Open Signal

Finding a voice for black media

Open Signal's screening Friday at the Hollywood Theatre of work by six young black Portland filmmakers opens the door on a world of stories

Something’s happening. And you’d better know what it is.

On Friday, June 14, Open Signal Labs is giving six black filmmakers a chance to showcase their work and let the Portland media world know they’re here, they’re thriving, and they’re ready to enter the industry and take a commanding role. The screening, at 7 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre in Northeast Portland, is the culmination of a year of work, learning and training for six young, black filmmakers: Kamryn Fall, Elijah Hasan, Tamera Lyn, Sika Stanton, Noah Thomas and Dustin Tolman.

Open Signal’s Ifanyi Bell and RaShaunda Brooks: making it happen. Photo: Sam Gehrke

This fellowship is the first of its kind in the state of Oregon. Over the course of the year, these artists were granted “a $2,000 stipend, training, access to industry-standard equipment, staff and actors from Artists Repertory Theatre, as well as mentorship with media professionals and connections to the field from the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television.” The idea, says Open Signal executive producer and industry veteran Ifanyi Bell, is to “provide our fellows the best possible resources — cutting-edge filmmaking equipment and experienced industry professionals — and then time will tell. We hope to create a safe space immune from outside influence that will inspire true innovation and authentic stories of black Americans.”

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A film festival takes a stand against Islamophobia

The Seventh Art Stand film festival explore the many strands of Muslim and Muslim-American experience

The Seventh Art Stand, a nationwide screening and discussion series that focuses on the many facets of the contemporary Muslim and Muslim-American experience, comes to Portland’s Open Signal at 7 pm on June 21. The series has been part of a multi-platform effort that is intended “as an act of cinematic solidarity against Islamophobia,” according to organizers. Through Q&A sessions at the screenings and social media campaigns such as #sharemuslimfacts, the series seeks to challenge and humanize the discussion around the lives and beliefs of members of the nationalities and ethnicities under attack by the current administration and Islamophobic currents in the media.

By the time it’s over, Seventh Art Stand will have shown in more than fifty theaters, museums, and community centers in more than half the states, with prominent shows in Honolulu, Detroit, Milwaukee, Houston, Harlem, and Minneapolis. As part of the collaborative nature of the project, each venue curates its own selection of films and runs its own public discussions, often tailored to the surrounding Islamic community. Previous screenings have featured Queens of Syria by Yasmin Fedda, A Stray by Musa Syeed, American Arab by Usama Alshaibi, and The Salesman by Asghar Farhadi, which won the Oscar for 2017 Best Foreign Language Film.

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