The film “Let the Fire Burn” will be screened in the Campus Theatre on Tuesday, March 20, at 7 p.m., followed by a conversation with the film’s director Jason Osder. The event is part of the The Griot Institute for Africana Studies’ Spring Lecture and Performance Series on the theme of “Erasure: Blackness and the Fight Against Invisibility.”
On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial revolutionary group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated and resulted in the tragic deaths of 11 people including five children, all African-American, and the destruction of 61 homes. Using only archival footage, “Let the Fire Burn” brings to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.
After the screening, Osder will lead an extended discussion of issues raised by the film, including historical relevance, systemic racism, collective memory and erasure. He is now assistant professor at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, and a partner at Amigo Media, a color-correction, post-production, and training company. “Let the Fire Burn” premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival where it was awarded the prize for best documentary editing and a jury special mention for best new documentary director.
This event is co-sponsored by Bucknell’s Film/Media Studies and the Campus Theatre and is also made possible through the generous support of the University Lectureship Committee.