Brothers and Sisters,
Comrades and Friends,

It is a pleasure to speak at this 9th Black International Cinema Program. I have had the opportunity to be involved when it started in Berlin, and I’m very pleased to be able to join in again here in Chicago.

An opening ceremony is meant to combine celebration with introduction. We celebrate the victory contained in implementation. Good ideas are essential, but what is truly wonderful is when we are able to carry out our good ideas on a practical level. Indeed, this Black International Cinema Program is just such a wonderful project. It’s a good idea, and it’s been carried out as a practical project.

We are preparing to see four days of cinema, very special cinema. Most of this is from the alternative studios of Black and third world film makers. There is a great deal to be said for the cinema coming out of the Hollywood, how the Black Latino and Asian film makers are contesting the mainstream canon. However, the truly exciting cultural battle front is with the new film makers operating outside of this market place.

This is a film festival that allows you to measure the creative pulse of the 1990’s, to ride the innovative cutting edge of new cinema, to anticipate the feature length films of the next decade by watching the 15 to 30 minute films of today. This is art, this is social critique, this is our political culture.

Most people get their film images on television. The average US household has the TV set on about 50 hours per week. In Black households this is 77 hours per week. The consciousness of the population is being shaped by film. Once you see the kinds of films being shown in this film festival you will see how liberating TV could be if we were in control of programming and not the Hollywood film merchants.

Again, welcome to the festival. Thanks and praise for the wonderful work of Donald and Gayle McKinney Griffith. Thank you for coming.


Written and Presented by
Prof. Dr. Abdul Alkalimat
During the Opening Ceremony
9th Black International Cinema
Chicago Filmmakers – Chicago, Feb. 24th, 1994



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FountainheadŪ Tanz Theatre
The Collegium - Forum & Television Program
FountainheadŪ Distribution - Film & Anthologies
Classic In Black
Portraits and Poems


Transnational and Intercultural Diplomacy

Black International Cinema Berlin

Germany & U.S.A.

MAY 4 - 8, 2011

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