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2023 Program

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte hosts the Tonight Show

Documentary, 75 mins, Yoruba Richen*, 2020, USA

In early February 1968, racial tensions were inflaming the nation and a divisive election was underway. America was exploding politically and culturally, much like today. That week, trailblazing entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte took over the Tonight Show for an unprecedented week. Harry featured a stunning combination of guests, including Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Lena Horne, Paul Newman, Wilt Chamberlain, Aretha Franklin, and Bill Cosby.

And this week was almost lost to history.

“The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show” tells this story through contemporary interviews with Belafonte, Whoopi Goldberg, Questlove and many others. The interviews with Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy are among their last television appearances before both were assassinated.


Shorts Series: A Slice of History

When I Get Grown-Reflections of a Freedom Rider (31:36) (John Lewis)

Strike for Freedom: Frederick Douglass and Scotland (15:41)

The Significance of Sidney (30:24) (Sidney Poitier)

MLK: The Freedom Budget (7:30)


Omar Sosa: 88 Well-Tuned Drums

Documentary, 100 mins, Soren Sorenson (local filmmaker), 2022, Cuba/USA

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums is a documentary film on the life and music of Cuban-born pianist and composer. The film traces Sosa’s origins from his birth in Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city, conservatory education in Havana, and relocation to Ecuador where he briefly wrote and arranged commercial jingles. Sosa’s story continues with a fateful mid-90s move to the U.S., a stint as a sought-after sideman in the Bay Area’s Latin jazz scene, and partnership with manager Scott Price that continues to this day.