THE RITZ CINEMA SOCIETY
Founded to encourage the study, appreciation and utilization of the cinema arts, the Ritz Cinema Society will host a series of film screenings for educational and aesthetic reasons rather than for commercial profit.
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Q&A session with filmmaker(s) in theatre
The 2018-2019 Season
Sept. 21, 2018
Stereotyping and slurs are rampant, finger-pointing and name-calling abound. Enter filmmaker Ashley York, who goes on a personal and political journey into the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, her home region. York explores the role of media representation in the creation of the iconic American “hillbilly,” examining the social, cultural, and political underpinnings of this infamous stereotype. She also seeks to open dialogue within her family, which finds itself voting on both sides of the aisle.
During her journey, York discovers an unexpected set of artists, poets, and activists, queer musicians, “Affrilachian” poets, and intersectional feminists — all unexpected voices emerging from this historically misunderstood region. hillbilly is a timely and urgent exploration of how we see and think about Appalachian and rural identity in contemporary America, offering a call for dialogue between urban and rural communities during this divisive time in our nation's history.
"Road to Raceday"
Oct. 19, 2018
Producer/Director Cynthia Hill digs deep into stock-car racing’s marrow with unprecedented access to NASCAR’s most-winning team, Hendrick Motorsports. Ordinary TV coverage of the sport focuses on driver personalities and the race outcomes, with “behind-the-scenes” moments thrown in for interest. Road to Race Day delves deeper. The series is driven by sophisticated teams of drivers, pit crews, engineers, mechanics, owners, hard-core fans, and plot lines that convey the importance of communication and commitment, and how much losing it really takes to win.
Nov. 9, 2018
Director Jenny Mackenzie unearths the incredible and moving story of Dr. Kristen Reis, a driven infectious disease specialist, who arrived to start her new job (and life) in Salt Lake City, Utah the same day as the Center for Disease Control published its first report on what would become known as AIDS. Due to the growing stigma surrounding the disease, Reis assembled a network of mostly Catholic nuns to treat AIDS patients, and in so doing helped develop revolutionary protocols to remediate the disease. Quiet Heroes reveals the impact of the AIDS epidemic in a place that we haven't seen before, and shows the evocative story of these unsung caregivers and their patients.
"The Blood is at the Doorstep"
Feb. 15, 2019
After Dontre Hamilton, a black, unarmed man diagnosed with schizophrenia, was shot 14 times and killed by police in Milwaukee, his family embarks on a quest for answers, justice, and reform as the investigation unfolds.
"Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury"
March 22, 2019
"Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury" follows the path of Luxury, a band who, on the cusp of success suffered a devastating wreck. In the intervening years, they continue to make records and three members of the band become Eastern Orthodox priests. Through interviews and archival footage, Parallel Love tells the gripping and poignant story of Luxury and documents the making of a new record, now as priests.
April 26, 2019
‘I was in prison before I was even born,’ so begins the story of Dr. Victor Rios who, by 15, was a high school dropout and gang member with multiple felony convictions and a death wish. When a teacher’s quiet persistence, a mentor’s moral conviction and his best friend’s murder converge, Rio’s path takes an unexpected turn. Through Rio’s personal lens and its interplay with the stories of the young people at YO!Watts, The Pushouts, interrogates crucial questions of race, class and power. And the promise and perils of education at a particularly urgent time.
About South Arts’ Southern Circuit Tour:
The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers brings the best of independent film to communities across the South, transforming watching independent films from a solitary experience into a communal one. Audiences have seen more than 200 films and have engaged filmmakers in post-screening discussions in more than 50 communities across the Southern United States. Southern Circuit is brought to the Ritz Cinema Society by South Arts, an organization whose mission is to strengthen the South through advancing excellence in the arts, connecting the arts to key state and national policies and nurturing a vibrant quality of life, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
PREVIOUS FILMS IN THE 2017-18 SEASON
September 15, 2017
For years, 90-year-old Sonia Warshawski has been an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons, where her stories of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager have inspired countless people who once felt their own traumas would leave them broken forever. But when Sonia is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop in a dead mall, she's confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop, or retire. For a woman who admits she stays busy “to keep the dark parts away”, facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces. BIG SONIA explores what it means to be a survivor and how this affects families and generations. Will you let your trauma define you? Or will your past make you stronger?
