies, why do you need to take risks in the parts that you play, what genre of movies you make? There are people who love to take risks, and there are people who like to play it safe. I think I’ve always been a person who thrives on risk. When I started in bodybuilding back in Austria they said, “You’ll never be a bodybuilder. Austrians are known for soccer and skiing. But bodybuilding? Forget it.” But I took the risk. It’s no different than taking the risk of running for governor. In movies, you have to take risks. Hollywood is a place that loves to put you in a box. You’re the action guy. You’re going to make action movies, and you’re going to do one script after the next—which I did, and that was very successful during the ’80s and ’90s. But there’s a time when I’ve done enough of that, after I’ve satisfied the studios’ needs, to show that I can do other things, that there’s a different Arnold in there than most people know. So I take the risk.

When I did Twins, I said to the studio, I know you don’t want to put much money behind this like an action movie. They said they wanted to make a minimum amount, and I said, “Then, don’t pay me? I’ll take the risk. It’s my first comedy. Why don’t you not pay me or the director or Danny DeVito, and just give us the back end?” We took that risk and it was my most successful movie at that time in my life, and I had a backend of 20 percent.

You couldn’t ever get that deal today. It was all about being able to take that risk.

When you get to be more mature, with age you’re much more believable to play a father in Aftermath or in Maggie, with more acting than action. When you’re younger and an action star, they won’t write material like this for you. They write scenes with great action, but they won’t write scenes with great dialogue and great character building. That’s just the way it is. For me, it was great to take those risks whether it’s Aftermath and Maggie, or Twins and Kindergarten Cop and Junior. I wanted to branch out because there is a side of me that is also like that. So I think taking risks in which parts you take and which productions you choose is absolutely essential.

Aftermath, 2017. Photo By Brian Douglas/Courtesy Lionsgate Premiere

Typecasting is tough to escape, with studios and with audiences. Is there a role or genre of film that you haven’t done and would like to? We’re putting together a western. I’ve never really done one, and I’ve always wanted to do a western. It’s being developed with Amazon and it’s going to be eight segments, like a miniseries. It’s a terrific project—very intense, action-packed, great characters. We’ll most likely start shooting next year. It’s being written right now. This year, I’m going to be shooting Terminator in Spain, and Budapest, Hungary. We’re finalizing the script for Triplets, which will be a sequel to Twins with Eddie Murphy as the third twin brother.

Speaking of reboots, I’d be remiss not to ask if King Conan rumors are true. Is there another Conan installment we can look forward to with an elder Conan? That is correct. Those movies were really big hits way back when. It’s a theme in Hollywood, to come back to titles that are well-known. Independent companies take risks with production titles no one has ever heard of or that are new. But studios like recognizable names. That’s why Twins is becoming Triplets, it’s why they’re now writing King Conan, which is why there’s a Terminator 6—which is all good for me, to keep those franchises alive.

Some parents push their kids into their own profession. Others push them away. The upcoming release of Midnight Sun is your son Patrick’s first starring role. How do you feel about him getting into the family business? I never discouraged him from going into the movie business. I think it’s a great business to be in. But I also make it clear to all of my kids—no matter which field they get into—they have to be smart with business, and they have to be smart with money. My son is very serious about acting, but he’s also very serious as a businessman. He’s always been entrepreneurial. While I’m proud of him and his work in the movies, I’m also proud of him and his work outside the movies—so that he never ends up being vulnerable. It’s important to have a passion for acting, but it’s also important to be financially independent—not having to sell out and take a role just because they offer good money. He’s really serious about acting, but he’s also really smart about it. I was so proud when I saw his movie, and I think people are going to be surprised by his performance.

