Lord Thing

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DeWitt Beall, 1970, 52 min.
Produced at the height of the black power movement in the early ‘70s, this film is an insider history into the genesis and transformation of the Conservative Vice Lords gang. Partially shaped and told by by CVL members who also appear in the film, LORD THING is a unique and powerful tool that expresses an effort in self-transformation during a volatile and violent time in US race history. Gritty and rhythmic, this unusual film reflects an under-told chapter in gang history as members from the West Side neighborhood of North Lawndale try to become viable and political agents in their community. LORD THING won a silver medal at the 1970 Venice Film Festival.

Just a couple of years ago only one muddy VHS copy of the historical film, LORD THING, could be found. CFA’s colleague on the east coast, Buckey Grimm, did some research and found the film elements in California under the care of the director’s widow, Elina Katsioula-Beall. Little-known today, DeWitt Beall was a filmmaker who seemed to work independently from other documentary filmmakers of the time. His films grapple with social justice issues as well as the conservation of our natural world.

Presented with Chicago Film Archives, who were awarded a grant in 2012 from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve two 16mm films that document the activities and social-political transformation of the Vice Lords, a black street gang from Chicago’s West Side. This screening marks the south side premiere of the newly-restored film, LORD THING.

Followed by post-film discussion with:

Benneth Lee, Founder and Director of the National Alliance For The Empowerment of The Formerly Incarcerated. Mr. Lee’s areas of expertise include street gang prevention and intervention strategies, rites of passage, how to provide culturally specific services, breaking the cycle of addictive relationships, best practice in addictions treatment, and how to work with clients in the criminal justice system.

Rebecca Zorach, Professor of Art History and Romance Languages and Literatures, and Professor in The College, at the University of Chicago. In 2014-15 , Ms. Zorach is the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Art History and Senior Chair of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. She writes on medieval and early modern European art, theory and historiography of art, and art and activism since the 1960s.

Black Cinema House
7200 S. Kimbark Ave.