9/23/21: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: “Change the Name” by Cai Thomas

Virtual screening/discussion with Cai Thomas, director of "Change the Name," moderated by Sisters in Cinema's Joyy Norris.

Watch the recording of the discussion between Cai Thomas and Joyy Norris here. Check the film’s website for upcoming opportunities to view the documentary Change the Name: https://www.vlachangethename.com/film

On September 23rd, Media Burn, in collaboration with the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, hosted a virtual screening of Cai Thomas‘s documentary film Change the Name, moderated by Sisters in Cinema’s Joyy Norris.

Still of community organizers in Chicago from “Change the Name”

An intimate portrayal of Black youth organizing on the west side of Chicago, Change the Name follows a group of 5th graders from Village Leadership Academy as they embark on a campaign to rename Stephen A. Douglas Park after freedom fighters Anna and Frederick Douglass. Over the course of the three-year grassroots campaign the students tackle bureaucratic Chicago Park District systems, underestimations of their capacity to make change as well as a pandemic and a global racial uprising.

Cai Thomas is a documentary filmmaker telling verit√© stories at the intersection of location, self-determination and identity about Black youth and elders. She grew up in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood and is deeply interested in stories rooted in place. Her film Queenie, which is about a Black lesbian elder, premiered at NewFest, winning the NY Short Grand Jury Award. She is a NeXt Doc and Sisters in Cinema Fellow as well as a Mellon Arts Practitioner Fellow at Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Joyy Norris is Operations and Program Manager for Sisters in Cinema, a Chicago based 501(c)3 non-profit with an inclusive mission to center and celebrate Black girls, women, and gender nonconforming media makers, providing programs designed to educate, raise visibility, and support and serve our communities.

Change The Name was produced by Tribeca Studios, Procter & Gamble and Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit, as part of the 2021 Queen Collective program. The Queen Collective aims to accelerate gender and racial equality behind the camera by supporting Black women directors.



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