Friday, March 4, 2016 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Pollock Theater, UCSB

Screening format: 16mm preservation print, courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive (97 Mins)

Director: Haile Gerima

Starring: Barbara O. Jones, Johnny Weathers

There is no admission charge for this event, but a reservation is recommended in order to guarantee a seat.

Join us for an evening featuring Bush Mama, the breathtaking 1975 film by Haile Gerima. A rare screening of the recently-restored 16mm film will be followed by a conversation led by UCSB Department of Film and Media Studies Professors Anna Everett and Ross Melnick with Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak, Director of the UCLA Film and Television Archive and co-editor of the recent collection documenting the archive’s restoration of this and other LA Rebellion films.

With Bush Mama, director Haile Gerima—a key member of the influential independent film movement referred to as the LA Rebellion—offers a deeply moving portrait of Dorothy (Barbara O. Jones), beset on all sides by injustices and cruelty, most often through state-appointed agents who harass her, her child and her partner, T.C. (Johnny Weathers). T.C.’s incarceration for a crime he did not commit, and the ramifications both direct and indirect that ripple out from this trauma, including daily abuse meted out by the state and her community ultimately catalyze Dorothy’s ideological transformation

Bush Mama is a powerful critique of the systemic historical injustices of African American life, set in Los Angeles of the mid-seventies: poverty, unequal treatment under the medical and criminal justice systems, police brutality, disenfranchisement, and alienation figure prominently in this tragic, but ultimately hopeful film. Shot on 16mm, and opening with documentary footage of the LAPD harassing Gerima and his crew during the making of the film, Bush Mama is a crucial work in terms of American alternatives to classical Hollywood, Black auteur cinema, and American social and political discourse.

Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak has been Director of UCLA Film & Television Archive and Professor for Critical Studies since 2007. He was previously Director of Archives & Collections at Universal Studios, Director of the Munich Filmmuseum and Senior Curator, George Eastman House. He has held professorships at the University of Rochester, the Munich Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen and the University of Salzburg. His book publications include: “Film and Photo in the 1920s” (1979), “Helmar Leski - Pioneer of Israeli Cinema” (1983), “Anti-Nazi-Films Made by German Jewish Refugees in Hollywood” (1985), “Making Images Move: Photographers and Avant-Garde Cinema” (1997), “Lovers of Cinema: The First American Film Avant-Garde 1919-1945” (1995) and “The Dream Merchants: Making and Selling Films in Hollywood's Golden Age” (1989). He has also published 250 articles and reviews in all manner of film historical subjects in English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish and Hebrew publications. Named an Academy Scholar in 2006, he has just completed a book on the designer Saul Bass, “The Hand and the Eye.”

Anna Everett is a Professor of Film, Television and New Media Studies at UCSB. Her publications include the books Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909-1949; Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media, for the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media, Youth, and Learning program; her 2009 award-winning book Digital Diaspora: A Race for Cyberspace; and the edited volume Pretty People. She is a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, among others. She is completing a book on President Obama, social media and millennials. 




Ross Melnick specializes in media industry history and analysis, film, radio, and television history, archival theory and practice, silent cinema, early radio and media convergence, newsfilm, and U.S. and global film exhibition. His most recent book is American Showman: Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935 (Columbia University Press, 2012). His articles have been published in Cinema Journal, Film History, The Moving Image, and Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television (forthcoming).




This event is sponsored by The Carsey-Wolf Center, UCSB Library’s 2016 program UCSB Reads: Just Mercy, the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and the Department of Film and Media Studies.