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27th Philadelphia Film Festival

15 Oct

The 27th annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off this week with the screening of Ben is Back starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges as mother and son who are grappling with a history of addiction.

The story is ripped from the headlines as Philadelphia struggles to deal with the opioid drama unfolding on the streets of Kensington.

Executive Director J. Andrew Greenblatt said in a statement:

From our powerful, socially relevant and incredibly timely Opening Night screening of Ben is Back to the definitive look at Philadelphia music legend Teddy Pendergrass for our Closing Night selection, and the incredibly diverse line-up in-between, the films premiering in this year’s Festival will be discussed and remembered for a long time to come.

Artistic Director Michael Lerman added:

Andrew and I have been doing this together for ten years and I love that we continue to find fresh, unique films that delight and challenge audiences. I’m so proud of the program the team has put together and I can’t wait to share the adventure we have in store for you.

What’s in store is a lineup of more than 100 films over 11 days. As a curator of art, technology and social change content, my must-see films include:

  • Studio 54
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • The Price of Everything
  • Bodied
  • General Magic
  • Empathy, Inc.
  • Green Book

The film is based on a true friendship. Art also imitates life. Before passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African American motorists used the “Green Book” travel guide to vacation without humiliation.

Green Book Collage

The Closing Night film, Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me, tells the untold story of Philadelphia’s legendary soul singer whose “For Women Only” concerts were the stuff of, well, legends.

To view the full schedule and purchase tickets, go here.

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#JusticeForMichaelWhite Update

6 Aug

As supporters gathered for a rally for Michael White, a rumor spread that District Attorney Larry Krasner had dropped the first-degree murder charge against the Morgan State University student in the fatal stabbing of Sean Schellenger.

Michael White - Morgan State University

Fortunately, it was not fake news. At White’s court hearing, the DA’s office reduced the charge from first-degree murder to third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. The District Attorney said the video evidence did not support first-degree murder. Family and supporters say White stood his ground. It is a case of self-defense.

White’s attorney is Daniel Stevenson, Chief of the Homicide Unit of the Philadelphia Public Defender’s Office. He was interviewed on Wake Up With WURD.

The preliminary hearing was continued until October 30. Bail was set at $150,000. White will be under house arrest once bail is posted. Two advocacy groups – Philadelphia Community Bail Fund and Philadelphia Bail Fund – posted the $15,000 cash bail.

Philadelphia Bail Fund Tweet - 8.2.18

As of this writing, White is still locked up. White was released from the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on Monday, August 6. He is home with his parents.

A community picnic and Open “Mike” Night for the young poet will be held on August 18. For more info and updates, join Michael White (Freedom) Facebook group.

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