WHY IS WE AMERICANS?
2020, Udi Aloni, Documentary
LENGTH: 102 min.
COUNTRY: United States
WRITER, DIRECTOR & PRODUCER: Udi Aloni
CO-DIRECTOR/CO-PRODUCER: Ayana Stafford-Morris
LEAD CAST: Amiri Baraka, Ras Baraka, Amina Baraka, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Amandla Baraka, Cory Booker, Amiri Baraka Jr., Roxanne Shanté, Maya Angelou
CREW: CINEMATOGRAPHER: Amnon Zalait; EDITOR: Yuval Shapira; EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Ms. Lauryn Hill, Oren Moverman, Idith Meshulam, Jon Rubinstein, Kiburi Tucker, Randall Wallace, Moshe Edery, David Silber; CONSULTING EDITOR: Jay Rabinowitz; CO-PRODUCERS: Melina Torres, Shimon Azulay; THEME SONG BY: Ras Baraka, Jerry Wonda; ORIGINAL SCORE: Randall Wallace; ORIGINAL MUSIC: Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ray Angry
By turns kinetic and intimate, WHY IS WE AMERICANS? is an in-depth, cinematic exploration of Newark’s legendary Baraka family, the patriarch of which being the one and only Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones), one of the most prodigious African American poet/playwright/activists of our time. From the Newark Rebellion of 1967 to current day, the city’s narrative has been one of revolution with each generation picking up where the previous had left off. WHY IS WE AMERICANS? weighs in on Newark’s struggle against oppression through the personal triumphs and tragedies of the Baraka family — from Amiri’s civil rights leadership and ultimate artistic marginalization, to the horrific murder of his sister, Kimako, through the homicide of daughter Shani (one of the first openly gay black activists) to the historic election of Ras Baraka as mayor of Newark, NJ…and through it all, it is the matriarch, Amina Baraka, who emerges as the story’s lodestar and moral compass. Spanning decades of social activism, poetry, music, art, and politics, this kaleidoscopic family saga is framed by on-camera interviews with Ms. Lauryn Hill and local civil rights leaders, rare archival footage and revealing personal testimonials. As we connect with the iconoclastic poet Amiri Baraka, his wife, Amina, and their son, Ras, a portrait of a city emerges with an inspiring call to arms in the fight for class and racial justice.
|1/14/22||IFC Center||New York||NY|
|2/4/22||Laemmle Theaters||Los Angeles||CA|
Q&A with filmmaker Ayana Morris after screening
|2/4-2/7, 2/12-2/13||Time & Space Ltd||Hudson||NY|
|2/8-2/10, 2/15-2/17||Guild Cinema||Albuquerque||NM|
|2/14/22 – 2/18/22||Cineculture||Fresno||CA|
2016 Junction 48 (Feature Film)
2013 Art/Violence (Documentary)
2008 Kashmir: Journey to Freedom (Documentary)
2006 Forgiveness (Feature Film)
2003 Innocent Criminals (Short)
2002 Local Angel (Documentary Film)
1996 Left (Documentary Film)
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