African American filmmaker, playwright and professor of film history and production, Kathleen Collins, died of cancer in September 1988. She was just 46 years old.
She may be most known for Losing Ground, a 1982 TV movie she wrote and directed (starring Seret Scott, Bill Gunn, and Duane Jones), which played the international film festival circuit to much acclaim, and would eventually be restored and distributed by Milestone Films.
The film is a dramedy about a black American philosophy professor, and her philandering artist husband who are facing marital problems. The husband rents a summer country house to celebrate a museum sale, and their idyll summer challenges their relationship as they struggle to find “ecstatic” experience, both intellectually and emotionally.
It was Collins’ second and last produced film, and also one of the very first fictional features by an African American woman filmmaker.
And now, the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University, is co-sponsoring a special screening of Losing Ground TONIGHT, at 7pm, preceded by a screening of her first film, The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy, a 54-minute *short* film about 3 Puerto Rican brothers scraping by while contending with the ghost of their dead father.
The screenings are part of the New Restorations from Milestone Films series at the Indiana University Cinema.
The Black Film Center/Archive is co-sponsoring tonight’s special screenings of both restored films, which it says are USA theatrical premieres. And after the screening, Professor LaMonda Horton-Stallings, who wrote a critical essay on Losing Ground for Black Camera in 2011, will lead a Q&A session.
So if you’re in the IU area, this is strongly encouraged viewing. These aren’t exactly films that you’ll find at your local rental house, or even online, on sites like Netflix nor Amazon. So take advantage of this opportunity. I haven’t seen either film myself, unfortunately, and hope the series comes to NYC.
I believe Milestone is traveling with the series, which also includes the recently-restored Portrait of Jason Film, Shirley Clarke’s groundbreaking documentary film, which we’ve highlighted a number of times on this site, and which will screen tomorrow at IU cinema.
By the way, the screenings are FREE!
For more information, visit the Black Film Center/Archive website HERE.