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NIGHTJOHN (1996) – Part 1 of CHARLES BURNETT: A Cinematic Social Conscience
August 2, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm PDT$15.00 – $20.00
Sarny (Allison Jones) is an enslaved 12 year-old on the plantation of Clel Waller (Beau Bridges), who’s life is changed when a captured runaway that Waller bought named Nightjohn (powerfully portrayed by Carl Lumbly) arrives to live with Sarny and her surrogate mother, Delie (Lorraine Toussaint). The film covers the triumphs and consequences stemming from Nightjohn empowering Sarny by secretly teaching her a life-altering skill that is punishable by death for the enslaved—to read. Based on the 1993 same titled award-winning book by Gary Paulsen, NIGHTJOHN originally debuted on the Disney Channel on June 1, 1996. Other cast includes: Gabriel Casseus & Kathleen York. Directed by Charles Burnett and written by Bill Cain. (Film courtesy of Sonar Entertainment)
We are honored to present a special two-night fundraiser benefitting Highways that pays tribute to 2017 Honorary Oscar®recipient and legendary filmmaker, Charles Burnett, in the debut of Highways O.U.R. retroSPECTIVE film series — CHARLES BURNETT: A Cinematic Social Conscience. This first in Highways’ periodic film series, will feature two of Mr. Burnett’s most socially impactful films. NIGHTJOHN (1996) on Friday, August 2 @ 7:30 pm and a special 25th Anniversary presentation of THE GLASS SHIELD (1994) on Saturday, August 3 @ 7:30 pm. Both nights are followed by a Q&A with Mr. Burnett and Special Guests related to the film. For NIGHTJOHN he is joined by stars Carl Lumbly and Beau Bridges, who played the title character, and for THE GLASS SHIELD, Mr. Burnett is joined by stars Michael Boatman, Lori Petty, and Michael Ironside. There is also an opening reception that begins at 6:45 pm on August 2, and a dessert reception that follows the Q&A on Saturday, August 3.
The work of 2017 Honorary Oscar recipient and writer-director-producer, Charles Burnett has consistently garnered critical acclaim. His first feature film, Killer of Sheep, originally submitted as his UCLA MFA thesis was called “an American masterpiece” by New York Times critic, Manohla Dargis. The Library of Congress agreed and made Killer of Sheep one of the first 50 films selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 1990. His other films have included My Brother’s Wedding; To Sleep with Anger (added to the National Film Registry in 2017); The Glass Shield; Selma, Lord, Selma; The Wedding; Nightjohn; Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property; and Annihilation of Fish, among them—work that many critics believe offers the richest and most expansive exploration of African American culture and history of any filmmaker of Burnett’s generation. He acquired new and younger fans with the 2007 re-release of Burnett’s first two films to critical acclaim. That following January, he was honored by the New York Film Critics Circle.
Burnett is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including MacArthur “Genius”, Rockefeller, and Guggenheim fellowships, as well as the Horton Foote Screenwriting Award. Killer of Sheep shared first prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was awarded a top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2006, a retrospective of Burnett’s films was presented at the Louvre as part of an exhibition on the theme of exile, curated by Nobel Prize–winning author, Toni Morrison. Selected honors also include: a Golden Thumb Award, Roger Ebert Film Festival; Career Achievement Award, Chicago International Film Festival; Paul Robeson Award, Howard University; Best Screenplay Award for To Sleep with Anger, National Society of Film Critics Award; and the American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award, also for 1990’s To Sleep with Anger. Retrospectives of his work include: “The Power to Endure,” Museum of Modern Art (2011); “The Outsider,” Louvre Museum (2006), and “Witnessing for Everyday Heroes,” Film Society of Lincoln Center and Human Rights Watch International Film Festival (1997).
Burnett has several projects either in development or distribution, including PBS/WETA’s documentary Power to Heal, a filmadaption of the book “Crazy Kill’ by literary icon, Chester Himes, entitledMan in a Basket. He’s also slated to direct an Amazon film project on Civil War hero, U.S. Congressman and former slave, Robert Smalls. In addition to his illustrious film/TV career, we are also honored that Mr. Burnett has directed over 10 stage projects at Highways.
HIGHWAYS O.U.R. retroSPECTIVE FILM SERIES
Highways O.U.R. retroSPECTIVE film series will feature those films that have been Overlooked, Underappreciated and/or Rediscovered since their initial premiere in theaters, on television or the festival circuit. Highways is grateful that a grant from the City of Santa Monica enabled us to install a state of the art A/V system that allows us to screen films