Learn the life story and experience the cinematic works of Oscar Micheaux, the most important African American filmmaker of the early 20th century. Micheaux made the first feature-length race film and was the first African American to produce a a feature-length film with sound. He challenged stereotypes and shattered expectations for African American artists as storytellers and DIY business moguls.
Oscar Micheaux made his way to Montclair where he married actress and filmmaker Alice Burton Russell in 1926 and lived here until his death in 1951.
Each event will be a screening and discussion. Tickets are available for each film or the entire series at The Montclair Public Library. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets or learn more!
Feb. 11 – BODY AND SOUL (1925, a remastered silent film) – Artist and lecturer Onnie Strother will discuss the importance of Micheaux’s work from the silent film era to the introduction of talkies. Paul Robeson takes on his first feature film role in Body and Soul. Strother will also discuss the importance of the film Within Our Gates and Micheaux’s commitment to uplifting of the imagery of African Americans in general.
Feb. 18 – THE GIRL FROM CHICAGO (1932) – Local historian Betty Holloway will discuss Micheaux’s Montclair connection including those shown through various scenes in the film. Holloway will challenge the audience to examine Micheaux’s filmmaking style with a critical evaluation of his overarching themes about good and evil in an attempt to uplift the race.
Feb. 25 – SWING (1938) – Holloway and Strother will discuss Micheaux’s depiction of art and culture in the African American community as compared to Hollywood productions and caricatures of the time.