500 Years Later: Directors Cut
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SLAVERY- 500 Years Later The film is a compelling compilation of testimonies, voices and opinions gathered around five continents The centrepiece of the event is the screening of a newly released DVD on the African slavery trade, the shameful human trade officially abolished in 1772 in the UK and its empire. Winner already of the best documentary prize at the Pan-African film festival and Bridgetown film festival and with testimonies ranging among others, from Dr M. Karenga, Amira Baraka, Desmond Tutu, Dr Helena Woodward, Shaykh Muhammad Shareef and Trevor Marshall. The film, is a compelling compilation of testimonies, voices and opinions gathered around five continents and more than 20 countries on the subject. 'We went to universities as well as into the neighbourhoods to talk to the common folk, says Asante Jr, the talented scriptwriter and poet, who was a first year media graduate at the time when he started working on the project. --cenuk
About the Director
Owen Alik Shahadah is most know for directing the documentary 500 Years Later," an influential film, that explores the psycho cultural effects of slavery and colonialism in the African Diaspora. The film won 4 international awards including; Best Documentary at the Pan African (Los Angeles) and Bridgetown (Barbados) Film Festivals; Best Film at the International Black Cinema (Berlin) Film Festival; and Best International Documentary at the Harlem (New York) International Film Festival. In October of 2005, 500 Years Later was screened at the Millions More Movement. Philadelphia Weekly wrote, "When participants gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Millions More Movement rally last month, they also became one of the largest film audiences in history." Owen 'Alik Shahadah is also a social-historical writer who writes on the subjects such as African Kingdoms, humanity, linguistics and the Arab, African and European slave systems.
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There are several things that would improve on its accomplishment.
First: The inclusion of, and emphasis on leaders who have sacrificed their personal lives to raise the consciousness of the black community, not to mention the world community about slavery. The primary person that comes to my mind is Paul Robeson who was more selfless than any person in the civil rights movement next to MLK, yet hardly gets any mention. He was a moving orator, singer, actor, athlete, lawyer, educator, activist and lots more.
Second: Not so much as one spiritual is heard even though it was the music of the black slaves who built our country.
I found that the editing could have been better. For example: A recorded sound bite is heard as a quotation from a different person is simultaneously projected on the screen. I had to pause the film, read the quotes, and then rewind to listen to the speaker since I could not process both at the same time.
This film and films like it should be required in the curriculum of all history classes regardless of race. It will be given as Chanukah gifts this year.
Watching for a 2nd time, this time with my best friend grew my appreciation of it. There is so much about African history that is still unknown, so many problems, prejudices, etc that African people have grown numb to. What I most enjoy is that a solution is presented, isn't the "whoa is me, white people are evil" presentation I'd initially expect.