American Justice on Trial

By C.J. Hirschfield

April 21, 2022 (updated April 23)

Just as the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary ATTICA effectively used historical footage and interviews with key participants to illustrate our country’s history of systemic racism, so too does the excellent new documentary AMERICAN JUSTICE ON TRIAL.

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MAMA BEARS RISING

By C.J. Hirschfield

March 30, 2022

Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a letter calling on professionals, including teachers and doctors, to report parents who give their trans children gender-affirming care. And even though the ACLU says it’s not legally binding, it is just another in a long line of assaults on trans and LGBTQ rights in that state.

But look out, Abbott. Texas trans kindergartner Kai and her mom—actually, lots of moms like her—are uniting and fighting for the rights of their LGBTQ kids. And guess what? They’re all devout and conservative Christians whose Mama Bears network of private Facebook groups exist in every state, numbering over 30,000 members at last count. Continue reading

UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAPPENED AT ATTICA

Ashia Lance Interviews Stanley Nelson

Co-Directors Stanley Nelson and Traci Curry brilliantly reshape race narrative in ATTICA by giving voice to the unheard minorities and disrupting the dominant historical narrative. It is a strategy that Nelson has used in his many films including THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL, JONESTOWN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PEOPLE’S TEMPLE and MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL.

Stanley Nelson Making 'America Revisited II' for Independent Lens - Variety Continue reading

ATTICA-FIVE DAYS

By C.J. Hirschfield

Key Art for ATTICA. Photo credit: Courtesy of SHOWTIME.

Teaching critical race theory in schools enrages the right wing. This theory states that U.S. social institutions—including the criminal justice system—are laced with racism embedded in rules and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race.

On the 50th anniversary of the largest prison rebellion in U.S. history, it is high time we examine exactly what took place at Attica; why, and how. Not for the purpose of blaming a race, but to educate, and to inspire us to not repeat the mistakes of the past.  Emmy-winning director Stanley Nelson and co-director Traci A. Curry have provided just that with their excellent new documentary, ATTICA. Continue reading

A Concerto is a (Beautiful) Conversation with Michael Morgan

By C.J. Hirschfield

(Editor’s note: On August 20, 2021 Michael Morgan unexpectedly passed away at age 63 from an infection. In the weeks prior to being admitted to the hospital he had conducted at the San Francisco Symphony and Bear Valley Music Festival. The Oakland Symphony paid tribute to him.)

In April, 2021, ten documentary short subject films were short-listed for this year’s Oscars. At their best, documentary shorts tell a compelling story that, while lacking in length (they must be under 40 minutes) still manage to grab and hold us, leaving us richer for the experience.

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