Get ready for a historic gathering of urban slam poetry artists, filmmakers and performance and media artists at the 15th Anniversary of the film SLAM. A four-day master class series with award-winning filmmaker Marc Levin is set for Thursday, December 5 through Sunday, December 8. SLAM’s screening set for tonight, Thursday, December 5, will include a star-studded Q&A session at 9:30pm at the Dempsey Auditorium (127 West 127th street).
“Words are powerful. That’s our theme. This master class series will bring together world class guests, historic urban filmmakers, spoken word poets, slammers and other urban artists,” said Levin the master class series creator. “We are going way beyond a classroom exercise, said Levin. “The format involves screening and powerful Q & A sessions afterwards. We ask folks to bring an open mind, an open heart and maybe an empty notebook," said Levin.
Levin promises that attendees will witness a unique family reunion and pivotal moments from the poetry slam movement. “Slam poetry may have started in Chicago, years before Poetry Def Jam. But it really blew up here in New York,” Levin said.
Tonight’s opening act featured two local slamming artists: Darian Dauchan and Samantha Thornhill. SLAM screened immediately followed. The film’s stars Saul Williams, Sonja Sohn from "The Wire" and Bonz Malone will lead the Q&A session. The film’s story is about an incarcerated young African American poet who used slam poetry to get out of jail.
The rest of film series will pick up this week at Maysles Cinema, 343 Lenox Avenue between 127th & 128th streets, Harlem. Friday, December 6th, 7:30pm, Whiteboyz. Q&A will feature Danny Hoch, Piper Perabo, Garth Belcon, Richard Stratton and Marc Levin. Saturday, December 7th, 4:00pm, Gang War: Bangin' in Little Rock and Back in the Hood: Gang War 2. Q&A with producers Daphne Pinkerson and Michael Skolnik, Gang War subjects Leifel Jackson (via Skype) Steve Nawojczyk (via Skype) and Marc Levin. Saturday, December 7th, 7:30pm, a preview of "Freeway: Crack in the System,” and screening of Mr. Untouchable, about drug lord Nicky Barnes. Q&A with Joseph 'Jazz' Hayden (former Nicky Barnes associate), ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross (via Skype) and Marc Levin followed by a reception. Sunday, December 8th, 4:00pm, “Documenting Urban America: A Master class” will be led by Mark Benjamin, Dan Levin and Marc Levin. They will teach how to tell urban stories and reach a larger audience. Clips from Brick City, Captured, CHICAGOLAND, the forthcoming docu-series for CNN, will be shown. At 7:30pm, Protocols of Zion will be screened. Marc Levin and Albert Maysles will wrap-up the series with final discussions.
“Join the tribe and spread the word,” Levin said. “Take in reel footage, film screenings and ‘reel’ talk with pros about everything from stories, tips, tricks, future projects and meet legendary characters,” said Levin.