Documenting Justice returns to Bama TheatreBy Becky Robinson | 04/22/2012 11:07pm
UA students are hoping to raise awareness of a variety of social issues through a film project known as Documenting Justice.
Documenting Justice is a film series that began six years ago. Originally created by Stephen Black, the director for the Center of Ethics and Social Responsibility, Documenting Justice stems from a yearlong interdisciplinary course taught at the University. The course teaches students about the documentary form of filmmaking and allows them to create their own documentary in teams.
Andrew Grace, who teaches the Documenting Justice course with Rachel Morgan, believes it is vital for students to explore issues they feel are important to the community.
“We don’t focus on specific topics for the class,” Grace said. “I think it’s very important that the students come up with their own topics for the film. I don’t think they’d be very passionate about their stories if they were just doing an idea that I’d given them.”
Rebecca Howard, a senior majoring in political science, and her partner Fifi Wang, a sophomore majoring in political science, chose to do their film “Same People” on segregation academies, which are districts where schools have populations of either all-white or all-black students.
“I’ve never heard about this; it’s really interesting to me. One of my friends went to a segregated academy, so I thought it would be interesting,” Wang said.
Howard, who was born and raised in Alabama, decided to take the class after attending a screening of Documenting Justice her sophomore year. Like Wang, Howard believed segregation academies were a significant and widely overlooked topic.
“I went to a public high school,” Howard said, “I didn’t realize it was going on in my own state that I’ve lived in for so long.”
Both students hope viewers take away a positive message from their film.
“We want to inform them about these schools, and we want them to know it’s more complicated than white people holding the black community down,” Wang said.
Jamie Woodham, a senior majoring in political science and dramatic writing, said he became interested in taking the Documenting Justice course because he had attended the screenings for his entire UA career.
Woodham and Mischa Lewis, a senior majoring in public relations, worked on the film “State of Confusion,” which documents the release of a man following a “long prison sentence and how he is striving to regain control of his life through the utilization of art and expression.”
“Documenting Justice, as a class and as a film event, is important for many reasons,” Woodham said. “It showcases the role that art can play in catalyzing social chance and how students can take an active role in affecting the societal problems around them.”
Documenting Justice will premiere at the Bama Theatre Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. For more information, go to http://bamatheatre.org.