Loyola University Chicago

Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy

Anti-Oppressive Film Series

The Anti-Oppressive Film Series is an effort to cultivate anti-racist and anti-oppressive thought, action and pedagogy by examining race, structural and systemic racism, structural oppression, belonging, identity, and other themes through the medium of film. The series is designed to give participants different perspectives on issues of the day, as well as educate them on different aspects of anti-oppressive thought. As a non-didactic and group discussion-oriented series, participants will be able to learn about salient issues of identity, intersectionality, marginalization, and anti-oppression through the transformative experience of "witness" through the creative medium of film. 

Current Film Series Dates: Join us virtually this 2023-2024 AY on Fridays, from 2:30PM - 5:00PM. See more information about the films, specific dates, and find the virtual links under the "Films in the Current Series" tab below!

The 2023-2024 series is focused on independent films reflective of specific communities/community concerns as a way of pushing against the oppressive and hierarchical notions of films that are made mainstream through the "blockbuster" and Hollywood production processes. The films are largely centered on anti-oppression, health & wellness, some considering those ideas actively and some by the nature of the content and representation. The films will showcase intersectional identities and multicultural concerns, as well as providing a lens to multi-leveled oppression. 

 

Screenings will be held in-person, though virtual, synchronous & asynchronous viewings of the films will be offered. Post-film discussions will be held in a hy-flex model. Facilitators will present briefly on each film before opening discussion. Supplementary materials will be provided for further watching and reading and will be posted after each screening.

January Film - Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a 2021 American independent live-action/stop-motion animated mockumentary comedy-drama film directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, with a screenplay by Fleischer Camp, Jenny Slate and Nick Paley from a story by Fleischer Camp, Slate, Paley and Elisabeth Holm.

The film follows Marcel, a shell who lives with his grandmother, Connie, after posting a short film online bringing Marcel millions of passionate fans and a new hope of reuniting with his long-lost family. 

Discussion Topic: Finding Home & Crafting Belonging

  • In lieu of a screening for January, we will host a discussion on the film

Date: Friday, January 26th, 3:00pm – 4:15pm 

Location: Virtual, Synchronous, via Zoom

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the Asynchronous film link here!

  • The film can be streamed for free through Kanopy for any LUC community member with a LUC UVID

Why this film? 

  • In Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Marcel carves out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie, and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of an eccentric community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. However, when a documentary filmmaker discovers them, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope of finding his long-lost family.

    Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is about so much more than an internet sensation gone viral, it highlights the relentless, yet compassionate pursuit of finding belonging. It places a glaring spotlight on the pros and cons of sharing your life online, while representing caregivers who have lost loved ones unexpectedly and find themselves wondering how life will continue to flourish, through grief, without them. The film shows the manner and lengths that even a child, like Marcel, will go to protect themselves when not feeling safe in their own home. This film not only celebrates the individuality and uniqueness of each person (or shell, in this case), it also highlights the beauty we might find in the small joys and contentment that life might offer beyond material possessions or superficial measures of success.

    Marcel the Shell with Shoes On entreats us to recognize the divine in everyday life, to see the inherent goodness and compassion in the world around us, and to reflect that goodness. This film offers the viewers a values-based framework for how we might recognize and craft belonging in our everyday lives in times of grief and crisis.

Note: 

  • In lieu of an in-person screening for January, we will host a virtual discussion of the film, centering around the theme: Finding Home & Crafting Belonging.

 -------

March Film - Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise: Biography of an Influential Civil Rights Activist and Poet

Directed by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn

In partnership with the Anti-Oppressive Film Series, the annual Pedagogy of Justice Series presents a screening and post-film talkback/discussion of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise: Biography of an Influential Civil Rights Activist and Poet directed by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack as part of the PBS American Masters series.

This event requires a registration: please register for the event via this linked google form!

Description: Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Dr. Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928-May 28, 2014) led a prolific life. As a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, she inspired generations with lyrical modern African American thought that pushed boundaries. Best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Random House), she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. With unprecedented access, filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack trace Dr. Angelou’s incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her life through never-before-seen footage, rare archival photographs and videos and her own words.

Discussion Topic: Demanding Justice, Finding Harmony

Date: Friday, March 15th, 2024, from 2:30pm - 5:30pm

Location:

  • In-person location - Galvin Auditorium, Sullivan Center, Loyola University Chicago Lake Shore Campus
  • Virtual Location - This Zoom Link

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the Asynchronous film link here!

  • The film can be streamed for free through Kanopy for any LUC community member with a LUC UVID

Note: 

 

------

November Film -  More Than A Word: Native American-Based Sports Mascots 

Directed by John Little & Kenn Little

More Than a Word is an exploration of Native American-based mascots, especially the Washington Rdskins, and their impact on real-life attitudes, issues, and policies. Through interviews with scholars, tribal leaders, lawyers, policy experts, activists, and Washington Rdskins fans, the film explores the history of the slanderous term “redskin,” and delves into cultural stereotypes of Native Americans and their relationship to history. Ultimately, the film argues for representations that honor and celebrate the humanity of Indigenous people.

John Little and Kenn Little, co-filmmakers and brothers, are both enrolled members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Together, they are writing Indigenous people into the historical and cultural narrative.

Date: November 10th, 2:30pm - 5:00pm, in Galvin Auditorium - Sullivan Center and virtually via this zoom link

  • 2:30pm - 4:00pm, Film Screening
  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm, Film Discussion

Location: Galvin Auditorium - Sullivan Center & Virtual, Synchronous, via Zoom

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the Asynchronous film link here!

Why this film? 

  • More Than a Word takes us inside the growing grassroots movement to encourage sports leagues at all levels to eliminate Native American-themed mascots and team names. Directed by John and Kenn Little of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the film places the successful, indigenous-led effort to change the name of Washington’s NFL football team within the wider context of Native American history and the long, destructive legacy of racial stereotyping, white supremacy, and cultural appropriation. With eye-opening commentary from Native American scholars and activists, More Than a Word serves as a necessary reminder that words, images, and struggles over meaning have the power to shape history.

Note: 

  • Zoom does not allow the screen-sharing of longform videos and full films, so we offer the asynchronous film link below for our virtual participants. Feel free to sync up your viewing with our start time for the screening, watch through our camera in the auditorium, or watch on your own and join the post-film discussion either virtually or in-person!

------

October Film: Wonderfully Made — LGBTQ+R(eligion)

Directed by Yuval David and produced by Mark McDermott

In partnership with the Institute of Pastoral Studies and the Department of Theology, the Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy’s Anti-Oppressive Film Series presents Wonderfully Made — LGBTQ+R(eligion) directed by Yuval David and produced by Mark McDermott!

Synopsis: Wonderfully Made — LGBTQ+R(eligion) is a combined fine art project and feature-length documentary that together strike at the root of anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes by exploring the challenges and aspirations of LGBTQ+ Catholics. The message, however, applies to any religious tradition that does not fully embrace our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.

Join us at our Wonderfully Made @ LUC event for a full day of multiple film screenings and filmmaker talkbacks, panel discussions and presentations by LUC students, staff, & faculty as well as representatives from local LGBTQ+ organizations, a resource fair, and an art gallery of the images seen in the film! 

Event Date: October 16th, 2023, full day event time: 9:30am - 8:00pm

  • 9:00am-8pm (Open to all LUC students, faculty, & staff)
  • 5:00pm - 8:00pm (Open to the public)

Screenings:

  • 10:30am, Film Screening & post-film Talkback
  • 2:00pm, Film Screening & post-film Talkback
  • 6:00pm, Film Screening & post-film Talkback

Location: Damen Cinema & Sister Jean Multipurpose Room, Damen Student Center, 6511 N. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL, 60660 

Find out more about the film and watch the trailer at www.lgbtqreligion.com 

Why This Film? 

  • In a time where discrimination and violence against LGBTQIA+ individuals are on a rise, and where the source of much of this discrimination stems from religious belief, educational institutions, particularly those of Jesuit heritage, have a mandate to promote equity, inclusion, and social justice.  

    The screenings and subsequent panels and presentations of this event not only support our work at the Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy in providing LUC educators opportunities to engage in continual development in their pedagogical skills, it also promotes our institutional mission and the values of our Ignatian heritage towards Magis (or excellence), a true Cura Personalis (or care for the whole person), and our orientation towards accompaniment and walking/working/laboring with our community of practitioners and learners towards a more transformational, equitable, and just world. 

Learn more about the Wonderfully Made @ LUC event, panels, presentations, and schedule here!

Note: This film event will be held entirely in-person and there will be no asynchronous option for this film.

 

------

September Film: Mosquita Y Mari

Written and Directed by Aurora Guerrero

Mosquita y Mari, a semi-autobiographical movie, written and directed by Aurora Guerrero, is an exquisitely crafted coming of age tale that follows a pair of Latina teens who fall gradually in love against the backdrop of Southeast Los Angeles. When straight A student Yolanda — aka Mosquita decides to help struggling tough girl Mari with her homework, an intense attraction evolves between the two. As their friendship grows, a yearning to explore their strange yet beautiful connection surfaces. Lost in their private world of unspoken affection, lingering gazes, and heart-felt confessions of uncertain futures, Yolanda’s grades begin to slip while Mari’s focus drifts away from her duties at a new job. Mounting pressures at home collide with their new-found desires thus driving Yolanda and Mari’s relationship to the edge, forcing them to choose between their obligations to others and staying true to each other.

Date: September 22nd, 2:30pm - 5:00pm, virtually via this zoom link

  • 2:30pm - 4:00pm, Film Screening
  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm, Film Discussion

Location: Virtual, Synchronous, via Zoom

 

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the Asynchronous film link here!

Why this film? 

  • Mosquita y Mari, is an unassuming jewel that resists all the clichés of a simple young love story. While the film places a spotlight on the burgeoning intimacy between these two young women, it is backlit by its setting in Huntington Park, a struggling, predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Los Angeles County, where the two are high school classmates and neighbors. This film weaves a story of love and struggle and shows how they intertwine with immigrant, first generation, and undocumented status, Latin(x/e) culture, and education.

Note: 

  • Zoom does not allow the screen-sharing of longform videos and full films, so we offer the asynchronous film link below for our virtual participants. Feel free to sync up your viewing with our start time for the screening or watch on your own and join the post-film discussion either virtually or in-person!

 

------

 

2022-2023 AO Film Series Facilitators:

Justin D. Wright, MA

Anti-Oppressive Pedagogies Specialist — Faculty Development, FCIP

 

Dana K. Harmon, PhD, MSW, LICSW

Clinical Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Faculty Scholar in Anti-Oppressive Pedagogy, FCIP

Summer Series '23 - July Film: The Reason I Jump

Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, Directed by Jerry Rothwell

Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, later translated into English by author David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), The Reason I Jump is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida's revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe.

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the Asynchronous film link here!

Why this film? 

  • Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. The film distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

Note: 

  • Zoom does not allow the screen-sharing of longform videos and full films, so we offer the asynchronous film link below for our virtual participants. Feel free to sync up your viewing with our start time for the screening, or watch on your own and join the post-film discussion either virtually or in-person!

 

------

Summer Series - June Film: 4 Short Films -

Expanding Gender: Youth Out Front (2016) & Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret) (1993)

Date: June 21st, 1:00pm - 4:00pm, virtually via this zoom link

  • 1:00 - 2:30, Film Screenings
  • 2:30 - 4:00, Film Discussion 

*1st Engagement: Expanding Gender: Youth Out Front (2016)

(Directors: Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, Jeremy Asher Lynch, Glenn Holsten, J. Mitchel Reed, Lucah Rosenberg-Lee) 

Expanding Gender: Youth Out Front (2016) features three short documentaries exploring the varied identities of trans and gender expansive youth and young adults.

  • In Tomgirl we meet Jake, a confident and lovable gender expansive seven-year-old who invites us into his world of hockey playing and skirt wearing to explore the transformative power of love and support from adults.
  • Monica’s Story traces the journey of resilience and self-acceptance of Monica Rose, a strong young transwoman of color. Despite being rejected by her church and family, Monica sought out support from professionals in the LGTBQ community and today is a proud, confident person with a bright future.
  • In A Place in the Middle, we experience the true story of a young Hawaiian girl who aspires to become the leader of her school’s boys-only hula troupe, and an inspiring teacher who uses traditional culture to empower her.

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the Asynchronous film link here!

Why This Film? 

  • These 3 shorts films allow us to walk alongside our queer youth and to see true and moving stories of love and support for them. These shorts show us the importance of this love in nurturing joy and identity in the youth, in a world where we are often inundated with circumstances that seek to take that joy and pride away from them.

*2nd Engagement: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret) (1993)

Directed by Marlon Riggs

In Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret) (1993) , director Marlon Riggs tells stories of self-transformation in which a once unmentionable “affliction” is forged into a tool of personal and communal empowerment. 

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the Asynchronous film link here!

Why this film? 

  • Through music, poetry, and courageous self-disclosure, five HIV-positive gay Black men (among them poet and performance artist Assotto Saint) discuss their individual confrontations with AIDS, illuminating their journeys through the fear, shame, and stigma that accompanied the disease at the height of the epidemic toward healing, acceptance, and truth. 

Note: 

  • Zoom does not allow the screen-sharing of longform videos and full films, so we offer the asynchronous film link below for our virtual participants. Feel free to sync up your viewing with our start time for the screening, or watch on your own and join the post-film discussion either virtually or in-person!

April 2023 Film: Queen of Glory (2021) directed by Nana Mensah

Queen of Glory is a 2021 American dark comedy-drama film written, directed by, and starring Nana Mensah, in her directorial debut. Set in the Bronx, New York City, it depicts a Ghanaian-American scientist, Sarah Obeng, who is following her married lover to Ohio. When her mother dies suddenly, she bequeaths her daughter a Christian bookstore in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx where Sarah was raised.

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the asynchronous Film Link here.

 

Why this film? This highly emotional film places a spotlight on the difficult choices and life situations of first generation children of immigrant parents and the intricate balancing acts many feel between cultural, familial and oppressive institutions' expectations. Through watching Sara Obeng grapple with the death of her mother, the decisions surrounding her legacy and her own future, the audience is invited to bear witness to the conflict and complexity of Black/Ghanaian/American identity, the difficulty of giving time and space to grief, and the challenging nautre of what it means to begin anew.

Note: Zoom does not allow the screen-sharing of longform videos and full films, so we offer the asynchronous film link below for our virtual participants. Feel free to sync up your viewing with our start time for the screening, or watch on your own and join the post-film discussion either virtually or in-person!

 

---------

March 2023 Film: Fire Song (2015) written and directed by Adam Garnet Jones

Fire Song is a 2015 Canadian drama film, written and directed by Adam Garnet Jones. The film stars Andrew Martin as Shane, a Two-Spirited indigenous teenager. When his sister, Destiny, commits suicide just weeks before he is scheduled to leave his community to attend university, he is forced to wrestle with the decision of whether to follow his dreams or stay home to help support his family. 

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the asynchronous Film Link here!

 

Why this film? Fire Song (2015) sets out to complete the ambitious goal of making the invisible, visible though an evocative narrative. This film takes care to remember the weaponized forgetfulness and ignorance around Queer and Two-Spirited Indigenous peoples and carefully works to cement their presence in-place. Further, this film dynamically embodies the struggles of life both on and beyond the reservation, and candidly portrays the resulting tension community members are torn between upon confronting heavy, oft-ignored topics, such as suicide and poverty.

Content warning: This film deals with matters of suicide, depression, and has mentions of sexual assault/rape.

 

---------

 

February 2023 Film (In partnership with the ): 

Pipeline (2017) written by Dominique Morisseau 

Pipeline is a 2017 play written by Dominique Morisseau. It originally opened off-Broadway on July 10, 2017, and closed on August 27, 2017. Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his upstate private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away?

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the asynchronous Film Link here. 

 

---------

 

January 2023 Film: Sweet Thing (2020) written and directed by Alexandre Rockwell

Sweet Thing (2020) is a film directed and written by Alexandre Rockwell and centers around the lives of two children in contemporary New Bedford, Massachusetts. The story revolves around two siblings and their struggle to find solid ground in the homes of their alcoholic father and negligent mother. The children ultimately run away and find a temporary life for themselves. Deeply intense but ultimately uplifting, Sweet Thing is a poetic rendering of childhood that captures the essence of that time in life when a day can last forever. The friendships, loyalties, and challenges of adolescent youth propel the story into a triumph of childhood hope, joy, and resilience. 

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

Asynchronous Film Link: Find the asynchronous Film Link here (for asynchronous viewing, accessible only with LUC UVID) 

 

---------

 

November 2022 Film: The Watermelon Woman (1996) written, directed, and edited by Cheryl Dunye


Description: The Watermelon Woman is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama film written, directed, and edited by Cheryl Dunye. It stars Dunye as Cheryl, a 25-year-old Black lesbian working a day job in a video store in Philadelphia while trying to make a film about a black actress from the 1930s known for playing the stereotypical "mammy" roles relegated to Black actresses during the period.

 

Why this film?: The Watermelon Woman (1996) employs bold stylistic choices to ultimately challenge that traditional collective consciousness of whiteness and the White male gaze as we know it. By leaning into the subversive sensibilities of New Queer Cinema and taking on a genre-bending pseudo-documentary approach, the film introduces a Black lesbian gaze and lays bare Hollywood’s racist origins. Dunye’s work is also the first feature film directed by a Black lesbian woman and is known as a landmark in New Queer Cinema.

More than its very well-deserved accolades, The Watermelon Woman shines so brightly as a guiding star in cinema because it offers a deeply intersectional and boisterous look at the day-to-day meanderings of Black queer lives, and lived-in experiences of Black lesbian women, their sexual exploits, and both the deep struggles and joys they face—all mediated by their own gaze. 

 

Asynchronous Film Link: Here is the clickable film link to The Watermelon Woman through Kanopy (for asynchronous viewing, accessible only with LUC UVID) 

Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

 

---------

 

October 2022 Film: Tangerine (2015) written and directed by Sean Baker

Description: Tangerine is a 2015 American comedy-drama film directed by Sean Baker, and written by Baker and Chris Bergoch, starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, and James Ransone. The story follows a transgender sex worker who discovers her boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her. The film was shot with three iPhone 5S smartphones. 

Why this Film?: Through its production style, storytelling form, and representation, tangerine renders to us a world rich with lived experience. A world where we follow a group of intersection individuals through their own lives, on their own terms. While we experience the reality of their everyday lives and the deep and harrowing struggles therein, we also experience the ways they craft community, care, love, and joy around and in spite of those struggles.  

CW: Tangerine includes some violence, including death, assault, and injury.

Asynchronous Film LinkHere is the film link to Tangerine through Kanopy (for asynchronous viewing, accessible only with LUC UVID) 
Trailer: Watch the trailer at this clickable link!

 

---------

 

Find information on our past film series offerings here!