Ava DuVernay‘s Array acquired and restored Haile Gerima’s rarely seen 1982 film Ashes and Embers through a new initiative known as Array Classics. This cinematic classic is about ‘a Vietnam war veteran struggling to come to terms with his role in the war as a Black man in America,’ and is now streaming on Netflix.
Ashes and Embers screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1983; however, it was never released theatrically. On February 25th at the bi-monthly Array @ The Broad film series, Ashes and Embers screened for one of the first times in front of a major audience. This series is part of DuVernay’s efforts to promote and distribute work by artists who are often overlooked and ignored by mainstream Hollywood distribution channels, and aims to introduce rarely seen work to new audiences. Over the next few months, screenings of this film will be curated at The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, the Black Cinema House in Chicago, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, and at other highly acclaimed cultural institutions across the country (view poster below for exact locations and dates). This tour will be the first film to screen across the country under the new Array Classic banner.
“We, like many across the world, regard Mr. Gerima as a master filmmaker whose body of work asserts and amplifies the magnificence of black people in all our complexity. “We are honored to release Mr. Gerima’s rarely seen jewel ‘Ashes and Embers’ at a time when the film’s themes of cultural anguish and political unrest mirror contemporary issues that we face today.” – Tilane Jones, Executive Director of Array
Initially, ARRAY was launched by DuVernay in 2010 under the name African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM). In keeping the focus on innovation and inclusion, in 2015 the company re-branded itself as ARRAY and expanded it’s focus to release and champion films by black filmmakers from the African diaspora, as well as women and other filmmakers of color. Since its inception in 2010, DuVernay and her team at ARRAY have committed themselves wholeheartedly to finding ways to expose films by people of color and women to audiences across the country.
ARRAY has released a total of 13 films in only 5 years: ‘I Will Follow’ (2011), ‘Kinyarwanda’ (2011), ‘Restless City’ (2012), ‘Middle of Nowhere‘ (2012), ‘Better Mus’ Come‘ (2013), ‘Big Words‘ (2013), ‘Vanishing Pearls‘ (2014), ‘Mississippi Damned‘ (2015 via Netflix), ’25 Years to Life’ (2014), ‘Ayanda’(2015), ‘Out of My Hand‘ (2015), ‘Echo Park‘ (theatrically released later in 2016), ‘Ashes and Embers’ (2016 via Netflix)
“For me, the most important part of my work is that it allows me to help the world see more diverse images of African Americans and people of the African diaspora. Images are a very powerful tool in changing peoples’ perceptions about one another.” – Tilane Jones, ARRAY, Executive Director