Created in 2008 in Charlotte, NC, the Classic Black Cinema Series (C.B.C.S.) has been specifically designed as a vehicle to expose the community to the vast artistic value black film has had around the globe throughout the years.
The series showcases the amazing diversity of cultures and experiences that are woven within the African Diaspora through a selection of films.
Our mission is to appeal to as diverse a population as possible and further the appreciation of Black Cinema. We aim to not only draw a diverse group of movie goers together, but also to provide a forum for Charlotte area residents to openly discuss social issues and the unique legacy of black filmmaking that has served as a frame of reference for today’s contemporary films.
The films explore common themes that run through black films that are influenced by black culture in itself.The love of movies is cross-cultural and we seek to take advantage of this universal pastime to provide a cultural bridge in our community.
harvey b. gantt center
551 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
FREE FOR GANTT CENTER MEMBERS OR $9.00 WITH REGULAR MUSEUM ADMISSIO
Each month we showcase the amazing diversity of cultures and experiences that are woven within the African Diaspora through a selection of films. We are diligent about selecting films that interest and reflect the artistic contribution that black culture has had in the world and foster relevant, topical, compelling and even challenging discussion among our audience.
Our movies screen every 2nd Sunday of the month
NATIVE SON (1951)
Richard Wright was one of the most outstanding literary figures of the 20th century and a key figure in the African-American emancipation movement. His landmark novel Native Son was published in 1940. It unfolds the drama of racism, through a harsh and searching narrative on the conditions of oppression and segregation that African-Americans were experiencing in the U.S.
Although the novel became a bestseller, and Wright and director Pierre Chenal wrote the screenplay in 1950, a film version of the book could not be completed in the U.S. because Hollywood producers wanted to have the African-American protagonist played by a white man. After trying to shoot in France and Italy, Argentina’s historic neutrality offered about the only possible location.
Native Son depicts the reverse of the “freedom” discourse, ultimately interrogating the promise of democracy. Beyond the Cold War binary of the East–West rivalry, Wright’s oeuvre and practice sought to empower the anti-colonial struggles connecting the battle against discrimination in the U.S. with the emancipatory political projects and communities of the Third World. Native Son remains an extraordinary example of filmmaking that engages with the Global South or South-to-South relational framework within the tightly woven net of exile and politics.
DARK MANHATTAN (1937)
On the tough back streets of Harlem, thugs and crooks fight for control of the numbers racket. One small time hood, ""Curly"" Thorpe, is enlisted by the biggest mob boss in town, Larry B. Lee, to be his protégé. Curly takes over the operation, bringing a new level of brutality and greed to Lennox Avenue. Beautiful women, fast cars and hard cash are all that Curly cares about, but he steps on the wrong toes to get them. Tougher men than Curly now want him dead.
Starring Ralph Cooper, Cleo Herndon, Clarence Brooks, Jess Lee Brooks; Directed by Harry L. Fraser.
BODY AND SOUL (1925)
PAUL ROBESON, OSCAR MICHEAUX
''Body and Soul'' was Robeson's movie debut at the age of 27, and the only word to describe his screen presence is ''blazing.''
In Body and Soul, Robeson plays two characters: the saintly Sylvester Jenkins and his venal brother, the “Reverend” Isaiah, an ex-con who wows the church ladies with his oratory, then sullies their virgin daughters and makes off with the victims’ life savings — in a Bible.
Film Curator, Felix Curtis, is interviewed on Feb. 16th by WBTV on the opening weekend of Black Panther in Charlotte NC.
CURATOR AND HOST: Felix curtis
After retiring from a long career as a computer systems analyst, Felix came to Charlotte in 2006 from the Oakland / San Francisco Bay Area. Being an avid film buff and historian Felix started sharing his passion with the public as a curator of “The San Francisco Black Film Festival” and “Black Filmworks” the annual film festival component of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame where he later served as Executive Director.
Felix was actively involved with Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame for over 12 years, however, he was a participant in their activities since it’s inception 28 years ago.
His first involvement with the organization was as a ‘Community” level judge for the Film, Video and Screenplay Competition. This was his first exposure to the collective works of independent Black filmmakers. Felix was enthralled and fascinated by the works and took it upon himself to get more involved by enhancing the processes of judging and presentation. He coordinated the annual Film and Video Competition for over 7 years which involved a review of all films submitted to insure the proper category slot; the selection of judges and group leaders along with the film categories to be judged by each group.
His work on the Steering Committee of Black Filmworks (the Annual Film Festival component of BFHF) consisted of curating the film screening selections. During Black Filmworks he moderated the filmmaker question and answer sessions. In order to make available the works of independent Black filmmakers to the public on an ongoing basis he began hosting a popular monthly screening at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, a landmark event space in Oakland that lasted for 4 years.
Felix now lives an active life in Charlotte with his wife of 48 years, Cheryl. When he's not on the golf course with his buddies, you will often find them enjoying Charlotte's vibrant cultural, music, art, and culinary scene.