Witness: Black Independent Film

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Screens through February 18 at the Ohio State University Wexner Center for the Arts.

Per screening: $8 general public, $6 students, Wex members, and seniors

Join us for an eclectic, five-night series exploring the African American independent filmmaking scenes in New York, Los Angeles, and beyond. Witness offers a much-needed focus on the pioneers who created landmark, often radical films with meager resources: from classics by Charles Burnett, Kathleen Collins, Spike Lee, Spencer Williams, and Billy Woodberry, to more recent works by Arthur Jafa (who visits to introduce Dreams are Colder Than Death) and Khalik Allah.

Spanning more than 70 years, Witness explores a wide range of subject matter—poverty, faith, civil rights, and cultural identity—as told through wildly varying genres, from stark drama and documentary to horror. Made at a time before African American directors received Hollywood support, the films featured here are not just major works of cinema, but vital acts of honesty, defiance, and in some cases, creative revolt.


She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986)
Field Niggas (Khalik Allah, 2014)
Thu, Jan 21 | 7 PM
2nd film 8:35 PM

Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins, 1982)
Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy Woodberry, 1984)
Thu, Jan 28 | 7 PM
2nd film 8:40 PM

The Blood of Jesus (Spencer Williams, 1941)
Followed by three short films
The Cry of Jazz (Edward Bland, 1959)
When It Rains (Charles Burnett, 1995)
I Am Somebody (Madeline Anderson, 1970)
Sat, Jan 30 | 7 PM
2nd program 8 PM

Arthur Jafa in person
Dreams Are Colder Than Death (Arthur Jafa, 2014)
Thu, Feb 4 | 7 PM

Ganja & Hess (Bill Gunn, 1973)
Thu, Feb 18 | 7 PM

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