Presented by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, The Cultural Diversity Film & Discussion Series has been meeting since 1995. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for parents, faculty, students, and members of the community to celebrate multiculturalism and to achieve a greater understanding of diversity issues. The topics may include ethnic, economic, political, religious, sexual, cognitive, and developmental diversity themes as they may appear in contemporary and historical films. The group’s intention is to help foster an environment of inclusion and respect at Park and to support the school’s commitment to developing and maintaining a diverse student and faculty population. All events are free and open to the public.
Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar’s inspiring and probing documentary explores the complex relationship between India and her native country. Traveling the two nations, Sumar and Indian actress Kalki Koechlin witness radically changing political landscapes, their encounters giving rise to a personal and poetic search to uncover the voices of the silent majority, particularly those of women. As nationalism surges in the U.S. and around the globe, AZMAISH is a valuable tool for sparking classroom conversations about intolerance, and also serves as an excellent primer for Americans on the India/Pakistan conflict from a woman’s perspective.
King of Wilderness chronicles the final chapters of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, revealing a conflicted leader who faced an onslaught of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. While the Black Power movement saw his nonviolence as weakness, and President Lyndon B. Johnson saw his anti-Vietnam War speeches as irresponsible, Dr. King’s unyielding belief in peaceful protest became a testing point for a nation on the brink of chaos. Drawing on conversations with those who knew Dr. King well, including many fellow members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King of Wilderness reveals stirring new perspectives on Dr. King’s character, his radical doctrine of nonviolence and his internal philosophical struggles prior to his assassination in 1968.
On the streets of Baltimore, shooting is rampant, the murder rate is approaching an all-time high and the distrust of the police is at a fever pitch. With nerves frayed and neighborhoods in distress, dedicated community leaders, compassionate law-enforcement officers and a progressive young city councilman try to stem the epidemic of violence. Filmed over three tumultuous years covering the lead up to, and aftermath of, Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, CHARM CITY is an intimate cinema verité portrait of those surviving in, and fighting for, the vibrant city they call home. Directed by renowned documentary producer Marilyn Ness.
From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires.
Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.
Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.