City Sentinel ReporterOKLAHOMA CITY, OK — As part of Black History Month, the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Black Heritage Committee will present an African American film festival and workshop at the Oklahoma History Center on Saturday, February 9, from noon to 5 p.m.The event will feature local filmmakers and films pertaining to the state of Oklahoma.The festival is free and open to the public, with limiting seating. The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City.February is Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, a federally recognized, nationwide celebration that honors the significant role that African-Americans have played in shaping US history.The celebration of Black History Month was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.The majority of the films to be showcased are inaugural efforts by Oklahomans interested in the state’s African American history.
At 2:30 p.m. speakers will include Emmy Award-winning OETA TV series and documentary producer, writer and program host, Robert Burch; and ShIron Butterfly Ray, film educator and author, and the founder and director of Muskogee’s Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival. The two will lead a discussion for amateur filmmakers on the process of documentary production.
The workshop will be moderated by Joyce Jackson, publisher and editor of Shades of Oklahoma magazine. It will focus on the resources available to filmmakers and how to submit a documentary for inclusion in film festivals.
“A first of its kind project that’s long overdue,” Jackson said. “African Americans documenting their own story in film.”
Featured films to be screened are “Celebrating the Lady: 2nd Street, the Making of the Charlie Christian Jazz Festival,” by Harold Jones; “Forest Anderson: The Black Oklahoma Millionaire,” by David P. Lee; “Douglass High School: A Legacy of Striving for Excellence,” by Stanford White; and “From Dunjee to Star Spencer,” by Willie Baker.
The festival will also include feature films “And They Called Us Colored,” by Dr. Tonya Anderson; “Where the Legends Went,” by Oscar D. Ray; and never-before-seen films of late Langston University historian-in-residence Currie Ballard, presented by Bruce Fisher.
After each showing the filmmaker will be available for questions from the audience.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma.
For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.