MEM-RES Laboratory / Events / Around Abolition Film Festival                                                                                                           
← Back Home

Around Abolition Film Festival

The Memory and Resistance Laboratory (MEM-RES) announces the Around Abolition Film Festival, a month-long run of films that engage with the urgent question of abolition.  The festival runs through the month of May and features five film screenings as well as virtual conversations every Thursday with the filmmakers and MEM-RES organizers. The festival includes The Infiltrators by Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra, Criminal Queers by Eric Stanley and Chris Vargas, Alunsina by Kiri Dalena, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes by Brett Story and Re-Visions of Abolition by Setsu Shigematsu. These films share the perspective of Dreamers who risk all to stop deportations, radical trans/queer vibrancy in the face of the prison industrial complex, children as they face the trauma caused by the war on drugs in Duterte’s Philippines, landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives, women caught in the criminal carceral system, and scholar-activists of the abolition movement. 

In conjunction with the festival, MEM-RES is excited to announce that each week we will be sharing selected videos from Message to the Grassroots, a public access program produced by the Coalition Against Police Abuse (CAPA).  CAPA was a grassroots organization, active from the 1970's to the 2000’s, which worked to prevent, expose, resist, and find justice for police abuse.  The CAPA archive is located at the Southern California Library and will be developed into a channel to make the videos publicly accessible later this year.

Across the five films and conversations, we hope the Around Abolition Film Festival will support and amplify the work of all those who have been in the streets uprising and all those who have been tirelessly organizing against anti-blackness and for the abolition of policing and the prison industrial complex.  With broken hearts, we honor the memory of the most recent victims of police violence, Ma’Khia Bryant, Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo.  We hope this film festival will offer some space for critical reflection and some impetus for those new to abolition to help us continue to build the movement.

The Around Abolition Film Festival is produced with the support of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside, The Southern California Library, the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and the Center for Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.



We are currently offering a month-long all-access pass for all of our films with a suggested donation of $50!
CLICK HERE


Please refer to the schedule below for details about our film screenings and conversations:


Ongoing


Week of Monday, May 3rd 2021


Screening of The Infiltrators by Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra
+ Conversation with Alex Rivera //
May 6th  2-3pm PST
To register: CLICK HERE

“The Infiltrators” is a docu-thriller that tells the true story of young immigrants who get arrested by Border Patrol, and put in a shadowy for-profit detention center–on purpose. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical Dreamers who are on a mission to stop deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. However, when Marco and Viri try to pull off their heist–a kind of ‘prison break’ in reverse–things don’t go according to plan.

By weaving together documentary footage of the real infiltrators with scripted re-enactments of the events inside the detention center, “THE INFILTRATORS” tells this incredible true story in a boundary-crossing new cinematic language. The Hollywood Reporter said of the multiple award-winning film “rather than feeling like homework, watching it is a thrill.”



CAPA Presents:

 
Message to the Grassroots: Why We All Need to Support the Gang Truce Now!

The beginning is a short video created by Los Angeles community members documenting the LA Gang Truce, and how everyone is negatively affected by gang violence. Different community members discuss how to move Black youth away from gangs and into more productive and safe activities. It then segues to an interview discussion amongst Zinzun and the other community activists, and how the Gang Truce has better united the people, in order to better protect themselves from police violence whilst maintaining a stance of nonviolence. The final section is when callers call in, where one person asks about colorism in the Black community, and the other caller asks for a plan of action of dismantling racism and creating peace with all Black folks.



Upcoming


Week of Monday, May 10th 2021


Screening of Criminal Queers by Eric Stanley and Chris Vargas
+ Conversation with Eric Stanley //
May 13th  2-3pm PST
To register: CLICK HERE

Criminal Queers visualizes a radical trans/queer struggle against the prison industrial complex and toward a world without walls. Remembering that prison breaks are both a theoretical and material practice of freedom, this film imagines what spaces might be opened up if crowbars, wigs, and metal files become tools for transformation. Follow Yoshi, Joy, Susan and Lucy as they fiercely read everything from the Human Rights Campaign and hate crimes legislation to the non-profitization of social movements. Criminal Queers grows our collective liberation by working to abolish the multiple ways our hearts, genders, and desires are confined. (directed by Chris Vargas & Eric A. Stanley, 2020) The beginning is a short video created by Los Angeles community members documenting the LA Gang Truce, and how everyone is negatively affected by gang violence. Different community members discuss how to move Black youth away from gangs and into more productive and safe activities. It then segues to an interview discussion amongst Zinzun and the other community activists, and how the Gang Truce has better united the people, in order to better protect themselves from police violence whilst maintaining a stance of nonviolence. The final section is when callers call in, where one person asks about colorism in the Black community, and the other caller asks for a plan of action of dismantling racism and creating peace with all Black folks.



Week of Monday, May 17th 2021


Screening of Alunsina by Kiri Dalena
+ Conversation with Kiri Dalena //
May 20th 2-3pm PST
To register: CLICK HERE

In Alunsina, Dalena explores both the potentials and limits of engagement within a community facing trauma. Working closely with human rights organisations, she finds herself documenting the struggles of children and families in an urban settlement severely affected by the government’s declaration of war against drugs—an ideology that has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users, and has left hundreds of children whose parents died as victims.



Week of Monday, May 24th 2021


Screening of The Prison in Twelve Landscapes by Brett Story
+ Conversation with Brett Story //
May 27th 2-3pm PST
To register: CLICK HERE

More people are imprisoned in the United States at this moment than in any other time or place in history, yet the prison itself has never felt further away or more out of sight. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a film about the prison in which we never see a penitentiary. Instead, the film unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives, from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires, to a Bronx warehouse full of goods destined for the state correctional system, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs.



Week of Monday, May 31st 2021


Screening of Re-Visions of Abolition by Setsu Shigematsu
+ Conversation with Setsu Shigematsu //
June 3rd 2-3pm PST
To register: CLICK HERE

Part I “Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex” weaves together the voices of women caught in the criminal carceral system and scholar-activists of the abolition movement, explicating its foundations in slavery, capitalism, and the racial-gendered violence it perpetuates. The film features Susan Burton who established A New Way of Life, a group of transition homes for women coming home from prison in South Los Angeles.

Part II “Abolition Past, Present and Future” documents the recent history of the prison abolition movement through the organizing efforts of Critical Resistance and explores the meaning of abolitionist politics. By focusing on the collaboration between Critical Resistance Los Angeles Chapter and A New Way of Life, and seeing how ongoing PIC abolitionist work draws from other liberation movements, this film unfolds visions of abolition as an ongoing struggle for freedom from destructive carceal systems.