Mountains that Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama

A Conversation on Life, Struggles & Liberation

A film by C.A. Griffith & H.L.T. Quan

2009 | 97 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 111015

SYNOPSIS

Thirteen years, two radical activist all-stars-one conversation. Internationally renowned scholar, professor and writer Angela Davis and 89-year-old grassroots organizer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yuri Kochiyama spent over a decade conversing intimately about personal histories and influences that shaped them and their overlapping experiences. MOUNTAINS THAT TAKE WING offers the gift of these two remarkable women’s lives, sharing the pair’s recorded exchanges in 1996 and 2008. The film’s unique format honors the scope and depth of their knowledge on topics ranging from Jim Crow laws and Japanese American internment camps, to Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s and gay liberation movements, to today’s campaigns for political prisoners and prison reform. Intercut with compelling period footage, Davis and Kochiyama’s cogent observations, keen analyses, and steadfast resolve to create a more equitable, humane world offer inspiring lessons in empowerment and community building for current and future generations.

PRESS

“What is so striking about this film is its living history lessons, the breadth of singular and plural movements, the shared humanity and generations present in the room with subjects Yuri Kochiyama and Angela Y. Davis.”

San Francisco Bay View

“Illustrated with rare footage of extraordinary speeches and events from the late 1800’s to the 1960’s through today, the film explores the critical role women, youth and crosscultural, crossracial alliances played in…important social movements.”

The Adams Report

"…illuminates a subaltern history of courage and activism across racial/ethnic borders--an internationalist history that is an important (and forgotten) legacy of the civil rights, labor, feminist, and anti-imperialist struggles of the second half of the twentieth century. An invaluable film for students in Women’s and Gender Studies, Black Studies, Asian American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, History, and Political Science."

Chandra Talpade Mohanty Dept. of Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University

"…offers a refreshing counterhistory of the twentieth-century U.S. freedom struggle, documenting conversations that the two women had over a twelve-year period."

Signs Journal of Women in Culture & Society

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • San Francisco Black Film Festival, Winner, St. Clair Bourne Award for Best Feature Documentary
  • Some Prefer Cake Lesbian Film Festival - Bologna, Italy - Winner, Audience Award for Best Feature Film
  • COMMFEST (Global) Community Film Festival - Toronto, Canada - Winner, MADA Award (Make A Difference Award) for Best Feature Documentary
  • Mid-Atlantic Black Film Festival - Norfolk, Virginia - Finalist, Best Feature Documentary
  • Frameline - San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival
  • Harlem International Film Festival
  • La Femme International Film Festival – Los Angeles, California
  • Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series – Brooklyn, NY
  • International Film Festival South Africa – Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.
  • This Human World: International Human Rights Film Festival – Vienna, Austria
  • Pan African Film Festival - Los Angeles
  • Nominated for a 2011 American Library Association Notable Video Award for Adults.

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

C.A. Griffith

C. A. (Crystal) Griffith is an independent filmmaker and Associate Professor of Film and Media Production in the School of Theatre and Film at Arizona State University (ASU). Griffith was raised in Washington, D.C., sojourned in Barcelona, Spain at age 16 where she learned fluent Spanish and developed a passion for filmmaking. She received her B.A. in Communication from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in Art Studio from the University of California - Santa Barbara. Griffith's film credits include JUICE (1992), award-winning PBS and BBC documentaries such as A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL: THE LIFE AND WORK OF AUDRE LORDE (cinematographer), BRANFORD MARSALIS: THE MUSIC TELLS YOU (camera operator) and DEPECHE MODE 101 (both directed by D.A. Pennebaker), EYES ON THE PRIZE I & II, St.Clair Bourne's MAKING 'DO THE RIGHT THING' and music videos from Tracy Chapman and Public Enemy to The Rolling Stones. Griffith's publications appear in Reinventing North America (forthcoming), Filming Difference, Black Feminist Cultural Criticism, Black Women Film and Video Artists, The Wild Good, the journals Meridians, SIGNS and CALYX. Recruited to help build ASU's new film production program, she relocated to Phoenix in 2006. Previous academic appointments: Columbia College Chicago, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A finalist for the 2010 Sundance Screenwriters Labs, Griffith's feature-length screenplay, BLUES FOR THE SEA is adapted from her short screenplay, winner of the 2007 Martha Muñoz Award of the Latino Screenplay Competition. Also awarded a 2004 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Media Arts, and a 2000 Panavision/Kodak University Outreach Program Grant, Griffith's short film, BORDER.LINE...FAMILY PICTURES won the Vision in Color Award of the New England Film/Video Festival. In 1999, she received an in-kind grant from Digital Media's Avid Feature Film Camp for her film, DEL OTRO LADO (THE OTHER SIDE). Shot on location in Mexico City and screened extensively at U.S. and international film festivals, Griffith directed, co-edited and co-produced this Spanish language, independent feature on love, AIDS and immigration.

Griffith is also co-founder of QUAD Productions, a non-profit media collective focused on the research, development and production of film and video projects that support and effect progressive social consciousness. QUAD produces short, social justice themed documentaries, provides media training to progressive community organizations and frequently collaborates with local, national and international organizations and individual activists with forward thinking and action. (02/11)

H.L.T. Quan

H.L.T. Quan is a political theorist and documentary filmmaker. An Assistant Professor of Justice & Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, and an Affiliate Faculty in African/African American Studies, Asian Pacific American Studies and Women's and Gender Studies, she received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California - Santa Barbara. Her research centers on race, gender, and economic and radical thought. She is currently writing a book about savage developmentalism and its tendentious propensity to secure order and capitalist expansion. This study investigates foreign policy conducts by Japan in military Brazil, the United States in occupied Iraq, and China in Sudan amidst humanitarian disasters. She is also working on a collaborative project on the historical and political development of Black capitalism in the United States, a 17-city comparison.

Quan has produced, hosted and served as a regular correspondent on radio and community access television public affairs programs for almost twenty years. Her work has been published in Social Identities, Race and Class, Meridians, SIGNS, and the edited volumes, Race & Human Rights, and Global Africa.

Quan is also co-founder of QUAD Productions, a non-profit media collective focused on the research, development and production of film and video projects that support and effect progressive social consciousness. QUAD produces short, social justice themed documentaries, provides media training to progressive community organizations and frequently collaborates with local, national and international organizations and individual activists with forward thinking and action. (02/11)

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