June 2016 launch
Black Atlantic Cinema Club


Rivington Place, UK

£5 / screening

June 2016 launch at Autograph ABP, London
Touring to Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham.

Autograph ABP proudly launches the Black Atlantic Cinema Club (BACC), a summer programme of one-off film screenings which shares rarely seen contemporary films and archive classics. This season of works invite audiences to explore rich and different possibilities through which to view the African Diaspora experience of transatlantic culture.

Loosely themed around ideas developed by Professor Paul Gilroy in his groundbreaking book The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, the selected films do not set out to represent ‘blackness’ in any direct sense. Spanning nearly 50 years they reveal the complexities of the black experience both past and present. They range from the fascinating yet largely unseen screen adaptation of Dutchman by Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones) to BaddDDD, a 2014 documentary about the award-winning writer and activist Sonia Sanchez.

Together, they are among the finest examples of the discursive and ambitious filmmaking that the BACC wishes to share with audiences. Discussions after each screening will open up the conversation to viewers discovering and rediscovering these films.

Dutchman, was shot in the UK in 1966 by the then fledgling director Anthony Harvey. No stranger to British cinema, Harvey had already edited the Boulting classic I’m Alright Jack, Lolita and Dr. Strange Love for Stanley Kubrick, and would go on to receive an Academy- award nomination for his second film The Lion in Winter. Saturated with the uncomfortable language of ‘fear’ and ‘desire’ this rarely seen two-hander still has the power to shock. Despite it being his directorial debut, Harvey elicits career-defining performances from his brave leads, Shirley Knight and Al Freeman Jr., while John Barry’s score adds another dimension to the ever-mounting tension.

BaddDDD is an intimate and revealing portrait of the poet and educator Sonia Sanchez. Amongst other events, it recalls her days as a Black Panther and as a leading figure in developing black studies and the black arts movement of 1960s America. The recipient of both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry award, her close friend Maya Angelou described Sanchez as “a lion in literature’s forest”.

The only American film selected for Critics Week at Cannes in 1973, Ganja & Hess is a genuine one-off. Made at a time when Blaxploitation was in vogue; the writer, novelist, actor and director Bill Gunn produced a Trojan horse of a movie. Using the codes of the vampire genre, Gunn’s highly stylized film smuggles in politically charged themes of black sexuality, religion, and addiction under the guise of a horror movie.

The last film in the series is the dreamlike cine-poem on socio-spatial transformation and memory, still/here by Christopher Harris. Harris’s love of cinema shines through his fragmented and thought-provoking film, as he picks over the ruins of urban decay in St Louis. Intermittent layers of sound and narration guide us on a meditative journey of return, as Harris creates a visual vocabulary of revealing absence.

With exhibition at the heart of its activities, Autograph ABP uses a variety of lens-based media to create dynamic opportunities for audiences to enjoy and connect with contemporary art. The aim of the Black Atlantic Cinema Club is to encourage debate and reflection, as well as offer thought-provoking cinema experiences. The films in this series are defiantly independent productions; the result is a unique collection of artistic and intellectually challenging films in which the political dynamics of social uncertainties and inequality are depicted with passion and a compelling emotional intensity.

The Black Atlantic Cinema Club is an initiative delivered by Autograph ABP with support from the BFI, awarding funds from The National Lottery. Partner venues include Home (Manchester), Watershed (Bristol) and mac birmingham.

London screening dates

The Black Atlantic Cinema Club launches in June 2016 at
Autograph ABP Rivington Place London EC2A 3BA

London screening dates.
£5 / screening

Wed 22 June 2016, 6:00pm UK premier
BaddDDD: Sonia Sanchez
USA (2014)
Dirs: Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon/ 90 mins/ colour

Thur 23 June 2016, 6:00pm UK premier
USA (2001)
Dir: Christopher Harris / 60 mins / b&w
Wed 29 June 2016, 6:00pm

UK (1967)
Dir: Anthony Harvey / 60 mins / bw
With Shirley Knight and Al Freeman Jr Screenplay: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) Music by John Barry
Suitable for audiences age 18+

Thur 30 June 2016, 6:00pm
Ganja & Hess
USA (1973)
Dir: Bill Gunn / 110 mins / colour
With Duane Jones, Marlene Clarke, Bill Gunn Suitable for audiences age 18+

Touring venues

2 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester M15 4FN

For full programme details visit

Wed 13 July 2016
BaddDDD: Sonia Sanchez

Wed 17 August 2016

Mon 12 September 2016

Tue 11 October 2016
Ganja & Hess


1 Canons Road

Bristol BS1 5TX

For full programme and times visit

Fri 29 July 2016
BaddDDD: Sonia Sanchez
Ganja & Hess


Canon Hill Park
Birmingham B12 9QH

For full programme and times visit

Sun 31 July 2016
6pm - 8.15pm + Q&A

September 2016
BaddDDD: Sonia Sanchez
Date and Time TBC

Curated by Karen Alexander

The Black Atlantic Cinema Club is curated by Karen Alexander.

Karen Alexander is an independent film and moving image curator, advisor and researcher. She has worked with and for the Royal College of Art, the British Film Institute and a wide range of institutions and galleries, including Autograph ABP, Film London, the Independent Cinema Office, the Watershed Bristol, Tate and the Serpentine Gallery.

Press information

For further information and images, please contact:

Lois Olmstead at Autograph ABP
+44 (0) 20 7729 9200