African Diaspora Film Club | Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart
Image credit: David Attie
Join us for our monthly series, The African Diaspora Film Club. Modeled after our African Book Club, we will meet once a month to discuss a film that we have all viewed in advance of the discussion. The conversation will be moderated by Cornelius Moore, co-director of California Newsreel and film series curator at MoAD. We will be choosing a selection of films previously screened at MoAD. You may have already seen it, or this may be your first introduction. In either case, join us on the second Sunday of the month for a lively discussion of the film. You will receive instructions to join via zoom after you sign up here.
Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart is the first-ever feature documentary about Lorraine Hansberry, the visionary playwright who authored the groundbreaking A Raisin in the Sun. An overnight sensation, the play transformed the American theater and has long been considered a classic, yet the remarkable story of the playwright faded from view. With this documentary, filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain resurrects the Lorraine Hansberry we have forgotten—a passionate artist, committed activist and sought-after public intellectual who waged an outspoken and defiant battle against injustice in 20th-century America. The film reveals Hansberry’s prescient works tackling race, human rights, women’s equality and sexuality that anticipated social and political movements on the horizon. Lorraine Hansberry lived much of her 34 years guided by a deep sense of responsibility to others, proclaiming: “One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world.”
We will not be screening the film. Please view the film on your own in advance of the discussion. You can find it streaming at Vimeo, Alexander Street, Kanopy.com (free with local library card), and Amazon Prime Video.
Producer, Director and Writer Tracy Heather Strain will join us for the discussion.
Tracy Heather Strain is an independent, Emmy-nominated filmmaker specializing in documentary production. She won a 1999 Peabody Award for her first two feature documentaries as part of Blackside’s six-part PBS series I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African American Arts, and another last year for the American Masters television broadcast of her latest directing effort, “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” the first feature film about the late artist/activist best-known for writing the play A Raisin in the Sun. The bio doc, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival also netted Tracy a 50th NAACP Image Award for Motion Picture Directing last year and the American Historical Association’s John E. O’Connor Film Award. Her other credits include directing for additional PBS documentaries including California Newsreel’s Race: The Power of an Illusion and Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? as well as nonfiction video projects for nonprofits and educational institutions. A Harvard Graduate School of Education and Wellesley College graduate, Tracy is a Professor of the Practice teaching documentary production, storytelling and history at Wesleyan University’s College of Film and the Moving Image and co-directs the newly established Wesleyan Documentary Project. Through the company she co-founded with her husband/partner Randall MacLowry, The Film Posse, the pair is currently directing, producing and writing a documentary about L. Frank Baum and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for the PBS history series American Experience. Tracy serves on the board of Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center in Boston, Massachusetts, where she lived for almost 40 years.