Firelight Media hosted special Beyond Resilience event celebrating the digital premiere of Hindsight, our new documentary short film series with Reel South, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), and WORLD Channel, exploring the lived realities of BIPOC communities in the American South and Puerto Rico during the unprecedented events of 2020.
This event featured a free, virtual screening of filmmaker Dilsey Davis’s short film Now Let Us Sing, followed by a livestream Q&A with the filmmaker moderated by Firelight Media’s own Chloë Walters-Wallace. The post-screening panel discussion includes filmmaker John Valadez, who served as mentor for the film, and film participants Cara Williams Madlala,and Charles Bullock of One Human Family.
In Now Let Us Sing, an interfaith, interracial choir in Durham, North Carolina is forced to take a new direction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the choir, which is dedicated to racial unity, must grapple with the dual crises of the coronavirus pandemic and police killings of African Americans, all while trying to sing as one unit while living miles apart.
Watch a recording of the event below.
Chloë Walters-Wallace, Hindsight project lead and artist programs manager, Firelight Media.
Chloë is the manager of Firelight Media’s Artist Programs, including the Documentary Lab, a fellowship that provides mentorship, funding, and access to first and second time filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities. She also heads up Firelight Mediass Groundwork Lab, which aims to expand the pipeline of emerging diverse makers from the South, Midwest & US Territories. Previously, Chloë led the New Orleans Film Society's Emerging Voices Mentorship Program, and the Southern Producers Lab, a regional program bringing together 13 emerging, diverse producers from across the South. Chloë has worked for the Tribeca Film Institute, Clinica Estetico (under the late Jonathan Demme), Article 19 Films, and companies in New York, London, New Orleans, & Jamaica. In 2017 she produced Woke, a narrative feature infused with mental & sexual health messaging for youth, preceded by the feature documentary Back Story. Chloë has served on selection committees for the National Endowment for the Arts, Create Louisiana, Creative Capital, CAAM, Reel South, Cucalorus Works-In-Progress Lab, Doc Society’s New Perspectives Fund, IDA Documentary Awards & TFI If/Then Short Documentary Program. She lives between New York & New Orleans and is on the board of Court 13 Arts.
Dilsey Davis, filmmaker, Now Let Us Sing
Dilsey’s life mission is to use the arts, and particularly film, to advance society by building social bridges and fostering a greater understanding of the equality of all people. Dilsey is the founder of Café con Leche Media and the co-founder of One Human Family Workshops, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes racial and religious unity. She most recently produced and directed four documentary shorts for ITVS/Independent Lens on rural jails in North Carolina and Tennessee. One of them, Daughters of Addiction, was broadcast on PBS in November 2020. All four shorts can be viewed on the PBS/Independent Lens Youtube channel. She is currently working on a feature about the 1969 protest of Black students at Duke University.
Cara Williams Madlala, Director, One Human Family Choir
Cara has been touring for over 20 years both domestically and abroad as a director and soloist/lead vocalist for the One Human Family Choir. A respected choir clinician, facilitator, organizer, and mentor, Cara has presented choir clinics and music workshops across the United States and in Canada. Cara specializes in bringing singers and musicians of diverse backgrounds/populations together to present musical models of unity to the wider community. Cara’s voice is warm, soulful, and filled with emotional energy. Deeply rooted in spiritual/Gospel music, and heavily influenced by classical, R&B, funk, and jazz greats, her versatile vocal style is evident in her performances. Although Cara is best known for her work with groups that include both children and adults, Cara has conducted children’s choir workshops in Kelowna, British Columbia, Columbus OH, Conway/Myrtle Beach SC, and Durham NC. Up until the pandemic, Cara traveled annually to Flint, MI to serve as Musician in Residence where she conducts age specific music workshops daily, culminating in a music concert presenting each class separately and the entire group as a whole. Participants aged 4 to 80 travel from across the US and Canada to participate in her workshops at the School. Cara always explains to audiences that music has a way of touching hearts before the mind has a chance to alter the message – which is why she continues to use her musical abilities as a vehicle to bring diverse peoples together.
Dr. Charles Bullock, Director of Training and Outreach, One Human Family Workshops, Inc.
Dr. Bullock grew up in a small, rural town in northeast North Carolina. As an educator, he has taught at the elementary, high school, and university level in the United States and Africa. With a strong passion to improve the educational and socio-economic development of the people on the planet, Dr. Bullock designs and facilitates diversity and inclusion workshops for universities, communities and civic organizations, and provides personal coaching services. While in West Africa, his training skills were also utilized in United Nation’s programs in education and sanitation. Dr. Bullock became a member of the Baha’i Faith in 1965 and has served in multiple administrative and community capacities. He also sings in several choirs including the One Human Family Choir and has toured throughout the United States and abroad. Dr. Bullock is married (Sandra), and has two sons and three granddaughters.
John Valadez, filmmaker and mentor
John is a Peabody Award winning filmmaker, whose work has received two national Emmy nominations. He has directed ten documentary films for primetime national broadcast on PBS and CNN over the past 20 years. His latest film about the deportation of U.S. military veterans will air nationally on November 16thon PBS. His films have tackled such diverse subjects as the false imprisonment of a leader of the Black Panther Party (Passin’ It On/POV/PBS); Latino gangs in Chicago (Making Peace/PBS); Latinos in World War II (Latino Americans/PBS); the re-segregation of America’s schools (Beyond Brown/PBS); the history of Latino civil rights (The Longoria Affair/Independent Lens/PBS); the evolution of Chicano music (The Chicano Wave/PBS); the Chicano movement (Latino Americans/PBS); and the genocide of Native Americans in the Southwest (The Last Conquistador/POV/PBS). They have garnered top prizes at film festivals from San Francisco to Chicago to Mumbai, have been broadcast across the United States, Canada and Europe, and have been featured at major museums and cultural institutions – including the Hirshorn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Lincoln Center and the National Gallery of Art. John grew up in Seattle, taught photography in rural India, and is currently the director of the documentary film program at Michigan State University.
Support for Hindsight is provided by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The Beyond Resilience Series is sponsored by Open Society Foundations. Beyond Resilience is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
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Firelight Media hosted a Beyond Resilience screening + livestream Q&A with filmmaker Dilsey Davis to celebrate the digital premiere of the Hindsight documentary short film series.
Firelight Media hosted a conversation about what filmmaker-centric leadership could look like, and the possibilities for industry-wide structural change in this moment of upheaval.
How does a documentary filmmaker fulfill their role in the midst of a pandemic and an uprising? Is it possible to transform our collective COVID-19 constraints into new creative approaches? What are the ethical considerations we must grapple with? How do we move beyond journalistic standards and root our work in an ethics of care?