A slave ship rises again at the Sundance Festival

A slave ship rises again at the Sundance Festival


Los Angeles Airport (AFP) – From the last known slave ship to the newly created city that served as a training ground for the suppression of civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, America’s racist past ties are re-emerged through several films from this week’s Sundance Festival.

“Descendants” and “Riotsville USA” are among the many documentaries and films to explore this question, which have been taking place online for the second year in a row due to the epidemic.

In “Descendants” to be screened on Saturday, Margaret Brown returns to her hometown of Alabama, where “Clotilda” landed in 1860 with 110 slaves.

She sees the passing of these descendants of slaves who still live there, and the stories of their ancestors, from generation to generation. The family of the slave ship owner is still there, and there is a lot of real estate in the area.

“Clotilda” went missing and was deliberately drowned by its owner to escape justice. Its wreckage was discovered in 2018, the most rare discovery of a slave ship.

“If the ship is found, I know it’s proof. It’s a way for people to physically discover their ancestry like never before in this country,” he explains. Six years before AFP Margaret Brown began filming.

Descendants of these slaves still live on marginal lands, isolated in polluted heavy industrial areas.

According to the director, some of these factories were even built on land rented by the Meher family, the owner of “Clotilda”. No one in this family wants to be part of the “Descendants”.

The director hopes that his film will start a discussion on “compensation” for victims of addiction and their descendants.

“Riotsville USA”

Another film interested in advancing the struggle for racism and equal rights: “Riotsville USA”, was released in Sundance on Friday.

In Sierra Betten, he explores the existence of “fake cities” that were used to suppress civil rights struggles in the 1960s.

In the fake city of “Riotsville”, the director finds archive footage, including of a huge arena of military leaders laughing and cheering as a black man is loaded into a new, sophisticated riot control vehicle at the time. City of riots.

“There is the CIA, there are secret service agents, there are police chiefs, top soldiers, politicians, senators”, details were investigated by the AFP in Sierra Betten.

During the Black Panther protests and riots in dozens of major American cities in the late 1960s “I think this group of people laughed at something as dark as it (…)”.

Without explicitly targeting ethnic minorities, he distinguished between these exercises as “white opponents” and “black blacks” and “fierce professional insurgents” who immersed us in the streets of Rietsville for discovering ancient archives in the Sierra Betten.

Festival director Tabitha Jackson is delighted that racism is one of the main themes taken up by filmmakers at Sundance this year, which will continue online until January 30th.

“These are current issues, especially in this country,” Margaret Brown emphasized, recalling that the Senate buried President Joe Biden’s desire to secure access to the ballot box for African-Americans.

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