Social Justice Film Series Kicks off at OCtech with Zora Neale Hurston documentary

Photo of Zora Neale Hurston film coverOrangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and the Center for Creative Partnerships will kick off the Community Cinema social justice film series on Thursday, Feb. 23, with a screening of “Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun.”

The film will begin at 6 p.m. in Roquemore Auditorium, Building R, on the campus of OCtech. It is free and open to the public.

“Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun,” written and produced by Kristy Andersen, explores the life of one of the most important writers of 20th-century African-American literature, best known for her novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Eighteen years in the making, this definitive film biography was named Best Educational Film at the 2009 Festival International du Film sur l’Art in Montreal.

Interspersing insights from leading scholars and rare footage of the rural South – some of it shot by Hurston – with reenactments of a revealing 1943 radio interview, “Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun” explores Hurston’s life from her childhood in Eatonville, Fla., the first all-black incorporated town in the U.S., to the beginnings of her writing career, her place in the Harlem Renaissance and her work as an ethnologist of African-American culture.

Using her research as the groundwork for her books and plays, Hurston was not ashamed to show everyday African-American life or use “incorrect” black English, which often put her at odds with black intellectuals, many of whom found her uncensored pictured of black life and speech embarrassing.

A question-and-answer session with the filmmaker Andersen and Hurston’s grandniece, Lois Gaston, will be held following the film. Ellen Zisholtz, CCP co-president, will serve as moderator.

Additional films in the series include “Rosenwald” by Aviva Kempner on Thursday, March 16, and “The Ipson Saga” by Jay Ipson on Thursday, April 20. The film series is funded in part by OCtech and South Carolina Humanities and sponsored by Cox Industries Inc.