Scribe Video Center, located at 3908 Lancaster Avenue, is a true boon to Philadelphia and the region as a hub of creative empowerment. Through its education and advocacy, access to equipment and mentorship, and their promotion of artistic vision particularly among youth, Scribe makes a measurable impact on communities as they endeavor to author their own narratives. Scribe offers monthly classes, workshops, talks, and screenings that explore and teach the crafts of filmmaking, storytelling, screenwriting, and documentary practice. This month, Scribe presents three thematically unified documentary screenings and events focused on activism catalyzed by phobias and racial injustices, celebrating the individuals who carry the burdensome torch of change and the craft of filmmaking which reveals their journeys.
A retrospect on Tony Buba
From April 4 to 6, 2019, audiences can attend Body of Work, a retrospective of Pennsylvania-based filmmaker Tony Buba. “Since the 1970s, Buba has been making films about his hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. He has made shorts and features, documentaries and narratives, chronicling the lives of individual people and the struggles of the town itself,” Scribe informs BSR. Struggles in Steel: A Story of African-American Steel Workers, and We Are Alive: The Fight to Save Braddock Hospital are among the featured works. Buba’s oeuvre is a testament to the narrative and dramatic potential within any community and shows that a practice of focused attention can reveal that drama to anyone in search of a subject and shed light on otherwise hidden struggles.
Calling her Ganda
If you missed PJ Raval’s Call Her Ganda at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Fest last fall, you have one more chance to see it in a community setting on Friday, April 19, 2019, at 7pm. Director PJ Raval will be at the screening in person and will lead a master class on documentary cinematography on April 20. Call Her Ganda details the murder of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina trans woman, by Joseph Pemberton, then a 19-year-old US marine. “The film focuses on a trio of women connected by their struggle for justice”: Jennifer’s mother, Julita; attorney Virgie Suarez; and journalist Meredith Talusan. Raval fuses “personal tragedy, human rights activism and the little-known history and complex aftermath of US imperial rule in the Philippines,” Scribe says.
Call Her Ganda is preceded by Scribe Video Center’s 2018 Documentary History Project for Youth, Life After Life. Nadja Mogileski and Chamar Dancy-Kegler’s documentary “follows one family and their community as they confront the loss of a young man and recounts the resilience it takes to continue living after tragedy.”
The hushed white fright
Rounding out April’s documentary programming on Friday, April 26, is White Fright (2015), which concerns the hushed recent history of “Robert Doggart, a white, 63-year-old Christian minister arrested for plotting an attack against Islamberg, a small gated African American Muslim community in Hancock, New York, inspired by claims on Fox News that the community was a terrorist training camp.” Though Doggart was convicted, but trauma and fear linger among the roughly 200 people of Islamberg.
White Fright is preceded by Masjidullah: Struggle for Human Excellence (2014), about the titular Philadelphia-based African American Islamic community organization’s growth and future vision.