“Killer of Sheep” film about Black Americans in Watts


    40th Anniversary/35mm print!

    Killer of Sheep


    Saturday, NOVEMBER 10 at 1:30pm  | GENERAL ADMISSION: $10 • LOFT MEMBERS: $8

    Featuring Lofty Achievement Award recipient Charles Burnett in person! This screening will include a career highlight reel before the film, and the award presentation and onstage Q&A with Charles Burnett, moderated by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Cox, following the film!

    The Loft Film Fest is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment.

    Special thanks to our film sponsor, Tucson Black Film Club!

    One of the most famous and acclaimed films of all-time, Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep was one of the first 50 films to be selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry and was chosen by the National Society of Film Critics as one of the 100 Essential Films.

    Completed in 1977 but difficult to see for decades due to soundtrack licensing issues, Burnett’s landmark UCLA thesis film is a haunting, almost documentary-like chronicle of 1970s black life in Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. A series of nonlinear episodes form a portrait of slaughterhouse worker Stan, struggling to provide for his family and resist the corrupting influences that surround him. Amidst urban blight, Burnett finds indelible, magic images—a young girl wearing a hound-dog mask, boys leaping from rooftop to rooftop, a couple slow dancing to Dinah Washington’s “This Bitter Earth”—captured in evocatively grainy black-and-white and set to music that moves from Paul Robeson to Rachmaninoff.  Combining incredibly lyrical elements with a starkly neo-realist approach, Burnett chronicles the unfolding story with emotional depth, riveting simplicity and richly-detailed realism. This special screening celebrates the 40th anniversary of the theatrical release of this American classic. (Dir. by Charles Burnett, 1977, USA, 80 mins., Not Rated)

    Born in Mississippi and raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Charles Burnett is an independent filmmaker whose work has been widely-praised for its portrayal of the African-American experience. He wrote, directed, produced, photographed and edited his first feature film, Killer of Sheep, in 1977.  This was one of the first 50 films to be selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. His other features include My Brother’s Wedding, To Sleep with Anger, The Glass Shield and Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation. Burnett has also made several documentaries, including America Becoming and Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property, and numerous short films. In 2017, Burnett was awarded an Honorary Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his outstanding contributions to cinema.

    Alex Cox is a British filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, and nonfiction author praised for his idiosyncratic style and approach to scripts. His long list of credits, ranging from major studio films to cult classics to what he terms “micro cinema,” include Repo Man (1984), Sid and Nancy (1986), Straight to Hell (1986), Walker (1987), Highway Patrolman (1991), Revengers Tragedy (2002) and Searchers 2.0 (2007). He is the author of three film-related books, X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker, Ten Thousand Ways to Die: A Director’s Take on the Spaghetti Western, and Alex Cox’s Introduction to Film: A Director’s Perspective. He also writes regularly for The Guardian, Film Comment and Sight and Sound. One of his most recent projects was the 2016 Western drama, Tombstone Rashomon, filmed at Old Tucson Studios.


    Loft Film Fest

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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).

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