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Across his three feature films to date (Medicine for Melancholy, Moonlight, and If Beale Street Could Talk), Barry Jenkins has devised a new cinematic vocabulary for the portrayal of Black experience in the United States. With sumptuous imagery and hypnotic soundscapes, Jenkins has embraced aesthetic beauty as a strategy for addressing the past and present injustices that bear on the lives of marginalized characters. His 2021 miniseries, The Underground Railroad is adapted from Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. A haunting, atmospheric account of two runaway slaves in the Antebellum South, the series is Jenkins’ most daring directorial work yet.

The Ackland Film Forum and the Department of English and Comparative Literature will host two virtual screenings (Tuesdays, September 21 and September 28, 8 p.m.) and a virtual roundtable discussion (Tuesday, October 5, 7 p.m.) in celebration of the department’s 225th anniversary. See below for full details.

Virtual Roundtable Discussion
Tuesday, October 5, 7-8 p.m.
“Spellbinding: The Cinematic Virtuosity of Barry Jenkins”

Our virtual roundtable will feature two of Jenkins’ longtime collaborators: Joi McMillon (editor, and the first Black woman to be nominated in the Best Editing category of the Academy Awards) and Onnalee Blank (re-recording mixer/supervising sound editor). Join us for a conversation with these artists about how they work together to make such intensely affecting sounds and images, saturated with emotion and keyed to social consciousness.

The roundtable will be moderated by Rick Warner (Director of Film Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature). This virtual roundtable discussion will be held on Zoom.

Register here via Zoom: https://unc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oHVHgx9TRritmbUF2UvY3g

Full Ackland Film Forum Fall Line-Up

First Virtual Screening
Tuesday, September 21, 8-10 p.m.
“Chapter 1: Georgia”
“Chapter 2: South Carolina”

Register here for first screening and watch party link 

Second Virtual Screening
Tuesday, September 28, 8-10 p.m.
“Chapter 8: Indiana Autumn”
“Chapter 9: Indiana Winter”

Register here for second screening and watch party link

Virtual Roundtable Discussion
Tuesday, October 5, 7-8 p.m.
“Spellbinding: The Cinematic Virtuosity of Barry Jenkins”

Our virtual roundtable will feature two of Jenkins’ longtime collaborators: Joi McMillon (editor, and the first Black woman to be nominated in the Best Editing category of the Academy Awards) and Onnalee Blank (re-recording mixer/supervising sound editor). Join us for a conversation with these artists about how they work together to make such intensely affecting sounds and images, saturated with emotion and keyed to social consciousness.

Register here for roundtable via Zoom

These virtual screenings and the roundtable are co-sponsored by the Ackland Film Forum and the Department of English and Comparative Literature in celebration of the department’s 225th anniversary. See https://ecl225.unc.edu for further details.

Poster for the miniseries

Additional Event Details

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