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Collection Scope and Content Notes

Images of a Culture presented African American filmmakers and their works at indoor and outdoor venues across Pittsburgh, mainly in city parks and neighborhoods identified as high risk for youth; files include flyers and programs, schedules, Film synopses, invoices, contracts and permits, attendance statistics and Program Evaluation forms, press releases and news clippings, memos and correspondence relating to the presentation of the public film and lecture series.

During the early years of the program, CM hosted filmmakers Melvin Van Peebles (1989), Gordon Parks, Jr. (1990, again in 2001), St. Clair Bourne (1990), Ayoka Chenzira (1991), and Wendell B. Harris, Jr. (1992).

As part of the mission of the “Images” program to coalesce the African-American community in Pittsburgh, CM held a combined sensitivity workshop/film screening called “A Family Affair” in 1993.

Filmmaker Haile Gerima spoke at the “Pittsburgh Premiere” of his film Sankofa (1993) on June 3, 1994 at Pittsburgh’s Fulton Theater, and Gerima returned once more in November, 1995.

As the program developed, focus shifted to annual film series “Images of a Culture” (1990-1997) and “Takin’ It to the Streets” (1996-2002), which encompassed “Phat Fridays,” “Cinema in the Parks” and collaborative screenings with Pittsburgh’s YouthPlaces program (2001-02).

A well-publicized 12-month program called “First Fridays” was launched in November, 2001; the closing event, a September, 2002 jazz documentaries screening in Mellon Park, marked Billy Jackson’s retirement from Community Media.

Films shown at the screenings came from CM’s in-house video library, or were rented from film distribution companies. Film Acquisition Records include Invoices and Screening Licenses, as well as some catalog material. Screening and Event Invoices relate mostly to CM’s expenditures and collection of fees for services provided. Attendance Evaluations include formal demographic analysis and reports, as well as handwritten evaluations of the various screenings authored by program attendees.

Other records are grouped chronologically by program.

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