Dalya's Other Country
October 13, 2017
Dalya's Other Country is the nuanced story of a family displaced by the Syrian conflict who are remaking themselves after the parents separate. Effervescent teen Dalya goes to Catholic high school and her mother, Rudayna, enrolls in college as both walk the line between their Muslim values and the new world in which they find themselves.
Do Not Resist
November 10, 2017
This urgent documentary explores the militarization of local police departments—in their tactics, training, and acquisition of equipment—since 9/11. With unprecedented access to police conventions, equipment expos, and officers themselves, filmmaker Craig Atkinson, the son of a SWAT team member, presents an eye-popping nonpartisan look at the changing face of law enforcement in America.
First Lady of the Revolution
with Andrea Kalin
Feburary 16, 2018
First Lady of the Revolution tells the remarkable story of Henrietta Boggs, a young Alabaman who fell in love with a foreign land and the man destined to transform its identity. Her marriage to José ‘Don Pepe’ Figueres in 1941 led to a journey of activism, exile, political upheaval and, ultimately, lasting progressive reforms. This unforgettable documentary depicts the momentous struggle to shape Costa Rica’s democratic identity, and portrays a courageous woman escaping the confines of a traditional, sheltered existence to expand her horizons into a new world.
with Lara Stolman
March 16, 2018
The parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting other teens on the spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity. Swim Team chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence, and a life that feels winning.
Bending the Arc
With Cori Stern
April 6, 2018
Thirty years ago, as much of the world was ravaged by horrific outbreak of AIDS and tuberculosis, three remarkable activists came together while attending college at Harvard to provide medical relief to a Haitian squatter settlement. Determined to provide the same world-class level of medical care they would expect for their own families to the Haitians that soon became their friends, they faced obstacles considered insurmountable by the rest of the world. Because of their dedication, world policies changed, entrenched ideas transformed, and millions of lives were pulled from the brink of death.
Previous films in the 16-17 season
September 16, 2016
TYRUS is a feature-length documentary film that tells the unlikely story of 105-year old Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong, and how he overcame poverty and racism to become a celebrated modernist painter, innovative kite designer, Hollywood sketch artist for films such as Rebel Without a Cause and How the West Was Won, and 'Disney Legend' for his groundbreaking work on the classic animated film, Bambi.
October 14, 2016
Almost Sunrise follows two Iraq war veterans, both of whom are tormented by depression years after returning home and are pushed to the edge of suicide. Together, soldiers Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson embark on an extraordinary journey -- a 2,700 mile walk across the country from Wisconsin to California, in order to reflect on their haunting experiences of war and to ultimately save themselves. The film explores the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and moral injury on soldiers, and the lengths necessary to overcome difficulty.
6 Angry Women
By Sridhar Reddy
Inheriting the classic 12 Angry Men and shadowing the incendiary current events of police brutality, racial profiling and civil rights, 6 Angry Women depicts the jury deliberation of six women, strangers brought together by their civil duty. When a young, unarmed black teenager is shot by a white neighborhood watchman it is a jury of six who will decide whether or not the man is guilty of murder. While all of these women are seeking to do the right thing, the ultimate question looms for each of them to answer: what is justice vs. what is legal?
Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw
By Rick Goldsmith
Feburary 10, 2017
The journey of “the female Michael Jordan” from troubled family life to basketball superstardom reveals a long-hidden battle with mental illness. Even as Holdsclaw begins to embrace her challenges and emerge as an inspiring mental health advocate, she is confronted with new obstacles to her own recovery.
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
By Bob Hercules & Rita Coburn Whack
March 10, 2016
Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” icon Maya Angelou gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. Dr. Angelou’s was a prolific life; as a singer, dancer, activist, poet, and writer she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. This unprecedented film celebrates Dr. Maya Angelou by weaving her words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos, which paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America’s most defining moments. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana to her inaugural speech for President Bill Clinton, we are given special access to interviews with Dr. Angelou whose indelible charm and quick wit make it easy to love her. The film also features a remarkable series of interviews with friends and family including President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, Secretary Hillary Clinton, John Singleton and Dr. Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson.
The IF Project
By Kathlyn Horan
March 31, 2017
Women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population, increasing at nearly double the rate of men since 1985. The IF Project explores the reasons behind these staggering numbers by intimately following a heroic Seattle police officer and the writing workshop she created with a group of inmates at a maximum security women’s prison.