Aftermath, 2017. Photo By Brian Douglas/Courtesy Lionsgate Premiere

As a Midwestern city, Columbus can pretend to be anywhere on film, but many filmmakers don’t realize it. How practical is it to shoot here instead of more familiar film cities? Columbus has so many different sides to it. When we shot Aftermath, we had no problem finding any backdrops whatsoever. The plane crash site was done a little bit outside of Columbus, we shot in a jail and had free reign over that location. You can find government buildings and high-rises, dangerous looking alleys. If it’s a modern looking shopping mall, there’s Easton Town Center. If you want to find a nice Spielbergian kind of community like you see in many of his movies, you have that in Columbus. You literally have everything that you need. I don’t think there is anything anyone would say you don’t have. If you’re shooting a movie that takes place in New York, I would highly recommend you shoot 95 percent of the movie in Columbus. Five percent of the movie—all of the exteriors, walking on 42nd Street or Broadway, or Central Park or aerial shots of the city—you go to New York to shoot that. But the rest it? You can shoot it all in Columbus. 

The 30th annual Arnold Classic will take place March 1-4. Aftermath is available for rent on iTunes, Amazon and YouTube.

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Maroon Arts Group born from Black artists seeking a voice

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Today it thrives as one of the most active, Black artist spaces in Columbus

From its inception, the Maroon Arts Group’s (MAG) mission has been to provide a platform for Black artists and voices that may not easily find a welcoming space in other venues. 

Sheri Neale, a Baltimore transplant, formed MAG when she was seeking backing for a performance art piece directed by Troy Burton titled “A Real Nigga Show”—a pastiche of poetry, dance, and music, that takes a hard look at the stereotypes surrounding the N-word. She had first seen the production in college and was moved by “the truths it touched on from both a mental health and an artistic perspective.” She felt called to bring the production to Columbus after the deaths of Black men Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of police—in New York and Missouri, respectively. 

Photos By: Rebecca Tien

“I couldn’t rest in my body about Eric and Michael,” Neale said of the deaths and, since then, “I’ve been doing the work through art.”

When she attempted to find a platform for the provocative piece, nary a corporate backer was in sight.

So, Neale took matters into her own hands. She called on local artists and creatives to join efforts to bring the production to life in Columbus. From that tour de force, MAG was founded in 2015. Shortly after, the production

was performed at Columbus Performance Arts Center’s Shedd Theatre to a sold-out audience. 

Although reluctant to take credit, she does own that she has the gift to motivate others into action.

“I recognize that gift, I honor that gift, and I’m just happy that it serves others through art,” Neale said.

This service to others, using art as a medium to affect positive change in her neighborhood, is what inspired Neale to create a physical space for MAG. In 2016, the organization was awarded a grant from the City of Columbus called Community Impact which offered them an abandoned lot on the corner of Mt. Vernon and 17th Street. Once they had the land, the question became how to create a space that was affordable and accessible to the neighborhood.

“We were trying to figure out what we could take on that wouldn’t represent like an office space,” said Neale. “It was Marshall Shorts (the vice-chair of MAG) who introduced the idea of shipping containers and I was like… keep talking.”

And so the boxpark known as MPACC (Movement Pursuing Arts, Commerce & Community) was born. MPACC is a community art space comprising two shipping containers—one housing a performance space with a stage and the second holding an art gallery. A third container onsite is owned and operated by Willowbeez SoulVeg. 

Photos By: Rebecca Tien

The boxpark is situated just down the street from the King Arts complex and around the corner from Lincoln Theatre, creating an art walk of sorts from one destination to the next.

“I don’t know if it’s a triangular art hub, but it’s a nice end cap to the area,” said Neale. What makes MACC so unique is that it sits at the heart of a community whose residents do not always have access to those larger art venues. It’s park-like structure and lack of entrance fee mean that people can feel free to come and go, experiencing events at the space in whatever way works for them. 

“We want folks to know they can come over whenever something’s going on here,” she said.“This is for them. Everyone’s invited, but this is really providing something for this neighborhood.” 

During recent protests for racial equality, MPACC has been a consistent rallying spot and a safe space for community members to be engaged in a movement for change in a family-friendly environment. At a recent event hosted by MAG, the public was invited to come and create yard signs for protest. Families gathered 

and let their kids enthusiastically spray paint signs in black and of course, maroon, with rallying slogans such as “Rise, Create, Resist” and “Protect Black Futures.” While there, they were encouraged to engage with artists who were painting a series of boards that had been staked around the perimeter of the park for a project titled “Nothing to Fear.”

