Denton Black Film Festival & UNT collaboration about solidarity, organizer says

Denton Black Film Festival & UNT collaboration about solidarity, organizer says

Denton Black Film Festival & UNT collaboration about solidarity, organizer says
June 07
19:35 2019

The Denton Black Film Festival and the University of North Texas holding a free screening for the movie Hidden Figures at Alamo Drafthouse this Sunday is just as much about unity as it is about the historical contributions of African-American women who helped put men on the moon, said film festival director Linda Eaddy in an interview with the North Texas Daily.

The film is based on a book by author Margot Lee Shetterly.

Lee’s literary work tells the story of black women who used their mathematical prowess in the Space Race while working at a racially segregated NASA.

Collaborating with multiple entities in the Denton area for joint initiatives that celebrate such stories are critical, Eaddy said.

“We do two things, which is share black culture, and the other thing is to build community,” she said. “Part of sharing culture and building community is collaborating and working with other groups. There’s a lot of synergy and good ideas that come from groups working together.”

The screening is also going to talk about the Mayborn School of Journalism’s annual Literary Nonfiction Conference, taking place July 19-21.

The conference’s theme for this year is “Justice in America.”

Shetterly is scheduled to appear at the conference July 20 alongside the UNT System’s first female Chancellor and NASA alum Lesa Roe, who was also the first woman to be in charge of the NASA Langley Research Center, according to the UNT System official website.

Sharing a diversity of stories represents the bigger tapestry of America’s story, Eaddy said.

“I think all of us have value in our story,” she said.

Celebrating multiple cultures informs citizens of what America’s promise should be to all cultures, Eaddy said.

“To know of the contributions they made, it really encourages you to understand all of the possibilities that this country is supposed to offer,” she said.

Shetterly’s book and the film gives power to historically underrepresented voices throughout history, said Mayborn Conference Marketing Manager Jim Dale.

“I’m looking forward to seeing it this Sunday,” he said.

“We’re at a pivotal time in American history where we’re having to look back at a lot of situations with #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter and all kinds of social themes that are critical to the country at this time in our history,” Dale said.

“The vast majority of Americans had no clue that this group of women of color crunched this math that helped us manage to put men on the moon 50 years ago. That, to me, is a remarkable story,” he said.

The event also represents the unity between multiple entities at UNT as well, said Karena Sara, Mayborn School of Journalism Development Associate.

“We’re doing a panel of professors from UNT, both CLASS (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) and the Mayborn School of Journalism to talk about the themes in the movie and kick off people getting registered for the Mayborn Conference,” she said.

Functions that bring multiple communities together is about collaboration in divided times, Eaddy said.

“I think it’s especially important now, that people do things that can bring us together,” she said. “Build some bridges, instead of just building some walls.”

Featured image: Journalism graduate Charde Brown poses for a photo outside the Mayborn School of Journalism June 7, 2019 with a copy of Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. (NT Daily Photo by Jelani Gibson)

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Jelani Gibson

Jelani Gibson

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