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Preview: “Spirits of Rebellion” – A Documentary Film About The L.A. Rebellion Film Movement

Preview: "Spirits of Rebellion" - A Documentary Film About The L.A. Rebellion Film Movement

I actually don’t believe there’s ever been a film/documentary that told their story has there? I can’t recall one at the moment. But if there has been one, I’m sure someone reading this will say so.

Regardless, even if there has been one, I’d say that this is still a group that deserves still more notoriety, because there seems to still be a general lack of awareness of the filmmakers within the movement, and the significant body of work they created. I only just realized this morning that there isn’t even a Wikipedia page for the L.A. Rebellion. Perform a search and you get a Los Angeles-based Rugby team.

Unless I’m just blind or something… feel free to search on your own.

And if there really isn’t one, we need to create one. I’ll lead the charge on that!

But thanks to Zeinabu Irene Davis who alerted me about her documentary, Spirits of Rebellion, which, as she notes on the film’s website, “documents the lives and work of a small group of critically acclaimed, but as of yet relatively unknown group of black filmmakers and media artists known as the Los Angeles Rebellion, the first sustained movement in the United States by a collective of minority filmmakers that aimed to reimagine the production process so as to represent, reflect on, and enrich the day to day lives of people in their own communities.

There’s a lot more where that came from, and you can read it all HERE.

And in case you’re not familiar with the filmmakers who made up the movement, here are a few names you should be familiar with: Julie Dash, Charles Burnett, Haile Gerima, Billy Woodberry, and Larry Clark.

The film is still a work-in-progress, and will be screened as such at the upcoming UCLA L.A. Rebellion retrospective that begins next month; our man on the West Coast, Brandon Wilson, will be covering the event for us, seeing as many titles as he can, and writing about them here – especially those that aren’t as well-known.

Spirits of Rebellion will be one of them.

I also plan to chat with Zeinabu Irene Davis, who is also a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego.

For now, here’s a preview of the documentary:

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Jamaa Fanaka

Hey, I’m Jamaa Fanaka and I made history by becoming the first student filmmaker to finance (with competitive grants from such institutions as the UCLA Black Studies Center, the American Film Institute, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the New York State Council for the Arts and that grandest of institutions, my parents) write, produce, direct and gain international theatrical distribution for three feature films made as part of the curricula at a film school. It was my opinion that film was meant to reach the largest audience that one coudl reach, because even if you have the cure for cancer it doesn’t matter if you are not able to communicate that cure to the masses. ALL my films are intellectually autobiographical, and I felt blessed to be able to express myself to the world through the medium of film. I know and admire each and every filmmaker that you chose to mention so please don’t get my words twisted.To me, the truly magical thing about the LA Rebellion was the grand individuality of its members and their courage at getting their ideas across, come what may. Friend-for-life, Jamaa Fanaka Ps. My friend Ben Caldwell made experimental films that were powerful and will live on ’til our sun becomes a “red giant” and removes the entire planet from the scene.


REBELLION was always in the mix, if u read some of their past lit or manifestos in conjunction with California Newsreels they were on a Untied FILM Front.

check out film scholars-Clyde Taylor-Tony Giddens(Howard Univ) or that sister Prof- Marilyn_______? @ Univ of Indiana/film history dept. they wrote extensively about this group.


“Unless I’m just blind or something… feel free to search on your own.”

I’ve always known the movement as the “Los Angeles School” or “L.A. School.” Calling it the Los Angeles Rebellion is new to me, so that’s one thing to consider.


Finaaly, these AVATARS get their just deserts!!!:)



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