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Whose Streets?

Friday, April 14, 2017
8:00 p.m.


Guests Expected

Directors Damon Davis and Sabaah Jordan expected to attend April 14 screening.


The shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014, was neither the first or last in a series of similar incidents that would stir outrage and controversy nationwide. But it was the proverbial straw—combined with the subsequent judicial decision not to charge Wilson with any wrongdoing—that broke the camel’s back for African American residents of Ferguson, Missouri. Their long-simmering resentment toward heavy-handed, racially targeted treatment by law enforcement officials exploded into peaceful protests that were answered by a disturbingly militarized response. While public media focused primarily on the few instances of looting and property destruction that this dynamic triggered, Sabaah Folayan’s documentary weighs what happened in Ferguson from the viewpoint of residents who found their own government treating them as “the enemy”—complete with tear gas, tanks, and National Guard troops. From their vantage, this official response to a seemingly blatant injustice only underlined a sense that poor Black communities remain an object of control, rather than a full participant, in American democracy. Comprised mostly of local activists’ on-the-ground footage, this vivid document doesn’t pretend to be a definitive, 360-degree take on the events captured. But its portrait of citizen activism being greeted by occupation-style “military war tactics” (as one Fergusonian puts it) is startlingly immediate—and important, as numerous states have since introduced laws to criminalize protest. This is a free outdoor screening and shows with Happy Birthday Philando Castile (Mohammad Gorjestani, USA 2016, 8 min). —Dennis Harvey

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Brooklyn-based, South Central Los Angeles-born Sabaah Folayan’s diverse educational background includes theatre, journalism, and pre-med studies. Her longtime interest in activism has encompassed prisoner advocacy at Rikers Island as well as being an organizer for the Millions March, held in response to Eric Garner’s 2014 chokehold death while in NYPD custody. Whose Streets? is her first film.
Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2017
  • Running time: 104
  • Director(s): Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis
  • Producer(s): Jennifer MacArthur, Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis, Flannery Miller
  • Cinematographer(s): Lucas Alvarado-Farrar
  • Editor(s): Christopher McNabb
  • Music: Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes

Print Source:
Magnolia Pictures
49 West 27th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10001