Photos By: Rebecca Tien

On display were portraits of faces of Black boys and men. The project is spearheaded by Francesca Miller, a local artist and recent graduate of OSU who majored in art education. Miller conceived the project as her own form of social protest through art.

“I wanted people to see each individual face as the beautiful, dignified humans they are,” she said. Upon reading on social media that Miller was looking for a space to house her idea, Neale contacted her and offered up MPACC. 

Most of the boards are painted by artists who reached out to Miller when they heard about the project. One young man who lives across the street, wanted a board of his own. He approached Miller to find out what the project was about and how he could get involved.

Photos By: Rebecca Tien

“He was so excited and couldn’t stop smiling and I was like….OK, go ahead,” said Miller, who was initially uncertain whether he had the artistic experience to match the other contributions, but couldn’t resist his enthusiasm. As Miller tells it, he began to draw a self-portrait on the board with a pencil but quickly became overwhelmed and admitted to her that he was good at drawing, but not that skilled at painting. When she relayed the story to contributing artist Richard Duarte Brown, he asked Miller for a photo of the young man and offered to finish the painting.

“When we use art to beautify a space, it impacts people on a deep level.”

The next day the teen returned, Miller said, and was struck. She said he told her, “Oh man, that looks just like me!” she laughed as she relayed the story. He told her that “All day people came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I think your face is on one of those boards over there!’” 

When MAG isn’t directly holding an event, the space is open to community members to use. Over the last month, there has been a constant flow of performances by poets, musicians, artists, and activists. On any given night one could tune in to live streams of the performances and seek solace listening to young writers weave their frustration into spoken word as silver-haired singers belt out, “A Change is Gonna Come” and other Civil Rights era songs.

Neale says that the space is for the community and this is how it manifests—voices ringing out to bring comfort and guidance, paintings around its borders reminding neighbors of their beauty.

As Miller so aptly put it, “When we use art to beautify a space, it impacts people on a deep level. The programs that they have [at MPACC], engaging people with the music and arts, is really uplifting.”

This sentiment was echoed by board member Ekundayo Igeleke who told Orie Givens of Spectrum News television last week, “As long as oppression exists, we’ll be out there fighting against it, but also, experiencing joy.”

MPAAC is a place for the community, for education, gathering, and celebration, a space to hold grief and rage. Most importantly it is a space to hold hope and the possibility that through art, transformation can be achieved. And like the young man who came back to find his portrait on the wall, MAG is a place for the Black community to find their faces on the wall and know they are counted too.

 

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CCAD grads make good use of their creative edge during Black Lives Matter ‘revolution’

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Photos by Rebecca Tien

The bleak isolation of the COVID-19 quarantine caused a mental block for many creatives. But for recent Columbus College of Art and Design graduates and visual artists LaShae Boyd and Kayneisha Holloway, the time and space only helped to enrich their craft.

Their post-grad artistic pursuits were especially sharpened during recent Columbus protests, as thousands of Central Ohioans joined together throughout the month of June to commemorate the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and numerous other Black Americans killed by police. The most recent of which was the death of Floyd on May 25, who was killed by excessive force to his throat by Minneapolis, Minn., police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is charged with second-degree degree, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers on the scene are charged with aiding and abetting.

For both Boyd and Holloway, they hope that the growing Black Lives Matter movement sparked by Floyd’s death translates into further local opportunities for Black visual artists.

With a pop-surrealist focus, Boyd’s paintings are traditionally distorted and shadowy, which she attributes to the theme of chaos. When the pandemic became widespread, Boyd committed her time in quarantine to hold a daily creative process, whether it meant sketching or painting on full canvases. In turn, Boyd executed her goal, tackling more than one piece each day and later painting a mural commissioned by Maroon Arts Group.

