Friday, October 19, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show: Fired Up! One Year Anniversary

LaKeisha Burton speaking at The Fire Inside 15th Anniversary
(photo credit: Scott Braley)
Wanda Sabir and Deirdre Wilson, hosts of the 15th Anniversary
of the Fire Inside October 2011 (photo credit: Scott Braley)


LaKeisha Burton with Beverly "Chopper" Henry
Photo Credit: Scott Braley

We speak to formerly incarcerated woman prisoners, Samantha Rogers and Deirdre Wilson.  Joanna Sokolowski, filmmaker joins us as well to talk about the 1 year anniversary celebration, Sat., Oct. 20, 2012, of Fired Up! a network of people who have been or are currently behind the walls of San Francisco county jail building community with others who are committed to breaking down the barriers those walls produce. For information email or visit At the event Sokolowski will screen Still Time, a short film chronicling the life of the first juvenile given a life sentence in CA, LaKeisha Burton, who will also be present at the event.

Incarcerated at the age of 15 and released at 35, LaKeisha must start from scratch to rebuild her life, discovering that although being out of prison can be just as unpredictable as life inside, she can still find her way back home. The event tomorrow is from 6-8 p.m. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. The Clean Lounge is located at 1641 LaSalle Avenue, Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco. There is a $5-20 donation; however, no one will be turned away.  The Clean Lounge is ADA accessible.If anyone needs a ride call (408) 386-8955.

We close with an extended interview with director, Zeinabu irene Davis, a director showcased in the film program currently at UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive, LA Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema Sept. 6-Oct. 30. Compensation, Davis's film, screens Tues., Oct. 23, 7 PM.

Her feature is proceeded by Iverson White's Dark Exodus which is online at  Zeinabu irene Davis is an independent filmmaker and full Professor of Communication at University of California, San Diego. A veteran of independent film and video, her vision is passionately focused on the depiction of African American women - their hopes, dreams, past and future.


Samantha Rogers

I was born April 5, 1967 to LouElla Hill and Will H. Rogers in El Central,California. I grew up in an okay functional family, at least I thought it was. Lot of trauma happened to me when I was about  4 years old. As I grew up at 15 yrs old I got into a lot of trouble. I ended up on drugs and going to juvie. When I turned18 years old and my juvenile record was closed I began a life of hurt and pain of not knowing why these bad things kept happening to me.

I had got into my addiction really bad and was sent to prison March 12, 1993, and for over 17 years my life was spent behind prison bars until June 14, 2010.

6 months after that I discharged off parole and have been in a drug recovery program in San Francisco and a member of Fired Up!

Deirdre Wilson

Deirdre Wilson is a former prisoner, a program coordinator for CCWP and a mother. She began to work with Free Battered Women /CCWP shortly after she got out of prison because “the whole FBW/CCWP community made me feel honored for surviving my experiences and accepted me just as I was—a rare feeling for people released from prison!” Visit
Joanna Sokolowski
Graduate Student, SocDoc Program

Joanna Sokolowski is an independent documentary filmmaker completing a Master’s degree in Social Documentation at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Joanna was a recent recipient of the UC Berkeley Human Rights Fellowship and a presenter at the UCSC Art Dean’s Leadership Board. Her current project, STILL TIME is a 20 minute documentary film about life after prison, and is in partnership with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Joanna received her B.A. at Portland State University in Community Development with a concentration of Social Organization and Change.

Zeinabu irene Davis

Zeinabu irene Davis' life as a film and video maker began more than thirty years ago when the native Philadelphian visited Kenya as a student. Political unrest shut down the university she attended, but Davis found a mentor in Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o.After observing European filmmakers, who focused their cameras only on African wildlife, the writer told Davis to learn filmmaking herself so that African people could tell their own stories.

Davis did just that, and in the last three decades has made numerous films and videos, in the genre of narrative, documentary and experimental. Her work has questioned the dominant media image of black women, and depicted their political struggles as well as their psychological and spiritual journeys. A selection of her award winning works include a drama about a young slave girl for both children and adults, Mother of the River; a love story set in Afro-Ohio, A Powerful Thang and an experimental narrative exploring the psycho-spiritual journey of a woman as she awaits menses with Cycles. Her best known work, a dramatic feature film entitled Compensation features two inter-related love stories that offer a view of Black Deaf culture. Compensation recently completed its two-year broadcast run on the Sundance and BlackStarz! Cable Channels.  The film was selected for the dramatic competition at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and was the winner of the Gordon Parks Award for Directing from the Independent Feature Project in 1999.

Davis' most current work is in documentary.  Trumpetistically Clora Bryant, a feature documentary that reveals the life and contributions of a Los Angeles based "trumpetiste" who played for over 50 years played on the festival circuit in 2005.  In 2009, Zeinabu released a short work about a mother and son on an airplane trip, Passengers, now available on Current TV online.  Momentum: A Conversation with Black Women PhDs was recently completed in 2010.  Davis recently became a mother and was inspired by her daughters to work on a video documentary/essay on breastfeeding, Co-Motion: Tales of Breastfeeding Women.  She is also working on a documentary on Spirits of Rebellion – the Los Angeles Rebellion Filmmakers – filmmakers who attended UCLA from the 1960s to the 90s. 

Zeinabu irene Davis holds an undergraduate degree from Brown University, a MA in African Studies and an MFA from UCLA. She frequently writes articles on African American cinema, which have been published in Afterimage, Black Film Review, Cineaste, Wide Angle and Hot Wire. She has also served as a panelist for the Independent Television Service, the Illinois and Ohio Arts Councils and on the editorial committee for the POV series on PBS. She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Illinois and Ohio Arts Councils, the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently is a full Professor in the Department of Communication at University of California, San Diego.

At University of California, San Diego she teaches courses across the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, and sits on both Ph.D. and MFA committees.  Ms. Davis teaches a wide variety of courses including documentary production, television studio production, advanced digital editing as well as theory and history courses on Pan African and Black Women's cinema. See

Compensation screenings Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 7 PM
US, 1999, 92 minutes, BW, DVD
Order No. W03816

the first feature by award-winning filmmaker Zeinabu irene Davis (CYCLES and A POWERFUL THANG), presents two unique African-American love stories between a deaf woman and a hearing man. Inspired by a poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, this moving narrative shares their struggle to overcome racism, disability and discrimination. An important film on African-American deaf culture, Davis innovatively incorporates silent film techniques (such as title cards and vintage photos) to make the piece accessible to hearing and deaf viewers alike, and to share the vast possibilities of language and communication.

Preceded by Iverson White's Dark Exodus

Dark Exodus, is a narrative film concerned with the migration of African-Americans from the south to the north in the early 1900s, and with the impact of a lynching on one proud family. 16mm, sepia, 28 minutes, 1985:

Cycles Screened October 2, 2012 at PFA
1989, 17 minutes, BW, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99273

Rasheeda Allen is waiting for her period, a state of anticipation familiar to all women. Drawing on Caribbean folklore, this exuberant experimental drama uses animation and live action to discover a film language unique to African American women. The multilayered soundtrack combines a chorus of women's voices with the music of Africa and the diaspora-including Miriam Makeba, acappella singers from Haiti and trumpetiste Clora Bryant.


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