One of the worst things a storyteller can do when telling the story of, or to, young people is condescend to them. Many don’t take the thoughts and opinions of young people seriously, and that’s something that director Mitch Dickman didn’t want to be guilty of with his new film, “Silent Rose.”
“So many kids have stories to tell, and so often they feel talked down to and patronized,” Dickman, who is also the founder of Listen Productions, said. “For this film all the kids are not actors, and they pushed me in a lot of great ways. I want to keep working with students in other projects moving forward.”
The film is a narrative feature that blends both fact and fiction as it explores what day-to-day life is like for modern students. It’s set during the 2016 election cycle and examines everything from racial inequality to lockdown drills and beyond. And since it’s all told through the eyes of real students at the Denver School of the Arts, it provides an honest window into what many are experiencing.
A particular focus of the film is the responsibility to not be silent in the face of injustice. Dickman was inspired by The White Rose German movement during the Nazi’s reign during World War II, a non-violent, student-led movement resisted the Nazis. This connection is made all the more powerful because of the performance of lead actor and co-creator Shatira Herrera, a mixed-race student in a predominately white high school.
“There were lots of different inspirations for the film, but Shatira really inspired me to go with something different. She’s quiet but has this great intrigue and visual component to her,” Dickman said. “I think we’re lucky to see her at this existential stage in her life where she’s figuring out her voice and how to use it.”
While Dickman worked to ensure that the story could believably take place anywhere across the country, it was filmed entirely in Colorado and primarily in the metro area, something he is very passionate about. During his career he’s been a part of films that have shown in Sundance, like “Casting Jon Benet,” “Being Evel” and “Hanna Ranch.”
“I love listening to people’s stories and crafting them into films, and there are so many stories to tell and listen to here in Colorado,” Dickman said. “There are a lot of talented documentary people in Colorado, and I know we can do a lot here.”
With all the current attention on the Black Lives Matter movement and the struggle for equality, plus an election just months away, the topics explored in “Silent Rose” feel timelier than ever.
“Those of us who aren’t people of color are never going to fully understand what their life is like, but I hope this film becomes a learning opportunity and chance for conversation,” Dickman said. “It’s not just about voting - there are things we can do all the time. People have voices, and we need to listen.”
Visit www.Topic.com to stream “Silent Rose,” and look for community screenings in the coming months.
DMNS reopens to guests
After months of shutdown and providing connections online, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science announced its reopening for June 23. And the globally celebrated The Art of the Brick is open as well.
As the museum reopens, some changes that visitors will notice include purchasing tickets/entry time in advance, wearing a face covering that covers both nose and mouth and encouragement to frequently wash hands and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from other groups. According to provided information, the museum will conduct regular hygiene assessments and added hand sanitizer stations through the facility.
Visit www.dmns.org for more information and to make a reservation.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - The Roots Picnic livestream
The annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia is one of the best and most varied hip-hop and R&B festivals one can attend in the US, and this year the event is switching over to a virtual format to keep fans safe while still providing great music.
The 13th annual festival will begin streaming at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 and will feature The Roots, Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, SZA, Polo G and G Herbo. Since the event is a partnership with When We All Vote (which aims to increase voter participation in elections), the festival will also feature appearances from Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Janelle Monáe, Lin-Manuel Miranda and more.
The picnic will be livestreamed on The Roots YouTube channel.
Streaming style - ‘They Gotta Have Us’
Black writers, directors, actors and creatives have played a vital and often unrecognized role in Hollywood and the film industry since its inception. This rich history and present are the subject of Simon Frederick’s three-part documentary series, “They’ve Gotta Have Us.”
Film history gets explored through interviews with some of the most talented artists in the industry - everything from the rise of Sidney Poitier to Blaxploitation films and beyond - as well as the way films and stars fought for societal change.
Don’t miss it on Netflix.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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