“I wanted to represent Black people in a higher light. A lot of my work has to do with spiritual transformation within myself, so I wanted to push this further specifically highlighting black magic and the power we possess as a whole,” Boyd said of creating the mural during protests. “I think we should start taking this energy to neighborhoods of lower classes, the areas with less income and support, and fill it up with art. Art can raise awareness and infuse the community with love and unity.”

In a similar vein, Holloway embarked on taking multiple commissions earlier this year after being furloughed from two positions  during economic turmoil while finishing her degree. The multi-dimensional artist and interior architect caught up on meditating and reading to decompress from the heaviness of the pandemic. Once revived, she set off to the Greater Columbus Arts Council, where she was joined by other visual artists who encouraged her to share her thoughts on Floyd’s murder. 

“The word ‘empathy’ came to mind; that’s the only word I could think of since the first night of protests in Minneapolis,” Holloway said, later creating murals at Snap Fitness on Hubbard Avenue and the Huntington Center. “The silver lining is that this revolution is pushing me to become a full-time freelance artist, even [an] activist, which I would like to embrace more.”

Photos by Rebecca Tien

Prior to completing their studies at CCAD, Boyd and Holloway’s senior thesis seemed to foreshadow the current social climate in proximity to their core audience, even expanding their message to local government officials. Though Boyd initially lacked confidence, which transmuted into her work as a student, she soon transformed through her thesis titled “Out of Control,” previously showcased at Beeler Gallery on the CCAD campus. 

“It was a group of paintings and photos on the topic of finding self through the unconscious, using dreams as a guide back to repressed memories and personal truth,” she said. “With everything going on, it’s elevated my understanding of my position as an artist in society. I started thinking about how art not only is a great way to communicate difficult emotions but it’s literally like a time machine that you can explore.”

Art can raise awareness and infuse the community with love and unity.

Being a first generation college graduate, Holloway’s thesis analyzed the consumption of public art through murals and placemaking implemented into Columbus neighborhoods. Though she worked solo as classes went remote due to the quarantine, she attributes her pride as a muralist to studying interior design and architecture during those four years.

Photos by Rebecca Tien

“I did feel relieved to not have to worry about submitting an assignment online, but I didn’t feel I accomplished much outside of my grades and received my diploma through mail,” she said. “Attending classes remotely set my creativity and drive back a little because I liked the environment I was working in. I especially miss doing ceramics, which is impossible to do remotely when your art studio is also your bedroom, laptop, or phone.”

Still, Holloway was able to put finishing touches on her thesis dedicated to revolutionary artists who have used their proximity to local people to acknowledge and create space for those who have been disadvantaged. Those who inspired Holloway’s work included Stephanie Rond, Rick Lowe, Tyree Guyton and Aminah Robinson—whom she painted at the Ohio State Rotunda.

“On a community level, I hope every person as a whole will acknowledge themselves as worthy of living, and simultaneously will view their community members’ lives as worthy, without the role of police officers and authorities,” Holloway said. “On a political and economic level, I hope that our politicians, city council members, and city planners will acknowledge that Black people, regardless of class, lives matter; their health matters, their education matters, their neighborhoods and homes matter, and their safety and security matters.”

Disappointed when being unable to walk the stage at graduation due to social distancing, Boyd celebrated safely at home and hopes that recent community art pushes collective exposure for Black women.

“I hope that we can see the reasons why murals are so important outside of the aftermath of the rioting that was going on,” she said. “I want to make pieces speaking on what’s happening, keeping in mind that this is a piece of history [that] future generations can look back on and learn some of the events that structured their present.”

Noting the magnitude of male artists in Columbus, Holloway obliges with Boyd’s sentiment, aiming for Black women artists to receive their roses while they can still smell them.

Photos by Rebecca Tien

“We need to embrace change and differences—I haven’t seen many Black women artists being celebrated as much who are still living,” she said. “I think allowing Black women the space to develop their voices as well as express their voices and concerns is a step to support Black women and artists, even if their message is very different from what we normally hear and see.”

