Fairfield Theatre Company announces its partnership with ITVS Community Cinema, a free monthly screening series, showcasing the award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Community Cinema features free public screenings of films scheduled for upcoming broadcast on Independent Lens. These one-hour screenings will feature cutting edge content on important social issues and will be followed by a panel discussion that features local experts, community leaders, and key organizations familiar with issues covered in the films.
In the first film of this six-part free monthly series, FTC will screen Soul Food Junkies Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30, StageOne, 70 Sanford Street.
Soul Food Junkies filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out on a historical and culinary journey to learn about the soul food tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity. Hurt’s exploration was inspired by his father’s lifelong love affair with the high-fat, calorie-rich traditional soul food diet and his unwillingness to give it up even in the face of a life-threatening health crisis. Hurt discovers that the relationship between African Americans and culinary dishes like ribs, grits, and fried chicken is culturally based, deep-rooted, complex, and often deadly.
Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as with doctors, family members, and everyday people, Soul Food Junkies puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its positive and negative consequences.
Hurt also explores the socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options, and meets some pioneers in the emerging food justice movement who are challenging the food industry, encouraging communities to “go back to the land” by creating sustainable and eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmers’ markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking healthier versions of traditional soul food.
Following the screening there will be a panel discussion with local leaders including:
Chef Michel Nischan, a restaurant owner, award-winning cookbook author, media personality, and food policy advocate. He is the CEO and president of the Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to nourishing neighborhoods by supporting increased production and access to healthy, fresh, and affordable locally grown food.
Mona Jackson, an executive chef and CEO of Cook and Grow, a Bridgeport based nonprofit organization that uses the garden and kitchen as a classroom to provide youth with the tools to make better choices about food and maintain healthy eating habits.
Marilyn Moore, the executive director of the Bridgeport-based Witness Project. This non-profit organization provides culturally and age appropriate breast and cervical cancer education to women in need, with a growing focus on the importance of healthy diets and exercise.
Gloria Garcia, the owner of Miss Thelma’s Restaurant, cooking with “heart and soul” in Bridgeport. The recipient of numerous awards, Miss Thelma’s continues to be the #1 source of quality and nurturing soul food in and around Fairfield County.
For reservations, call 203-259-1036 or visit fairfieldtheatre.org.
For more information about the films, visit communitycinema.org.
Other films in the series include:
Feb. 26, THE POWERBROKER, by Bonnie Boswell. Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders of the civil rights era. As executive director of the National Urban League, he took the struggle for equality directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents.
March 18, WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES, by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan. Trace the fascinating evolution and legacy of the original comic book Amazon, Wonder Woman. From her creation in the 1940s to the superhero blockbusters of today, pop culture’s representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.
April 30, THE ISLAND PRESIDENT, by Jon Shenk, Bonni Cohen, and Richard Berge
Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed is confronting a problem greater than any world leader has ever faced – the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. His is the most low-lying country in the world; a minor rise in sea level would literally erase it from the map.
May 28, THE REVOLUTIONARY OPTIMISTS, by Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen. Amlan Ganguly teaches the children of Kolkata’s slums to become leaders in improving their own community’s health and sanitation. Using street theater, dance, and data as their weapons, the children have cut malaria and diarrhea rates in half, increased polio vaccination rates, and turned garbage dumps into playing fields.
June 25, LOVE FREE OR DIE, by Macky Alston. Love Free or Die is about a man who has two defining passions that the world cannot reconcile: his love for God and for his partner Mark. The film is about church and state, love and marriage, faith and identity – and openly gay Bishop Eugene Robinson’s struggle to dispel the notion that God’s love has limits.