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El Taller Documentary Film Series: Birth of the Sun and Welcome to Batey 6

The El Taller documentary film series will host a night of short film screenings with "Birth of the Sun" and "Welcome to Batey 6". To complete the evening about artists, individuals, and outsiders, the filmmakers will screen a musical excerpt from the work-in-progress about the thirty-year history of El Taller. Refreshments will be served and there will be time to talk and socialize before and after the screenings. 

The films will be followed by a Q & A session with the directors, refreshments, and some socializing.  

Birth of the Sun:
Birth of the Sun explores downtown New York City of the late 1980's through the short artistic life of Grady Alexis. Born in Haiti, Grady moved between the Lower East Side world of art, music, the streets, and galleries. He lived in squats and on the street for much of his life in New York City. He was artist-in-residence at El Taller Latino Americano on East Second Street until 1990, living informally in the space, painting and making music. With his violent death in 1991, the Taller "family" broke up, and the East Village was about to change forever. 

In the film a number of people, including Lori Leistyna, artists Thom Corn and Hamlet Zurita and musician Demian Palombo, look back on their time with Grady. Bernardo Palombo and his sons Demian and Ira considered Grady to be part of their family. The film also documents the recreation by numerous artists of a signature work created by Grady, the mural called "Birth of the Sun". The painting hung at El Taller for many years but is long lost, probably destroyed. 

Recent festival screenings include African World Documentary Festival (St. Louis, Barbados), The Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee Film Festival (Selma, Alabama), and New Filmmakers Series (New York City). Produced by Bernardo Palombo and Thomas W. Campbell. Music by Tico da Costa, Quequi Sinesi, Demian and Bernardo Palombo. Shot by Emmanuel Alexandre jr. Written and Directed by Thomas W. Campbell. (27 minutes). 

Website for complete credits and other information: Welcome to Batey 6 is a documentary written and directed by Emmanuel Alexandre jr. and shot by Kemah Keita-Diouf. The film offers an intimate look into the lives of Haitian sugarcane cutters and the effects on their families and the local culture. Exploring life in a Dominican Batey (a sugar cane town), the story follows two men who live there. Emelio has recently come from Haiti with his wife and children to find a way to support his family. The work is difficult, the pay is small, and the money proves difficult to collect. Titonton can trace his family back over 100 years and has lived on the Batey longer than most. He is the unofficial mayor and has a level of authority that Emelio can only dream about. Their lives intertwine in Batey 6, revealing the different realities of what it is like to live and to work in the sugar cane economy on the island. (20 minutes). 

Earlier Event: April 4
Andrés Pilar