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(614) Movie Club: New Jon Stewart feature, Episode V Beer Tasting, and timely documentaries

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(614) Movie Club. It’s OK to talk about it. 

Every Monday at (614) we’ll be here to update you on virtual and physical screenings that are being offered by the businesses and organizations that make Columbus such a special cinema city. Read below for this week’s streams and showtimes.

NOW SHOWING AT GRANDVIEW THEATER

Jaws

The original Jaws will continue to show at Grandview theater after a July 4 weekend beer tasting. Fitting, right? Watching this might be what it takes to keep you away from the beach for the rest of the summer.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1975
  • Runtime: 124 min.

Jurassic Park

More Steven Spielberg horror on the big screen. Again, if you missed the beer tasting, you’ll have a few more shots this week at catching some dino-roaring action on the big screen.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (7 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Beer Tasting

One of the most popular picks for best Star Wars film of all time, the beer tasting comes during a year when the fifth episode is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Enjoy a 10-round beer tasting, free pint glass, raffle prizes, and a very entertaining presentation.

  • Showing: July 11 (3 and 9 p.m.) and 12 (5 p.m.)
  • Cost: $40
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

NOW SHOWING AT STUDIO 35

Irresistible 

A local town battling big-party politics, written and directed by Jon Stewart and starring Steve Carrell? Looks great on paper, plays out even better on screen. Rose Byrne is outright ridiculous in this one. Enjoy a 2020 release in an actual movie theater with grade-A recliners.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4:30, 7, and 9:30 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 2020
  • Runtime: 104 min.

Jurassic Park

See above.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (4 and 7 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

Jaws

See above.

  • Showing: July 6-9 (9:45 p.m.)
  • Cost: $9
  • Release: 1975
  • Runtime: 124 min.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back Beer Tasting

See above.

  • Showing: July 11 (noon and 5:30 p.m.) and 12 (2 p.m.)
  • Cost: $40
  • Release: 1993
  • Runtime: 127 min.

NOW STREAMING VIRTUALLY AT THE WEX

Cincinnati Goddam

A timely documentary that followed the Black Lives Matter movement around 2013, this film focuses on the corruption within the Cincinnati Police Department, whose force was responsible for killing a total of 15 black men between 1995 and 2001. 

  • Closes: July 9
  • Cost: Free
  • Release: 2015
  • Runtime: 103 min.

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things

Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most prolific singers of all time. Although a lot of her life has been studied, this documentary goes deeper with some never-before-seen footage and interviews from greats such as Tony Bennett and Smokey Robinson.

  • Closes: July 23
  • Cost: $12
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 90 min.

The Last Tree

A coming-of-age journey that follows a Black teenager trying to find his identity in the UK and beyond. The movie was the winner of the World Dramatic Competition at Sundance and Best Supporting Actress and Most Promising Newcomer awards at the British Independent Film Awards.

  • Closes: July 23
  • Cost: $10
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 98 min.

Denise Ho - Becoming the Song

Another unfortunately timely documentary, Denise Ho follows the personal journey of the openly gay singer from pop icon to human rights activist. What emerged out of the Umbrella Movement of 2014 saw Ho take to the streets in the midst of the Hong Kong revolution in 2019.

  • Closes: July 30
  • Cost: $12
  • Release: 2020
  • Runtime: 83 min.

NOW STREAMING VIRTUALLY AT GFC

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly

Ai Weiwei, China's most famous artist, transforms Alcatraz Island prison into an astonishing expression of socially-engaged art focused on the unjustly incarcerated. Known-whistleblower Chelsea Manning makes an appearance. 

  • Opens: July 8
  • Cost: $10
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 78 min.

We Are Little Zombies

If eccentric Japanese cinema is your forte, you’ll want to check out We Are Little Zombies. A messy triumph of tragedy, comedy, music, social criticism, and teenage angst, watch what four teenagers do when they find out their parents are being turned into dust.

  • Opens: July 8
  • Cost: N/A
  • Release: 2019
  • Runtime: 120 min.
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