Can a Documentary Change the World?


Black and Cuba director Robin J. Hayes discusses “Socially Engaged Art as a Tool for Social Justice” at UnionDocs Socially Engaged Documentary Art Seminar Sunday June 21, 2015 10:30am 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211. For filmmakers, artists and cultural producers, the seminar offers vital information about the theory and practice of documentary making with a purpose. Tell them Progressive Pupil sent you and get 20% off conference registration with promocode SEDA15. Learn more at  Share with a friend who wants to make films for their communities.

Black Resistance Screening List: “Shoot The Messenger”

Still from "Shoot The Messenger" Film. Photo Courtesy of BBC

Watch “Shoot The Messenger” Film

Shoot the Messenger is a BBC film written by Sharon Foster and directed by Ngozi Onwurah. The film aired in 2006, receiving a mixed reception. The film is an extremely provocative story that follows a young Black man in his own experience with racial self-hatred. It is clear that the filmmakers consider negative stereotypes a realistic hurdle to be crossed and shamelessly embrace them. However, if the satirically negative outlook of the film can be tolerated, there may be some worthwhile messages to absorb, including an analysis of the prison system in the U.K. and its treatment of Black citizens.


How can I see “Black and Cuba?”

Black and Cuba QuotesThank you for all of your encouragement and enthusiasm about Black and Cuba. At work-in-progress screenings in San Juan, East Harlem and Greenwich Village, for audiences from all walks of life, we’ve heard tremendous support for the project and a strong desire to learn more about the AfroCuban experience and how we can overcome racism and class.

We are hard at work incorporating your input into our next draft of the film so that Black and Cuba can be a long-lasting tool for educators, students, activists and allies working to address the consequences of racial and economic injustice. In addition to conducting research and editing, we are raising money for the project so we can provide you with a film that is beautiful, inspiring and informative.


Freedom “Now!”

Now! is a short film directed in 1965 by Cuban filmmaker Santiago Alvarez and produced by Cuba’s state-run filmmaking agency ICAIC (El Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos) that empathetically portrays the African American struggle for civil rights in the United States.

Progressive Pupil learned of this film from the H-Net email list on African American Studies an outlet for informational exchange between professionals, faculty and advanced students in the field of African American Studies.

Black Panther Party Film Festival

Produced by the Black Panther Commemoration Committee, NY in conjunction with Maysles Cinema.  Artwork on display by Sophia Dawson

We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.

The box office is open for advance ticket purchases Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 12 – 6 pm, and one hour before the start of all events. If the door is locked during these hours, knock on the store front window. Ticket-holders arriving 15 minutes before showtime are guaranteed a seat inside the theater. Overflow seating available for sold out shows.

Tickets: $10 suggested donation, unless otherwise noted.

Members only: Reserve your seat at

Full schedule of events after the jump.

Five Fundamental Favorites for Your Rainy Day Blues

With April showers gracing our New York City streets, we’ve certainly needed an afternoon pick-me-up on most days. Here are five fun films that put a smile on our face no matter what horrendous weather is happening outside our window.


Why Did You Make “Black and Cuba”?

Director Robin Hayes describes her inspiration to make “Black and Cuba,” our feature-length documentary that helps us answer the question: How will we overcome race and class?

We are excited to announce a New York City work-in-progress screening on May 17th from 7-9 PM at Cinema Village (22 East 12th St) followed by  a Q & A session with the director and a reception from 9-10:30.

To help us complete this film, purchase your tickets and find other perks on our Indiegogo page.

by Robin Hayes

Apps for the Conscious Organizer

According to the Pew Research Center, 83% of American adults own a cell phone and 42% of them identify their cell phone as a smartphone. These numbers say a lot about the trajectory of technology and social media usage. As a grassroots organizer working with diasporic communities, it is smart to pay attention to these trends since the Pew Research Center goes on to say smartphone use is highest among the affluent, well-educated, those under the age of 45 and people of color. Not only can smartphone Apps be a great tool to reach your desired audience, it can also be a wonderful way to raise funds and recruit volunteers. In this series, I explore useful Apps for community organizers, scholars, teachers, artists and students who have a particular interest in the African diaspora. If you have any suggestions for Apps I should feature, let me know in the comments!


Black History Metropolis

Jet Magazine, February 10th, 1986 pg. 14

Black History Month is in full swing and we have been enjoying all that New York City has to offer.  If you haven’t had the chance to check out some BHM events around the city, it’s not too late.  Here are some of the events we recommend (whole calendar after the jump). All events are free unless otherwise noted. If you know of any events to add, send us an e-mail at