Maine Movements for Black Life Documentary Film Series: Abolition and Incarceration

Thursday, April 8, 2021,


Maine Movements for Black Life: a Documentary Film Series

Over the past year, the Movement for Black Lives has transformed many people’s understanding of policing, race, and inequality, as well as challenged our sense of what is possible. This movement has swept through many Maine towns and cities and posed important questions relevant to the Colby campus community. Moved by these mass mobilizations, Associate Professor Maple Razsa taught Global Studies 227: Visual Ways of Knowing (a Humanities Lab cross-listed in African American Studies, Anthropology, and Cinema Studies) as part of wider efforts to document these struggles at Colby and across Maine.

In the Fall of 2020, students in this course created short documentary films to learn from and contribute to movements for racial justice. Guided by antiracist and Black radical interventions, movements, and theorizing, students highlighted Black experiences in Maine through collaboration and partnerships with local organizations, activists, artists, and other community members. Some of the featured organizations and Maine residents in the films include Maine Inside Out, Maine Youth Justice, Malaga Island, Arabella LaDessé, and Ashley Page.

This class was further made possible by the generous support of African American Studies, the Center for Arts and Humanities, Global Studies, and the Office of Engagement and Community Partnerships.

The films’ themes resonate with a current exhibition at the Museum, Miracles on the Border: Retablos of Mexican Migrants to the United States. We encourage you to visit the Museum in addition to attending the screenings.

These films will be screened virtually on Zoom for the whole community during select times this spring. Each film will be presented by the filmmaker with a Q&A after the screening. No pre-registration is necessary; please use the provided Zoom links to access the virtual programs.

Abolition and Incarceration

Thursday, April 8, 5:30–7 p.m. via Zoom

Lorne Carter ‘21, Jon Curtis ‘23, Jesse Higgins ‘21, Alaleh Naderi ‘21

Maine Youth Justice by Lorne Carter ‘21 and Jon Curtis ‘23: 

Maine Youth Justice is a nonpartisan campaign to end youth incarceration in Maine and invest in a range of community-based alternatives that respond to young people’s needs, support families, and build community in support of community alternatives to youth incarceration.

  • Shut Down Long Creek by Lorne Carter ‘21 (7 min) investigates the detriment of Long Creek Youth Prison on individuals and the community through the words of activists formerly incarcerated in the facility. 
  • Long Creek Visions by Jon Curtis ‘23 (7 min) then explores the possibilities for the community after the closure of Long Creek and how this money, land, and other resources can be utilized in realizing a better future for us all. What would you do with $15 million in your community annually? Youth activists tell us. 

Maine Inside Out by Jesse Higgins ‘21 (We Play) and Alaleh Naderi ‘21 (Virtual Circle)

Maine Inside Out is a community of artists and visionaries with lived experience of incarceration and structural racism and their allies. We build, practice and share models for community change to build a world where everyone matters and belongs.”

  • We Play by Jesse Higgins (5 min) is a visual poem response to an MIO internal prompt, “How do we play too much?”
  • Virtual Circle by Alaleh Naderi (7 min)

A Broken System by Sophie Nact ‘23 (7 min)  

Narrative of Robert Payzant, a formerly incarcerated biracial Mainer, and his experiences with the justice system after recently being released from the Department of Corrections.

Don’t miss the other films in this series: 

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