Ava DuVernay’s arts and social impact collective ARRAY has announced its slate of summer programming, including an actor’s masterclass taught by Emmy winner Niecy Nash-Betts, a cinematic celebration of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the debut of two new commissioned projects from ARRAY’s Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP).
The summer lineup is curated by ARRAY’s SVP of public programming, Mercedes Cooper, and in keeping with the ARRAY’s mission of “igniting social change through the cinematic arts,” all events are free to the public.
“ARRAY’s focus on instigating narrative change through our non-profit ARRAY Alliance allows us to gather audiences around issues aligned with our core mission and everyday work,” said Cooper in a statement announcing the lineup.
“With film and art as the doorway, this summer’s programs invite conversations around otherness, authority and privilege, love and loss, as well as Black masculinity,” she continued. “Our ongoing goal is to catalyze art as a tool for education, understanding and healing.”
The summer program kicks off on June 10 with the launch of the “Hollywood Africans” film screening series, inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting “Hollywood Africans in Front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars.” The summerlong presentation will showcase movies from the artist’s vast personal collection of VHS tapes with monthly screenings at ARRAY’s Amanda Cinema.
The first double feature of the series is Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 seminal psychological thriller “Rashomon” and Marcel Camus’ 1959 Academy Award-winning film “Black Orpheus.” Gordon Parks’ 1971 classic “Shaft” and Martin Brest’s 1984 action-comedy “Beverly Hills Cop” will screen on July 15, with Lisane Basquiat, Jean-Michel’s sister and the co-administrator of the his estate, joining for a post-screening discussion. The screening series will conclude on August 5 with George Romero’s 1968 horror film “Night of the Living Dead” and John Sayles’ 1984 sci-do film “The Brother from Another Planet.”
Ticketholders will also have an opportunity to create a self-portrait in the ARRAY x Basquiat “We Wear Crowns” Art Studio, powered by ARRAY 101. The screening series and studio were created in partnership with the estate and the “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure” exhibit, the first exhibition of the artist’s work presented by his family, which is showing at The Grand LA.
On July 8, Nash-Betts will lead ARRAY’s Masterclass, an ongoing tradition inaugurated by Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima (“Bush Mama,” “Harvest: 3000 Years,” “Sankofa”) in 2021. Nash-Betts is the star of the hit ABC series “The Rookie: Feds,” as well as the acclaimed Netflix limited series “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” and has collaborated with DuVernay on both the Emmy-winning series “When They See Us” and “Origin,” the filmmaker’s adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent.” During the session, Nash-Betts will share insights for “achieving longevity in Hollywood, breaking through typecasting, successfully navigating auditions, thriving while on set and collaborating with filmmakers.” The acting lab will take place on ARRAY’s Creative Campus in LA’s historic Filipinotown.
Finally, ARRAY’s LEAP will debut new works by choreographer Francesca Harper and multimedia artist Julian Stephen as part of a four-day pop-up exhibit, presented in concert with the Los Angeles Design Festival from June 22-25.
“The Reckoning” is a dance film by Harper that reflects on the case of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed while sleeping on her grandmother’s couch during a raid by a Detroit SWAT team, as they taped a segment for a reality television show.
The Aura, an audio drama experience by Stephen, collates varied perspectives to highlight 23-year-old Elijah McClain who died after being restrained by the police and then administered a high dosage of ketamine by paramedics while walking home from the store.
Founded in response to George Floyd’s 2020 murder, LEAP has since commissioned, funded, developed and released six artist’s works across various mediums that center officers who murdered innocent, unarmed Black citizens, with these two as the latest projects.
More information on ARRAY’s summer programming can be found on the collective’s website. Advance registration begins two weeks before each in-person event at ARRAYPLAY.COM. Seating will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis.