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 Summer Film Series Dates: Join us virtually this summer on Thursdays, June 21st and July 19th, from 1:00PM - 4:00PM. See more information about the films and find the virtual links under the "Films in the Current Series" tab below!

The 2022-2023 series will be be focused on independent films reflective of specific communities/community concerns as a way of pushing against the oppressive and hierarchal notions of films that are made mainstream through the "blockbuster" and Hollywood production processes. The films are largely centered on anti-oppression, 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 and post-film discussions will be held in-person, though virtual, asynchronous viewings of the films will be offered. 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.

Summer Series - June Film: TBD


Summer Series - July Film: TBD


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

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!