Maine Movements for Black Life: a Documentary Film Series

Maine Movements for Black Life: a Documentary Film Series

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 poses important questions on the Colby campus. 

In Fall 2020, students from Global Studies 227: Visual Ways of Knowing created short documentary films to learn from and contribute to black lives matter in Maine, broadly defined. Grounded in antiracist principles, filmmakers highlighted Black experiences in Maine through collaboration and partnerships with local organizations, activists, artists, and other community members. 

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. Please visit the Museum’s website for more information and zoom links.

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. 

Featured organizations: Maine Inside Out, Maine Youth Justice, Malaga Island, Arabella LaDessé, Ashley Page, & more!


Black Maine

Friday, April 2, 3–5 pm via Zoom

Reagan Dennis ‘23, Sakina Mustafa ‘22, Vivienne Predock ‘22

  • Black experiences at Colby [shorts] by Reagan Dennis ‘23 – Carmen: I Love My Room (2 min); Muna: Get Ready With Me (3 min); Sally: To Whom Does the Art and the Artist Belong (4 min)
  • Black experiences in Maine by Sakina Mustafa ‘22 (8 min) – This film compiles interviews with a number of Black folks in different locations around the state reflecting on their experiences living in Maine.
  • Malaga Island by Vivienne Paddock ‘22 (8 min) – This film artistically examines the often overlooked history of Malaga Island, the site of an autonomous interracial community from the Civil War to 1911 when the residents were forcibly evicted by the state. The film is formatted into three chapters, including a visual poem and an archival review of official state documentation of the evictions

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.

Art and Expression

Thursday, April 22, 5:30–7 p.m. via Zoom

Micaela Duran ‘21, Iliana Gjeci ‘22

  • Arabella LaDessé by Micaela Duran ‘21 (7.5 min) – Profile on Arabella LaDessé, a black New Hampshire-based GoGo Queen who has amassed accolades such as Boston Drag Idol 2019 and Portland’s Blackstone’s Princess 2020.
  • Purple by Iliana Gjeci ‘22 (4.5 min) – Purple depicts Kayla Wesley ‘21, a Colby student engaging in a variety of creative endeavors including mixed media art and music.
  • Both and Neither by Iliana Gjeci ‘22 (7.5 min) – Both and Neither follows Ashley Page, a Portland-based artist from Minneapolis who was active in the protests in the twin cities against George Floyd’s killing. She produced a number of artworks associated with BLM.