Protest and activism is all over Sheffield’s streets at the moment and it’s also taking over our cultural spaces: Museum Sheffield’s fantastic exhibition ‘Hope is Strong’ is at the Millennium Galleries until June - chronicling the power of art to question the world we live in; and Weston Park’s ‘Changing Lives’ explores 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield.
As far right extremism is on the rise, and as populism and fake news tell all kinds of different stories, it feels more important than ever to stand up for what you believe in.
The sense of uniting to resist oppression is ever so clear in the return of the Right Now Film Festival to independent cinemas across the UK between March 21-28. From the beginning of vital movements such as Black Lives Matter to the future of welfare and the UK’s very own Brexit, the festival showcases documentaries that explore the motives and truths behind global systems and address unjust balances of power. These are stories that may not be typically covered by mainstream cinema.
First up, at the Showroom on Friday March 23 is Whose Streets?, an on-the-ground police brutality documentary set in Ferguson, Missouri which looks at the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown and the justice movements that followed. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri.
As the national guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance. Whose Streets? is a powerful battle cry from a generation fighting, not for their civil rights, but for the right to live. Following this screening we will be holding a panel discussion and providing space for people to share their thoughts and experiences.
For our second film, we travel over across America 800 miles east to Baltimore. Screening at 18.15 on Sunday, Rat Film is a new documentary by Theo Antony that investigates Baltimore’s complex political and social history. Scored by electronic pioneer Dan Deacon, it combines inventive observations and interviews with collages of the urban landscape, to create a powerful and far reaching overview of severe inequality in the city. Across walls, fences, and alleys, rats not only expose our boundaries of separations but make homes in them. Unpacking the city’s influences – urban, social and racial, Rat Film uses the rat – as well as the humans that love them, live with and kill them to show a cities’ methods for keeping their unwanted elements under control.