Over the course of the month of February, the Bundy Museum of History and Art will be hosting a social justice film series, sponsored by the Broome-Tioga Green Party at the Bundy Museum Annex.
The films being shown are “Requiem for the American Dream” on Feb. 7, “Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” on Feb. 14, “Sorry to Bother You” on Feb. 20 and “Trudell” on Feb. 28.
The Broome-Tioga Green Party is a chapter of the Green Party of New York. The Green Party, largely a left-wing group, selects films that provoke questions relevant to their causes such as social reform of racial issues, the reduction of capitalist principles in the workforce and political reform.
Each film in the lineup tackles a different social issue, but they all address a common theme of abuse or failure of power. According to Rick Sprout, chairperson of the Broome-Tioga Green Party, most of the films being shown deal with issues with a rigorous and intellectual style and consequentially are not conducive to screenings in mainstream theaters.
“These are films we normally watch in isolation, so this is a chance for people to watch them with others and discuss the films,” Sprout said.
“Requiem for the American Dream” is a collection of interviews with Noam Chomsky, a 20th-century philosopher and political activist, that discusses the concentration of power that Chomsky believes plagues the modern world.
“Sorry to Bother You” pits actor Lakeith Stanfield against the vices of capitalism as he climbs the corporate ladder.
“Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” recounts the congeniality Douglass encountered when he fled to Ireland in the 19th century and the phenomenon of white people during the Great Famine living in worse conditions than black people in America.
“Trudell” recounts the life of American Indian activist John Trudell, who was the chairperson of the American Indian Movement.
The Broome-Tioga Green Party tried to align film screenings with relevant dates in the context of the film. “Trudell,” for example, is going to be shown on the 46th anniversary of the occupation of Wounded Knee, the 1890 massacre that killed 300 American Indians. “Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” will be shown on Valentine’s Day, the birthday Frederick Douglass chose for himself since he had no record of his actual birthday.
The goal of the film series is to bring people together who may have not originally had a chance to watch these films. As a result, if a group of five or more are interested in the film, then the Green Party is willing to bring the film to them.
“We try to emphasize the communal experience of watching a film so allowing people the chance to see films they usually don’t get to see is what we try and do,” Sprout said.
The revolutionary nature of the films encourages viewers to come away with an opinion and it raises questions in the minds of the audience. The party intentionally chooses films that force the viewer to think and question.
“We try and show films that we think put forth engaging themes and questions that challenge the viewer,” Sprout said.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the films start rolling at 7 p.m. Admission to the viewings is free but donations are encouraged.