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Archive for February, 2005

Copyright Licensor Supports Screening Today

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

This just in. Tamara of Mainstream Records contacted us and says, ” Many years ago I licensed music to EYES ON THE PRIZE. I would like to help the project and grant and extend any of the rights needed. Please provide me with contact information… the song I licensed is “SLOW WALK” for which I own the publishing

She will be at the UCLA screening to speak about these matters and will be loaning her tapes for the event too!

Today is the Day

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Today is the day: we’re at 64 screenings, 24 states, 50 major cities around the world. Lawrence Guyot was just on Democracy Now Radio singing the praises of everyone who’s worked to make this happen and share this history again.

And one last word – the corporatized copyright system has stopped “Eyes” from being aired on television but they can’t stop us from exercising our free speech, educating young people, and taking the lessons of the civil rights movement to heart to bring this film back to a wide audience. They can’t stop us from coming together to remember our heroes and make small gestures of gratefulness for that courage and heroism.

In that spirit, two people have offered VHS tapes in New York City – there are millions of people in NYC – it would be great if we could take this opportunity to reach out to as many people as we can and hold at least two more screenings this month.

And a Santa Fe teacher who has screened several different civil rights documentaries recently is looking for tapes of Eyes— write to us so we can get your tapes to her for a school screening today (eyes@downhillbattle.org).

And one last request from Guyot, who was a leader in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and has been working hard to promote Eyes on the Screen – he would love to have a screening to go to tonight in DC, where he lives. Can anyone make this happen?

Bay Area Civil Rights Veterans

Monday, February 7th, 2005

A few quick updates:

We got a very nice endorsement for Eyes on the Screen from the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement: take a look at their statement of support. Their endorsement really touched our hearts. They wrote,

“Therefore, in the spirit of Southern Freedom Movement, we who once defied the laws and customs that denied people of color their human rights and dignity, we whose faces are seen in “Eyes on the Prize,” we who helped produce it, tonight defy the media giants who have buried our story in their vaults by publicly sharing episodes of this forbidden knowledge with all who wish to see it.”

The New York Times ran this article about copyright controversies in today’s paper and, in addition to featuring a photo of Holmes’ chest (don’t worry, it’s tastefully covered by one of our tshirts), they mention Eyes on the Screen and the Virginia high school screening that was cancelled.

Also, we’re wondering if anyone in the DC area can come through with a last-minute screening– can ya? Lawrence Guyot is looking for a screening to go to already.

Tapes Needed in Select Cities

Monday, February 7th, 2005

After hearing from us and others that people can’t hold screenings because they can’t get tapes, Lawrence Guyot suggested we ask people to lend out the other parts of their 14-part “Eyes on the Prize” set that they are not using for their screening. You/we/guys can work out a deposit system too.

NY, NY: Can anyone help Allen of New York City out? BET Nightly News would very much like to film his screening but he is having a hard time finding tapes too? Anyone got a loan for this great cause and special screening? Please write to eyes@downhillbattle.org

St. Paul, MN: Corey of St. Paul needs tapes to host a screening at his school? Write to eyes@downhillbattle.org. He writes, “We are located at the University of Minnesota and can host a screening of “Eyes on the Prize,” but how do we get the copy to screen it?”

Atlanta, GA: Chris has been writing me a bunch – he just can’t get his hands on a library copy, help? write eyes@downhillbattle.org. He writes, “We’ve tried to rent them from several of the libraries here in Atlanta. The problem, is people are checking them out and not returning them. This creates a challenge for others to see. They are simply paying the libraries the depreciated cost of the videos. Others are being stolen from libraries. We are still going to try to schedule a viewing on February 8th. We just need to get our hands on the videos.”

Hardwick, VT: Amy needs tapes for her group – “I would love to do a “private” viewing of the movie for the teens I work with. I am the Youth Coordinator for a small non-profit sexual and
domestic violence agency in northeast Vermont. We have been working with
our teen group around the media, human rights and empowerment. This film
could help them understand the struggles involved in social justice
movements, and could lead to great discussion.”
Write to eyes@downhillbattle.org.

SEATTLE, WA: Can anyone help Rick of Seattle, WA out? He plans on hosting a screening on Friday, Feb 26. He writes, “Library copies are checked out. We support your efforts; Is there a way to get a copy of the film?” Rick’s screening will be later this month. If you’re in Seattle and got tapes for this great cause and loan, write to eyes@downhillbattle.org.

Screenings Go Uber-Interconnectivity

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

The screening organized at a video nonprofit for West Philly high school kids is also a teleconference exchange with a France screening at the same time. This is good evidence that a documentary on the civil rights movement of this value makes people come together in all different ways. Also, as I mentioned before, Louis Massiah, producer on ‘Eyes’ is the organizer of the screening. He’s doing great work both at his nonprofit and organizing, apparently.

Calling San Diego

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

Anyone know of a school or library in San Diego that might want to host a screening of Eyes on the Prize? There’s a full set of VHS tapes looking for a venue. Email us and we can get you in touch: eyes@downhillbattle.org

Chilling Effects

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

The AP story about Eyes on the Screen includes this interesting chunk:

In 1992, the filmmaker received a letter from attorneys for Martin Luther King Jr.’s estate, charging he had used films of King without the family’s authorization.

Hampton said he offered the Kings $100,000 for the material. But the family turned down his offer, saying they wanted more money and control over how the material was used.

Hampton’s production company eventually sued King’s estate in U.S. District Court, saying the King family’s threats and demands for exorbitant payments “had a chilling effect on Blackside’s right of free speech.” The case was settled out of court and the King family received less than $100,000, Hampton said at the time.

50 Screenings and Climbing

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

New Eyes on the Prize screenings are getting posted at a faster and faster rate– we’re up to 50 now, so check if there’s one near you and if not, you know what to do.

Coverage of Eyes

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

There’s been some good press coverage of Eyes on the Screen, which has helped get the word out and bring us up to 35 screenings planned for February 8. Here’s a few: Boston Phoenix, Black America Web, Hollywood Reporter. If you haven’t looked at the screening list recently, look again— there might be one near you.

The Timing of Screenings

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

We’ve been asked numerous times if people should have Eyes on the Screen screenings on different days besides February 8th. As much as we’d like to have people connect the February 8th date to the celebration of “Eyes on the Prize”, we hope that there are enough venues in enough places to be host to many more screenings throughout Black History Month. So, yes– if you need to or want to do a screening on another day, go for it. To publicize the issue and or a local screening, you can write a letter to your editor easily (3 clicks) or find phone numbers of your local papers (just click on their name).

And here’s something else to think about regarding the school screening being cancelled, from Louisiana Weekly comes this article about young people not understanding the Civil Rights Movement:

“When they confront racism for the first time – and sooner or later they will – they will be helpless because they have no reference to someone else before them who went through the same thing,” said National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board Chairman, Julian Bond.

It’s so obvious that it barely needs to be said… but if schools can’t show Eyes on the Prize because they can’t get the tapes or because lawyers are confusing people about their fair use rights and then shutting down screenings, how are we supposed to solve this problem? We need help from Congress and any other prominent leaders to help the school in Vienna exercise their rights.