Shirikiana Aina and Haile Gerima
In partnership with the MFA in Documentary Media at Northwestern, Block Cinema is thrilled to welcome trailblazing filmmakers Shirikiana Aina and Haile Gerima for a two-day celebration of their contributions to non-fiction cinema.
Emerging from the L.A. Rebellion, a groundbreaking school of Black filmmakers that cohered around the UCLA film program in the 1960s and 70s, Haile Gerima and Shrikiana Aina have applied that movement's principles of creative freedom and independence to their wide-ranging endeavors as filmmakers, distributors, educators, and co-owners of Washington, D.C.'s influential Sankofa bookstore. In all their work, the pair have sought to maintain and renew the bonds between African and African-descended people across the diaspora, and to generate awareness about the history of Black struggle and liberation around the world.
As collaborators, Gerima and Aina produced the celebrated 1993 narrative film SANKOFA, a bold and uncompromising vision of the cruelty of the Atlantic slave trade and the insurrectionary spirit that rose to fight it. Less well known, but just as revelatory, are the documentary films the pair have made together and independently since the 1970s. In 2022, Block Cinema screened their newy-restored 1979 collaboration WILMINGTON 10 — USA 10,000; as 2023 Hoffman Visiting Artists for Documentary Media, Aina and Gerima will appear for rare screenings of their films FOOTPRINTS OF PAN-AFRICANISM (2017) and ADWA, AN AFRICAN VICTORY (1999), followed by discussions with their respective directors.
Funded by a generous gift from Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman, this short-term filmmaker residency at Northwestern’s School of Communications will engage Aina and Gerima in screenings, discussions, and student workshops.